First and foremost, full disclosure.
At the turn of the millennium, a wave engulfed America — a tsunami of braggadocio, skank walks, mosh pits, and general “on the offensive” mentalities. This hodgepodge of funk, rap, punk, and hard rock was known as nu-metal, and drop-D tuning plus confrontational lyrics became the hot commodity. Is it the most depth-defying? No. Is it relevant in today’s world of progressive metal? Not by a long shot.
Nobody is proclaiming that nu-metal will reclaim our hearts, minds, and fist pumps; 11 years is a long time for a band/genre/niche to reconstitute, resurface, and retaliate (not counting the dirty little secret known as The Unquestionable Truth, Pt. 1). That being said, and much to the chagrin of those who’d just as soon lump ICP into a chasm of deep hatred…a fully reunited Limp Bizkit has commenced one relatively proud and noble death rattle a decade from its peak (after numerous delays and concert cancellations, no less).
Better late than never? Suppose it depends on who you ask.
At its best, Gold Cobra represents an anachronistic yet viable effort on the part of this Florida rock quintet: abrasive, snide, antagonistic, violent, party-driven, and definitely good and loud for your car stereo. At its worst, the Limp Bizkit you know and love (or loathe) has opted to stay with the grain they’re comfortable in, meaning this isn’t some half-assed attempt to resurrect the past — just a plateau that evolution hasn’t blessed with a new edge (case and point: Linkin Park’s A Thousand Suns versus KoRn’s III).
There’s plenty for fans to truly admire: displays of Durst’s lyrical advancement (yes, really) on “Why Try” and titular single, “Gold Cobra”; the semi-introspective modern rock tunes, “Walking Away” and “Loser”; the crushing power and mic presence in “Douche Bag”, “Shark Attack”, and personal favorite, “Shotgun”. Low-end production (circa 1997’s Three Dollar Bill, Y’all), conjoined with attacks and humor reminiscent of 1999’s Significant Other rantings. Reality check: Was anyone truly taken aback by what appears to be standard fare?
Seriously, how much maturity did you hope Limp Bizkit would achieve, let alone invoke? It’s fuel for the masses who fight back against their foes on a regular basis, from a frontman who’s used to getting verbally slaughtered by critics nationwide. Frankly, I’d consider anything more aggressive than 2003’s pseudo-Bizkit radio caterer Results May Vary to be a step up, even with a decent cover of “Behind Blue Eyes” and the tired premise of “Just Drop Dead” to fall back on — even when one considers the retard rage displayed on the chorus of “Get A Life”.
The undisputed fact remains that everyone knew exactly what to expect from this record, no matter what hype was presented to them. Limp Bizkit has never touted any banner unbecoming of the band or its image, even if a large sum of folks will die trying to prove how much of a punk Fred Durst can be, or how Wes Borland’s re-entering the fold is tantamount to temporary insanity, given his talents. These arguments are old — they do nothing to deter those who enjoy the records, as much as Gold Cobra will please fans without converting so-called haters in the meantime.
Gold Cobra has its obvious bumps, not the least of which are inconsistencies with its flow on the whole, a sporadically irritating club tune called “Bring It Back”, or infectious fiesta jams/self-parodies, “Autotunage” and “90.2.10” (saved only by John Otto’s ridiculously awesome percussion). Whatever your preferred flavors are in the Bizkit’s repertoire, even these discrepancies feel wasteful or cumbersome.
This is an entertaining, boastful, non-alienating piece of nostalgic bliss for those who once held memberships with the LB; this is a guiltily cacophonous comeback turned restless throwback with flair. In comparison to the rest of Limp Bizkit’s catalog, Gold Cobra props itself up as the best thing we’ve seen from our most hated band since even 1997, and the two albums following that had enough singles to fill a greatest hits compilation one record ahead of schedule. Sure, nu-metal pretty much abandoned us ages ago, and we’re actually content with that, but for reliving adolescence, nothin’ spells property damage like Limp fuckin’ Bizkit.
Essential Tracks: “Gold Cobra”, “Why Try”, “Douche Bag”, & “Shotgun”