So why wouldn't Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope return to the Dark Carnival during this Summer of Hate, filled as it is with town-hall shouters, abortion doctor killers, corporate shills shooting down national health care and Bible-thumping yahoos practically advocating shooting the president from the pulpit? Next to that torrent of intolerance, Insane Clown Posse's parables of cartoon violence seems almost heartwarming — sorta like a safe falling on Wile E. Coyote's head.
Like all good horror fare, ICP brings us a quiver of unlikable characters who we all know are going to get theirs in the end, from the pedophile in "To Catch a Predator" and the stalker in "Love" to the miserable misogynous bitchslapper at the end of "Boing Boing." What's different now from previous carnivals, however, is that the guys are freed from having to work under the weight of the Joker Cards concept. Thus, the duo sounds more relaxed. The in-between-song skits are a lot funnier and there's more yucks in the horrorcore. Take "I Found a Body," for instance, where the Weekend at Bernie's idea of showing a dead guy a good time becomes an act of self-preservation for a lonely juggalo ("I sure could use a homey."). Like last year's punkish "Alley Rat" off The Tempest, ICP is incorporating a lot more flat-out rock into the proceedings, including the surfing rhythms of "The Bone" and the frat rock of the title track. And now the pair feels comfortable enough to deliver the occasional feel-good track like "Miracles," where the doom bringers give us some new reasons to be cheerful ("Water, fire, air and dirt/Fuckin' magnets, how do they work?")
If you're already in the tank for ICP, you probably won't even notice the consistency on display here and probably already have scored all three collector's editions just to get the different intros and hidden tracks. Those who've stayed away from this act, based on controversial grounds or an allergic reaction to Faygo will probably actually get a kick out of Bang! Pow! Boom! if they happen to get a blind taste test of this stuff at a Halloween party. —Serene Dominic
Serene Dominic writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.