“I miss that whole genre — rap-rock or nu metal or rapcore, whatever we were called. There was a minute there when you had Bizkit, Deftones, Korn…There was something really special about those times. I feel like if we all got back together and did something, went on the road together, it could be really big.”
The above nugget came from the ever-quotable, Wilde-esque well of wit that is Fred Durst, in an interview with Billboard magazine earlier this year. Whether or not you agree with Durst – that those times were special – will no doubt shape your reaction to this record. Some may view this era with a certain rose-coloured fondness, but while 15-year-old boys can be forgiven anything, the fact that the press jumped onto the likes of The Strokes with such gleeful abandon in early 2001 may indicate how far gone things seemed at that point.
And now it is 2011, and we have a new Limp Bizkit record. There were rumours that the material may have matured somewhat from past offerings, or that frontman Fred Durst had lost the petulant anger most grow out of in their teens. Neither is true. This sounds like vintage Limp Bizkit, if indeed such a weighty nostalgic term can be affixed to records with the lyrics: “Now this red cap gets a rap from its critics” (Firstly: the criticism was never aimed at Durst’s headwear per se, and secondly: Limp Bizkit may go down as many things, but critically acclaimed will never be one of them). This album, on the other hand: Vintage Limp Bizkit!
Introba is a weird experimental opener. Have Limp Bizkit extended their palette? Nope. Bring It Back, brings it back to 1999, all studied anger and natural misogyny. Original guitarist Wes Borland is back in the fold after exiting acrimoniously in 2001 and he doesn’t seem to have touched his amp settings or added any new pedals to his setup. Which will be welcome relief for fans. Title track Gold Cobra takes a leftover riff from Three Dollar Bill Y’All and keeps up the ‘fuck you, bitch’ motif which has been instrumental in establishing Limp Bizkit’s core audience over the years.
“I ain’t givin’ hope like Obama” spits (whines) Durst on Shark Attack, his update on Break Stuff (by update we, of course, mean blatant re-write). Get A Life is just hilarious: “Get a Life, get a motherfucking life/ You don’t wanna be an enemy, I promise you, if you do motherfucker, bring it on.” Enough said.
And the album continues. Big nothing riffs phoned in from ‘97-’99, mentions of gun violence involving Durst and co. which seemingly went unnoticed by authorities and TMZ alike, and that ever-charming motif of bitch, bitch, bitch, all women are bitches, all enemies are bitches, bitches be bitches. This is how it goes in Limp Bizkit world, all petulant, unspecified anger (as you may recall, Durst wished to break ‘stuff’ back in his halcyon days, and he hasn’t zoned in any closer on the object of his malaise since). Every song sounds the same. “Douchebag, Imma fuck you up, fuck you, fuck you, fuck you up,” whines Durst in Douchebag, like a trenchcoated teen. As we mentioned, every song sounds the same.
Hang on, what’s this? I almost forgot that washed-out, chorusy effect Borland uses to indicate it is ballad-time. I forgot Limp Bizkit did ballads. Walking Awayis deep as a divot, while Loser (which follows, no doubt as a moment of mid-album reflection before the Bizkit fuck shit up again) takes lyrics from a fourteen-year-old girl’s diary, messes the grammar up a bit, and presents them straight-faced.
The rest of the album sounds like Limp Bizkit. Big riffs, bitches, etc. You already know what this record is. Whether you wish to revisit those heady days is another matter, entirely.