Review Summary: Although later albums would emphasize more experimental aspects of the group's music, "Carnival of Carnage" is an interesting look into the rage of the poor, and a strong debut album for the under-appreciated shock rappers.
Originality and creativity are things that are often overlooked in music, especially if certain bands do not record on major record labels or use ridiculous gimmicks to supplement overbearingly loud, aggressive faux-metal (See also: Slipknot
). It is a shame that many young kids who should be looking up to the Buckethead
s of the world move their way towards tripe like Linkin Park
...but this is a minor complaint towards the way the world works when one looks at the ghettos of the world. The government intentionally undermines the poor, keeps them under a microscope, allows them to kill each other off...the rich do not care about the people dying on their own streets, because the poor are nothing more than freaks, the ghetto nothing more than a scrubby carnival...Carnival of Carnage
, the debut album of Insane Clown Posse
focuses on this concept. If the lower class are nothing more than carnival exhibits to the rich, how about giving them what they deserve?
The soundtrack to this carnage is a unique blend of funk metal, horror rock and acid rap. The instrumental "Carnival of Carnage" opens up this symphony of blood with funky horn lines and keyboard breaks, and wildly experimental scratching. "The Juggla," in comparison, sounds a bit undercooked. Its cheap synth lines do not adequately compliment the style of rap presented here, although the interpolation of circus music does provide occasional diversions. "First Day Out" is a step up, using the same kind of low-budget synthesizer cues to effectively tell its tale of a man's first day out of prison. "Red Neck Hoe" incorporates effective harmonica loops. A hectic interlude provides an effective backdrop to the group's aggression towards racists.
The effective musical pace of "Wizard of the Hood" compliments its wild lyrics: the concept is an urban version of Oz with a gangsta replacing Dorothy. "Guts on the Ceiling" slows things down a bit, but its concept could not be more outlandish. A gangsta explodes, and tries to find all of his body parts. The track features some of the best scratching I've ever heard on an album. Musically, "Is That You?" is excellent, but its guest could not be a bigger waste of time. Kid Rock
is annoying. He's always been, always will be. It's a shame that this blotch is on this album. No one needs to hear some pathetic dingbat who thinks he's a redneck rap about "playing John Holmes in a sequel to Deep Throat
" and "yodeling in the valley" (read: performing cunnilingus). This is, by far, the album's worst moment in terms of lyricism. "Night of the Axe" and "Psychopathic" are more effective, chillingly detailing mass murder, with the latter effectively incorporating samples from the Halloween
theme and Psycho
's "shower theme".
The best track on the album, however, is "Never Had it Made", detailing the life of a man who goes from a young, healthy teen to a homeless base head and thief who kills a man and survives electrocution. The harmonica line from the opening of Black Sabbath
's "The Wizard" is used effectively. "Your Rebel Flag" incorporates funky bass lines, effective keyboard hits, with a drum roll and sirens effectively emphasizing its angered chorus. The subject matter deals with killing off members of the KKK and continued rage against racism and bigotry. Moody keyboard lines and horns illustrate the horror tale of "Ghetto Freak Show", setting up the album's finale, "Taste", which focuses on the elitist's attitude towards the lower class. The ghetto has come to your town
. They have come to put an end to the gang violence and punish the rich for their wickedness. The track features the best guests of the album, including effective spots from local rappers Jump Steady
, Capitol E.
, Nate The Mack
, who brings his own style of dark production to his short, but sweet guest spot.