Insane Clown Posse – The Marvelous Missing Link (Lost) (2015) – Detroit horrorcore legends Insane Clown Posse are back with a brand new and unexpectedly mature album in The Marvelous Missing Link (Lost) which feels more religious in tone than anything they’ve released prior. They already blew it wide open that the purpose of The Dark Carnival was to find God, so it makes perfect sense that they would be sandwiching religious themes in with their normal violent and comedic lyrical aspects.
The intro assures us that we must “hope and believe” in our faith, whatever that may be. Then the record begins with “Lost 3:20” which oddly adds industrial elements and guitar riffs to what is a decent lyrical set. There’s also an eerie piano in use. Musically it’s a pretty strong piece, but it’s not their greatest vocal performance (the latter portion of the song is better). I will commend them on the experimentation however. “Apocalypse 2:58” comes next, with a fire and brimstone sermon that opens up a electro-rap piece with a much better set of rhymes. It almost reminds me of their older material, but that deep-voiced “say good bye to the world as we know it” piece sounds a little out of place.
“Shock 2:32” brings back the industrial elements as it continues to display a much stronger set of rhymes from the duo. The next track is a sequel more or less to Carnival Of Carnage’s “Fuck Your Rebel Flag” and it’s called “Confederate Flag 4:12.” I’ve always found it kind of odd that a lot of people who consider themselves to be rebels actually listen to a lot of ICP and horrorcore in general, but aren’t offended by this one. On the first album, it wasn’t all that apparent because the Juggalo thing hadn’t been quite so big on the debut. Kid Rock even appeared on the album. I don’t think many people noticed, but I’m kind of curious as to what will happen now that they’ve brought the cat back out of the bag. But I’m guessing it won’t really amount to anything because they haven’t made a video for it nor garnered media attention. In any case, it feels like filler.
The next track is “Vomit 4:43” which features a darker lyrical tone, while still keeping the steely electronics in play, along with slight mists. I must admit, it’s a much different album than anything I’ve heard before from them and much more interesting than some of their normal approaches. Out of all the sounds that could be fused with rap, I never thought they would reach out the more industrial side of electronic music.
As for “Vomit” and the next track, “Falling Apart 4:30” they actually manage to do something that I’ve always felt ICP has done a great job of and that’s telling a story. The first track involves a rich man who doesn’t care about anyone by himself, while “Falling Apart” is right up there with some of their classics. Now this is the ICP I remember. “How 3:48” changes things a little to add a more commercial feel in the form of a catchy rock chorus, which pops in between a ballady electronic piece. It’s quite catchy and I think that people will be able to relate to it, especially those who are more religious than others.
“Explosions 2:56” comes next, but it feels like a club-influenced bump track and it doesn’t really work for me. “I’ll Keep My Hatchet 3:12” seems to be a song about preferring an axe to a gun. It’s a Juggalo pride sort of thing. “Neighbors Are Fighting 3:01” seems wholly unnecessary. I guess if you’re ready to whoop someone’s ass it works, and maybe it would also work for the JCW Championshit Wrestling thing they have, but it seems kind of rushed. The beat sounds rather simplistic and the chorus line doesn’t seem to match the lyrical content. It’s an ass kicking song that they’ve basically renamed in a bizarre fashion and I’ll admit that I’m a bit lost.
“You Should Know 4:28” mixes guitar harmony with an almost eighties electronic feel and it seems to be about a gentleman making amends before marriage, even though it also seems to deal with spousal abuse and the all-too-common domestic violence problem in America. “Flamethrower 5:29” nears the end of the album and it’s about burning things down with a flamethrower. The chorus seems a little weak and the beats are basically standard-fare even though the rhymes are still quite solid.
The song has a darker tone in areas, but it’s the kind of bump shit that the band was making fun of two decades ago. The last song on the album is “I See The Devil 6:37” which adds a pop chorus into the mix. It’s also quite catchy, along with lyrics which basically entail keeping the beast of man at bay, escaping the foulness within us all. That sort of thing. At the end of the day, The Marvelous Missing Link (Lost) is definitely one of ICP’s better albums.
Though some of these cuts are rather silly, there are also some serious matters discussed and much of it hearkens back to the band’s earlier material. On the first listen, I didn’t really feel it was all that great, but if you look at the disc in terms of the lyrical matter alone, this is definitely some of their stronger work. The choruses do fail sometimes, especially when it didn’t feel like a chorus even needed to be added into a song (take “Flamethrower” and “Neighbors Are Fighting” for example), but for the most part the album does deliver and is a much better release than the previous Joker’s Card, The Mighty Death Pop.
Instead of releasing four albums, this time they’ve only released one (Edit: with The Missing Link (Found) to come shortly and feature more upbeat and comedic material.) I personally think the material here is strong enough to stand out above most of their post Wraith material, and I didn’t expect to say that.
Even though the album has religious overtones in areas, this is still the same ICP and the lyrical topics are still quite dark and contain several observations of society.Nothing has really changed, other than the decision to experiment with more industrial landscapes in addition to the familiar beats and guitars of which we’re all familiar with. It’s actually a pretty solid rap record and I’d recommend you give it a spin.
(14 Tracks, 53:00)