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Limp Bizkit Still Sucks

2021 Suretone Records

Well la di da.

Limp Bizkit - Still Sucks

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It’s been over a decade since nü-metal’s poster boys (and perpetual punching bag) Limp Bizkit released their fifth studio album “Gold Cobra“. Given that span of time and the events that occurred in the world of music since, you’d be forgiven to have glossed over the circumstances that proceeded it.

In the aftermath of “Gold Cobra” comparatively underperforming in retrospect to much of the rest of the band’s catalog, they parted ways with their longtime major label home and signed a deal with Cash Money Records, teasing their eventual next release “Stampede Of The Disco Elephants“.

Well, that was the plan anyway. Neither of those ventures bore fruit and like many artists whose mainstream success has seemingly long since left them behind them, Limp Bizkit opted to instead sporadically play hit and runs shows and extensive tours abroad to keep the lights on.

During that time their enigmatic guitarist Wes Borland himself stated that they had attempted to finish this sixth studio album roughly seven times, only for the perfectionism and creative unhappiness of frontman Fred Durst to drag the band into their own “Chinese Democracy“-styled quagmire.

And yet after an admittedly uninspiring decade of essentially playing shows to pay the bills, some inspired booking at this past summer’s flagship ‘Lollapalooza‘ festival in Chicago, IL saw Limp Bizkit publicly embraced by not only by their unwavering fans and nostalgic thrill seekers, but also a surprising portion of those that disparaged them relentlessly in the past.

Be it the dark days brought on by the pandemic, a relatively dull time in popular music or absence simply making the heart grow fonder, somehow Limp Bizkit arguably became the breakout artist of a festival that these days only tenuously has ties to heavier artists, let alone a genre as maligned as nü-metal.

Riding that wave of renewed positivity into an ill-fated summer tour (thanks to COVID) and now a last minute Halloween release of this long-awaited new entry into their catalog, it feels as though Durst and co. have grown to realize and accept what Limp Bizkit are in 2021: an evergreen band who people primarily seek out to recapture the thrills and carefree days of their misspent youth.

Limp Bizkit may have pushed the bar early on their career and strived to retain scene prominence, but on this album they’ve let go of that the pressure and are just out to have fun. “Still Sucks” possesses an off the cuff atmosphere and a less is more approach that fits the group’s current status like a glove.

For years now the band have padded their setlists with covers of several artists who influenced them and on this outing, they’ve essentially delivered a collection of tracks that find them paying spiritual homage to many of those same legendary acts

That sonic worship emerges fairly early on with “Turn It Up, Bitch“—a rap-centric offering that pilfers the early 90s Cypress Hill playbook, right down to a DJ Muggs-styled upright bass loop and Durst pulling off a convincing B-Real flow, diction and all.

But that track also finds Durst remaining as self-referential and self-deprecating as ever, at one point even spitting, “nü-metal, one-hit wonders, the Bizkit back, time to run from the gunner.” Several tracks later comes “Barnacle“, a cut that is an unabashed example of Nirvana worship, with Limp Bizkit adopting numerous aspects of the grunge legends and that genre.

Later there’s “Pill Popper“, an industrial-oriented crusade that for the most part channels the emaciated programming and menace of Ministry‘s storied late 80s to early 90s heyday, complete with a detached opening sample and lyrical content condemning big pharma.

If that’s not enough of the band being faithful to their muses, there’s also “Snacky Poo“, a goofy nod to the late 80s/early 90s era of hip hop that goes so far as to be built upon one of the genre’s most infamously utilized drum breaks around that time, “The Honey Drippers‘ “Impeach The President“.

With a buttery flow and some endearingly tongue-in-cheek lyrical content, it’s a charming throwback that does sound somewhat out of place due to it’s straight-faced nature. For better or worse, a bizarre prank/skit involving Wes Borland closes it out and given its fluffy length, it seems guaranteed to be skipped on repeat listens.

Speaking of Borland, his eclectic riff wizardry remains as intriguing as ever, though he is unfortunately a bit reigned in on many of the tracks featured here. The opener “Out Of Style” does still manage to deliver a particularly nasty concoction of his wares though, with dive-bomb screeches and crunchy bounce grooves providing explosive sonic shrapnel throughout.

Outside of the more familiar elements however, there’s a fairly timid acoustic cover of INXS‘ “Don’t Change“, and “You Bring Out the Worst In Me“, a song which balances astral melancholy with vicious metallic lunges.

That the latter sports a trove of Halloween-related lyrical content certainly seems to play into why they chose to release this record on this particular day. Elsewhere there’s the gimmicky back and forth rap of “Love The Hate“, which finds Durst keenly playing into the negativity that has surrounded himself and the band over the years. It sounds part golden era Eminem in intent and part “All In The Family” in delivery, so take that for what it’s worth.

That the album’s closing track “Goodbye immerses itself in shimmery, modern electro pop, with acoustic strums and a brisk drum beat, only adds to the genre schizophrenia found here. Much of “Still Sucks” finds Limp Bizkit embracing both the love and hate they have garnered themselves over the years with a carefree demeanor. It also finds them taking the listener through the minutiae of their tape and CD collections as opposed to the impersonal nature of sharing a streaming playlist.

Durst in particular seems to have grown more comfortable and confident of who he was and who he has become, repeatedly easing his guard and just living the moment. And even with its frequent nods to the past, much of “Still Sucks” at least seems forward-thinking in design.

Whether or not this direction is what the band’s longtime fans wanted from a Limp Bizkit album in 2021 remains to be seen. That a group of men collectively straddling the waning years of their 40s and the early days of their 50s aren’t out to provoke controversy or relentlessly melt faces is understandable.

But the fact remains, after having waited a decade for this record to finally materialize, it’s a safe bet that the Limp Bizkit diehards and those pining for some turn of the century nüstalgia will likely just be happy that there’s even a new Limp Bizkit album at all.

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