Limp Bizkit – Gold Cobra
Well, this year so far has been the anti-comeback year, isn’t it? Last year everyone and their grandmothers (not me, mine’s a burger in Arby’s) got the nostalgia bug and eat up all reunions like it was popcorn with salsa valentina.
This year, the story is different. Duke Nukem comes back and everyone gangs up on him and gives him a kicking for doing what he does best (bub). American McGee’s Alice comes back and the blathering of “more of the same” is the criticism du jour.
It’s a lose-lose situation this: if you deliver the same, you get labelled a one trick pony. You change and then your fans (and critics piggybacking them) say you’ve changed and that they liked your older stuff better (if not, ask Weezer, Belong and Smashing Pumpkins).
So, in the spirit of doing what you know and do it well (“zapatero a tus zapatos” = “stick to your knitting”), Limp Bizkit reunited and recorded Gold Cobra.
Just to get it out of the way: if you are not a fan, this won’t convert you. If you’re a fan, you get a decent collection of tunes. Gone is the mellower side shown during the Results may vary era and the political bravado from The Unquestionable Truth (pt 1) is also gone.
So what’s left? It’s not a rehashing of old ideas either, as the loud / long mellow bit / loud formula is minimal this time around. John Otto pounds the skins like there’ no tomorrow, Sam Rivers is easily one of the best bassists around, DJ Lethal effortlessly scratches around and Wes Borland keeps putting up strange costumes and plays in weird guitar tunings (albeit with some variations). This leaves Fred Durst, who has tried different styles (more straight singing in Results May Vary, shouted rapping in The Unquestionable Truth (pt 1)) and now is back to his old tricks, although his voice feels slightly different.
Lyrics wise, there’s a lot of anger around here, some directed to “the haters” (which you can find in all trades of life beyond forums and comment forms), like displayed in the songs ‘Bring it back’, ‘Get a life’ (a direct salvo hit at online trolls), ‘Douchebag’ (which should’ve been the single) and ‘Loser’. There’s a lot of dissing too, so, it is business as usual and if you are a fan, it’s all good.
There’s considerable less rapping too (something Borland mentioned once as a pet peeve, as he just wants to rock out), with no guest stars, only the ol’ five squad doing what they do best: confrontational numetal full of bragadaccio platitudes, frat rock posturing and very good instrumentation.
‘Bring it back’ is a pisstake to some of the faff you listen to on radio, with that same drum sample (beat beat clap) repeated, then they let the full five fury (fathom that) rock out. Another stand out is ‘90.2.10’, which starts with some trashy beats and veers back into numetal. Rivers bass shines here (as well in ‘Shark Attack’, ‘Douchebag’ and ‘Gold Cobra’).
So far, so good, right? There’s even a couple of minisolos thrown in for good measure. Maybe the only nitpick a fan would have is the lack of “that stand out track”. Significant Other had ‘Don’t go off wandering’, Chocolate Starfish & The Hot Dog Flavored Water had ‘Boiler’ and Results May Vary had ‘Creamer (Radio is dead)’ and on a first listen, this album doesn’t seem to have one. On a second look, that track is ‘Walking away’. It stands out of all the other tracks with a more slow, creeping beginning before going crazy. It’s a good change of pace.
Let’s go back to the red cap elephant in the room. Limp Bizkit, just like Creed and U2 are in a position where a lot of praise (and a fucktonne of hate) is directed to the singer. Albeit Fred Durst‘s lyrical range is his usual (rants, aggression as a defence mechanism, spitefulness towards someone who has wronged you), there’s some hints of something else and, again, ‘Walking away’ is a good one. ‘Loser’, between some minutiae of self-pity, has some confessional-like moments (paired with a good guitar solo). There’s this skit at the end of ‘Loser’ that finds him playing with an autotune (which is used partly as a joke in the next track, ‘autotunage’), so, for all criticism about his personality, there’s a few brownie points for him not taking himself too seriously.
So, yeah, tl;dr, right? As stated, if you’re a fan, you’ll enjoy it (it’s a safe acquire) and if you don’t like them at all, this album will only reaffirm your position.