On Limp Bizkit
’s first album in six years, the band members don’t worry about chasing trends or figuring out how to fit in. That turns out to be a good thing as Gold Cobra
is the group’s strongest since Significant Other
, finding the rap-rock
pioneers up to their usual bad-attitude posturing and generally antisocial behavior. While the record clearly wants to recapture the sound and attitude of the group’s late-‘90s heyday, it’s nonetheless a fresh and impressive barrage of furious guitar and snotty rhymes.
Still Angry After All These Years
When Limp Bizkit emerged in 1997 with Three Dollar Bill, Y’all, they established themselves as bratty suburban kids equally in love with metal and hip-hop. They didn’t demonstrate significant maturity with their next record, Significant Other, but they did reveal that the combination of singer Fred Durst and guitarist Wes Borland was a potent mixture, turning Durst’s anger into volcanic tunes. Limp Bizkit were juvenile, but there was something undeniably arresting about their music’s headlong rush. The band never managed to recreate that magic on later records, and eventually Borland exited the group. Gold Cobra represents the first time Borland has played on a full-length record with Durst in 11 years, and age hasn’t changed their perspective to their sound. If anything, Durst is even more petulant than ever.
Making the Petty Compelling
Just a couple months shy of his 41st birthday, Durst doesn’t seem to have grown up during the time since Limp Bizkit’s last record. Though he’s focused on film directing in recent years, the Durst that emerges on Gold Cobra
is still very much a guy who finds inspiration in his haters. Many of the album’s songs are attacks on those who have criticized or discounted him. But much like Axl Rose ranting and raving on Chinese Democracy
, Durst knows how to make petulance seductive and compelling. Frankly, there’s no reason for him to be as irritated as he comes across on Gold Cobra
, but his misanthropic, petty persona is surprisingly agile, able to lead his followers to embrace their inner rock star on “Autotunage” or let fly with a long list of bitter complaints on “Gold Cobra.” Utilizing filters and other sound effects, Durst manages to make his voice sound distorted and alien, a nice way to complement the songs’ ugly moods.
The Guitarist Steals the Show
But like U2
or the Rolling Stones
, while Limp Bizkit may be best known for their frontman, it’s their guitarist who provides the distinctive personality. Borland’s playing is the real highlight of Gold Cobra
, moving from the moody, low-key “Loser” to the showy shredding of “Bring It Back.” His guitar work is impressive because of how it doesn’t pay homage to any one style, bouncing around from metal to hard rock to electronic influences. Backed by DJ Lethal’s keyboards and samples, Gold Cobra
is a dazzling barrage of noises and sounds that’s melodic and abrasive at the same time. Even when Durst’s beefs get tiresome -- and let us not even discuss the puerile album cover -- the music remains a tornado destroying all in its path. Also impressive, the record varies its approach, proving just as confident on the riff-crazy “Shark Attack” as it is with the tense ballad “Walking Away.” Gold Cobra
’s release was long-delayed, but you could argue that the extra time allowed the group the opportunity to produce a more eclectic album.
Welcome Back, Bizkit
With Gold Cobra
, Limp Bizkit are most certainly not trying to win over people who were lukewarm about them a decade ago. Defiantly angry and uncouth, the album wants to pretend that the 2000s never happened, essentially sounding like Significant Other II
. After the instrumental opener, “Introbra,” Durst proudly announces on “Bring It Back” that Limp Bizkit had a lot of hits in the ‘90s and that they’re back because there’s nobody who can do what they do. That’s true, and it’s also a bit of mixed blessing. Gold Cobra
feels like an artifact from another era, and no matter how accomplished it is, it’s also unquestionably dated. Still, the fact that it’s more vital than many records from new bands is perhaps proof that no matter how nuts he seems on Gold Cobra
, he is right about one thing: In 2011, there’s nobody else quite like Limp Bizkit.
'Gold Cobra' – Best Tracks:
“Gold Cobra” (Purchase/Download
“Walking Away” (Purchase/Download
“Shark Attack” (Purchase/Download
“Bring It Back” (Purchase/Download
Release date – June 28, 2011
Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publicist. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.