02. Bring it Back
03. Gold Cobra
04. Shark Attack
05. Get A Life
07. Douche Bag
08. Walking Away
12. Why Try
13. Killer In You
What’s the point of reviewing a band like Limp Bizkit on a metal blog? Limp Bizkit’s comeback album Gold Cobra is their first release in nearly six years and has been the subject of hatred since long before its release. To slag an album such as Gold Cobra would be a pointless exercise in patience and I’d just be preaching to the choir, and to praise it would be the suicide of whatever credibility I may have. Really, there’s no win either way if I were to review an album like this for you folks, so I might as well just do it for myself.
To be sure, Gold Cobra isn’t entirely unlistenable. The biggest draw this album has is the nostalgia factor, which may apply to many in a similar age group and musical history mirroring my own. In middle school, Limp Bizkit helped to bridge the gap between heavier music and the rap and hip-hop I had been listening to, allowing me to cross over into bands like Korn, and eventually metal. There will always be some sort of respect for Limp Bizkit for helping to define my music taste and dominating the soundtrack to my life when I was younger, but I now know bullshit when I hear it. Leave me to be the only one that can manage to say something positive about Limp Bizkit in the metal blogosphere, but listening to Gold Cobra really takes me back to simpler times when all I really had to worry about was avoiding the assholes in my class. Limp Bizkit were great for angsty catharsis, that’s for sure.
It goes without saying, but most of the ire that Gold Cobra will catch will lie in Fred Durst’s side of the court. While he can provide a killer visceral scream when he really wants to—as in the track “Get a Life,”—and every now and then, his rhythmic delivery isn’t half bad, but his lyrics are absolutely abhorrent and the entire album suffers as a result of his inability to say anything meaningful. I know Fred Durst was never the beacon of lyrical genius, but even on Gold Cobra his presence is disappointing, even taking to the tired autotune effect in totally uncreatively titled “Autotunage.” Durst is the epitome of the terrible rapper cliche, fronting the same sleazy pissed off tough guy character that fools absolutely no one. Has Fred just been living a fantasy vicariously through Limp Bizkit or does he really believe he gets tons of ladies, smokes a bunch of weed (okay, this may be true), has a plethora of guns, and has the means of causing harm to anyone? Sure, he dabbled in this stuff in the past, but there was a certain charm in the ‘pushed around until you fucking snap and knock a bitch out’ lyrics of the past. Now that I’m a little bit older and just slightly wiser, it just doesn’t resonate as well as it used to — but it was certainly better than whatever Fred is on about these days.
On an instrumental front, the band can actually deliver in varied degrees of success! In fact, I’d say that if it weren’t for the front man, there would be no shame in enjoying the musical work on Gold Cobra. There’s some interesting composition choices, such as a brief jazz break at the end of “Douchebag.” Guitarist Wes Borland is often underrated in some circles, but he’s not far from Rage Against The Machine‘s Tom Morello in his effect laden quirky riffs and leads. The rhythm section in bassist Sam Rivers and drummer John Otto are also a huge driving force in the album, providing a groovy interplay that is actually quite tasteful and fun; the duo are quite the proficient players when they’re given a chance to shine. DJ Lethal tends to shy away from the turntables and instead provides the odd key work and programming — not necessary, but he’s certainly not a liability. At its core, the music itself is quite fun and can actually hold some replay value.
It’s almost a shame that the band sound as good as they do when you have such over the top lyrics taking the spotlight. I’ll say it right now; if Limp Bizkit were fronted by a rapper that could do some honest self-reflection and provide some substance and creativity, then Limp Bizkit could be a credible force to be reckoned with in the world of rock and hip-hop. Obviously and unfortunately, this isn’t the case. I know you’ve got it in you somewhere, Fred; use it next time.
This is one of those situations where personally, I don’t mind it—but as a critic, I can’t condone it. But hey, if Gold Cobra does for some kid what Chocolate Starfish… did for me when I was younger, I think I’ll allow it. If you’re like me and grew up on Limp Bizkit, tread lightly and turn off your brain (and your last.fm scrobbling) before giving Gold Cobra a spin. For everyone else, it just goes without saying; steer clear.
Limp Bizkit – Gold Cobra gets…