Amid years of silence, cancelled tours and numerous delays; few expected Limp Bizkit‘s “Gold Cobra” to ever actually see a release and yet here it stands. The poster boys of the nu-metal movement return with an album equivalent to that of a summer blockbuster popcorn movie – that is to say big budget explosions and little in the way of plot.
Surprisingly enough there is a palpable fun factor, even to those who endured the genre’s heyday, when listening to the instrumental portions of this outing. An anthemic, if not excessively sophomoric, mixture of the commercial gloss of “Significant Other” and the fierce riffage of “Three Dollar Bill, Yall$“; “Gold Cobra” is undoubtedly Limp Bizkit to its core.
Guitarist Wes Borland‘s ever creative squelches and crunchy fret board dives balance aggression and effect laden inventiveness in a way rarely seen outside of the likes of Tom Morello. All while the accompanying rhythm section mines obnoxious hip-hop breaks, upbeat grooves and even goes so far as to dabble in a slinky jazz-like foray.
Understandably many are quick to rightfully proclaim Borland – what with his outlandish costumes, dizzying tones and guitar heroics as the groups greatest asset. But there is also much to be said about the talent shown by drummer John Otto and bassist Sam Rivers. For it is their clever interplay and funky foundations that repeatedly enable Borland to attain the heights he does without sacrificing momentum.
The sonic accompaniment of DJ Lethal on the other hand is seemingly focused on programming manifested through ambient inflections and bass drops. This of course leads us to the bands proverbial lightning rod – Fred Durst. Inarguably the groups weakest link with his snotty raps and seemingly incurable napoleon complex, his larger than life presence steals the spotlight for better, or is more often the case, worse.
Rife with lyrics of retaliation, bravado, confrontation, partying and of course haters; his dialogue is certainly canon for Limp Bizkit. But one would have hoped that a man now in his 40′s would be a touch more reflective. Or at least take a page from the Beastie Boys and leave behind the cartoonized attempts at white-washed gangsta rap thuggery.
If anything though it is when he steps out of his element, such as on the alt rock ballad “Loser” or the attempted club anthem “Autotunage“, that he falls flat the hardest. And yet there’s no denying the entertainment value of his presence and his dedication to playing up his role as the mouthpiece of the group.
Sure his shortcomings, cheesy raps and lack of depth are painfully apparent. Especially in the numerous boneheaded choruses (see “Douchebag“, “Gold Cobra“,etc.) which rely on repetition to fill out a pattern rather than showcase any mental acuity. But then once again, this is Limp Bizkit, a band who put goofy entertainment and scream-along expressionism ahead of meaningful substance and in this they readily succeed.
All the clever grooves, abrasive crunch and hooky melodies in the world would have a hard time escaping the shadow of Durst‘s unintentional comedy and incessant posturing. Truly Durst has always been a more adept showman than lyricist/vocalist and this will likely never change. In turn “Gold Cobra” is exactly what one would expect; mindless entertainment full of aural bombast and violent pretense that is beloved by many and perhaps hated by even more.
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