Being the kings of the underground, Insane Clown Posse have released numerous full length albums throughout their career. Their mainly known for the Joker’s Cards, which is six albums following the Dark Carnival. The First Six Boxset covers their first set of Cards. Included with the boxset is the House of Wax EP. Back in the ‘90s, ICP released the Sideshow EPs, which was basically mini albums to hold over the listener until the next Card came out. Each Sideshow was significant one way or another. Beverly Kills 50187 came out before the second Card, and according to Violent J, was the album that allowed ICP to quit their day jobs and pursue music full time. It also featured temporary member Greez-E. The Terror Wheel came out before the third Card, and featured their first local radio hit single “Dead Body Man.” Tunnel of Love came out before the fourth Card, and was released during a very small window of time when switching record labels, and consisted of love songs. The Calm and Eye of the Storm EPs also came out during The Tempest era, and consisted of outtakes.
2. Two Shot
4. The Zipper
6. Zen of Love
7. Catch and Kill (feat. Young Wicked/Big Hoodoo)
8. House of Wax
9. Take It Out on Me
It’s been 7 years since the last ICP EP came out, and House of Wax consists of entirely new material recorded just for the boxset. Strangely, it’s odd to note that ICP decided to record new material for a boxset that consists of material from the original Joker’s Cards. It would make more sense to include an EP of outtakes from that era; however, it’s not a big deal. It’s actually a better idea than Psychopathic’s original idea of including the Dog Beats EP in the boxset.
“Intro” seagues directly into “Two Shot.” “Two Shot” doesn’t really follow the concept of the House of Wax, but instead hypes ICP in a typical fashion. Mike E. Clark returns to the production table, and he makes a good beat for this song. Eerie buzzes, a faint guitar line, and a steady drum beat consists throughout the song.
“Dickhead” is the song that was featured on the Psychopathic Sampler from the 2014 Gathering. It has an overall uplifting beat with harsh lyrics portraying ICP’s dickhead side. The lyrics harks back to the reckless concept of a person from Mighty Death Pop! and ranges from typical sex to pointless fights. “House of Wax” has another danceable beat to it, which is featured briefly at the end of the “Intro” track. This basically begins the concept of the EP, describing that the House of Wax is free, and has various torture techniques. The chorus however is drawn out, and seems to drag on throughout the song, with not much variety.
“The Zipper” is about a ride within the House of Wax. It describes a thrilling ride, with an addiction to continue visiting the ride. It seems like an incredible ride, with loads of fun. The end has a twist though, as three times being rode, then the person dies. The beat doesn’t have much to it, but the chorus has a familiar high-pitched noise effect in the beat, and is catchy. Shaggy 2 Dope is the only one with verses, and he tells the story with ease. “3:24” is a darker song, with bass heavy music and Violent J being the only one with verses this time. He flows nonstop throughout the song and his style is reminded from the Hell’s Pit days.
“Zen of Love” is drastically different than the other songs on the EP. It’s basically a relationship song and ICP attempts to create a melody with their voices, and although they’ve pulled it off in the past, it doesn’t sound too good. Their humor is still present in the song though, thus not making it a completely serious love song. The Zen of Love attraction basically has someone ask a relationship question, followed by a humorous answer by the Zen of Love. “Catch and Kill” is a standout track, with a guitar heavy beat and slamming drum pattern. Young Wicked and Big Hoodoo have guest verses on this track, and they both match the concept perfectly. It’s interesting to see these two artists grow, and it’s good that ICP is giving them another small outlet.
“Take It Out on Me” is the closing track of the EP, clocking in at 11 minutes long. It describes a tortured soul in purgatory, basically. The beat is dark and eerie, similar to “3:24” except within the chorus, when the beat becomes dreamy and smooth-like. From the 5 minute mark onwards, Violent J screams the same thing over and over. It gets pretty repetitive and is extremely drawn out. The only logical thing I can think of is that he was emotionally charged in the vocal booth for 6 minutes, and is straight from his heart. If that’s not the case, then he was simply trying to be humorous. It can go either way.
To sum it up, House of Wax is a nice return to the Sideshow entries. It’s a good hold over until the next Joker’s Card comes out, which is The Missing Link. A few tracks don’t follow the concept of the EP, and seems to just be randomly thrown in there. The entire EP consists of both a humorous tone and a darker tone though, and it’s balanced nicely. It’s a good listen for someone trying to get the newest ICP fix.
- Catch and Kill
- The Zipper
- Two Shot
- House of Wax