It’s been over 20 years since Limp Bizkit became the crude, crass, confrontational figureheads of nu-metal’s mainstream invasion. Third album ‘Chocolate Starfish And The Hot Dog Flavoured Water’ – containing the radio-bothering singles ‘Rollin’ and ‘My Generation’ – shifted over a million copies in its first week when it was released in 2000. Two years later, it had sold six million. That’s no mean feat, all while providing a huge boost to sales of red caps and sticking two fingers up at any notion of good taste.
Their peers in Deftones and Linkin Park distanced themselves from the genre before it became the uncoolest thing around, but Bizkit remained true. As Durst raps himself on their surprise sixth album ‘Still Sucks’ opener ‘Out Of Style’: “Never change my style ’cause my style is kinda fresh”. He might have a point, you know. Recent years have seen groundbreaking rising artists like Poppy, Nova Twins, Rina Sawayama, Wargasm and even Doja Cat proudly wear their love and influence of nu-metal on their sleeves, all while the line between rockers and hip-hoppers has never been narrower. Rather than ride the resurgence though, Limp Bizkit seem content to party like it’s 1999.
‘Out Of Style’ is a furious, braggadocious track made for the mosh-pit – driven by Wes guitarist Borland’s pummelling riffage and DJ Lethal’s old school scratchery. Comeback single ‘Dad Vibes’ wouldn’t sound out of place on 1999’s breakthrough record ‘Significant Other’ – albeit now knowingly middle-aged, especially given his new look – and they’ve even turned INXS’ ‘Don’t Change’ from swaggering disco funk to something a lot lot darker, just as they did with their divisive take on George Michael’s ‘Faith’ back in ’97.
The Bizkit couldn’t be more self-aware. “Nu metal one-hit wonders,” Durst calls his own band on ‘Turn It Up, Bitch’; a track that sees Limp Bizkit doing their best Cypress Hill impression with a dash of Daft Punk for good measure. “I’ll be the first and last king of nu metal from the trash,” he continues. Elsewhere, ‘Love The Hate’ starts with two people discussing their hatred of the frontman (“He’s the worst white rapper that’ll ever be”) before he defiantly claps back with, “Joke’s on you. You missed one clue. We don’t give a fuck”. It all works as a smart, tongue-in-cheek takedown of the people who still treat them like a guilty pleasure.
As much as ‘Still Sucks’ is Limp Bizkit getting back to frat-boy business, there are a couple of surprises to be found. ‘Barnacle’ is a moody moment of grunge that showcases their versatility, while ‘Pill Popper’ might be one of the most direct critiques of the American healthcare system this side of the millennium, as spoken word intro warns: “The pharmaceutical industry does not create cures. They create customers“.
The band’s last album was 2011’s trashy and high octane ‘Golden Cobra’, before they spent the past decade talking up the follow-up, (tentatively titled ‘Stampede of the Disco Elephants’). Despite that, this ain’t ‘Chinese Democracy’. ‘Still Sucks’ doesn’t feel laboured or overthought and never overstays its welcome. Limp Bizkit aren’t out to rewrite their history or reach a new generation. They don’t care if you still think they suck – they still know how to have a good time, and won’t stop rollin’.
Label: Suretone Records
Release date: October 31