photo & text by nacrowe
LIMP BIZKIT gets a bad name, which is probably more than well deserved. the dull-witted MISOGYNY and general WHITE PRIVILEDGE frat-boy behavior and incessant whining by frontman FRED DURST has not aged well in the least, not to say it was that welcome back when their debut THREE DOLLAR BILL, Y'ALL$ (INTERSCOPE, 1997) came out in the late 1990s.
DURST is a terrible frontman. i believe that is common knowledge at this point. so i want to go beyond him and discuss what i like about this album and LIMP BIZKIT in general, which are the actual musicians in the band.
i feel wholeheartedly that LIMP BIZKIT has one of the most talented (and criminally underrated) rhythm sections of their era. starting with WES BORLAND who is an absolute wizard at guitar. his highly IDIOSYNCRATIC style has an IMPRESSIONISTIC and layered PAINTERLY vibe that feels like a hybrid between PRIMUS, WEEN, SLAYER and THE CURE. the dude is incredibly talented (just check out his superior side projects BLACK LIGHT BURNS and BIG DUMB FACE as well as moonlighting gigs with everyone from MARILYN MANSON and FROM FIRST TO LAST to JONATHAN DAVIS and COMBICHRIST). his LES CLAYPOOL-inspired double-hand tapping technique is all over this record, most prominently on tracks like "STALEMATE," "INDIGO FLOW" and "SOUR." in terms of big riffs, there is a certain angular POST PUNK flair, which are absolutely scorching despite the fact that they are usually in odd time signatures. BORLAND is treasure that modern guitarists respect despite the mind-bending stupidity of DURST in much the same way people separate the bigoted views of PHIL ANSELMO from the stellar musicianship of DIMEBAG DARRELL.
JOHN OTTO has a FORCEFUL, hard-pounding snap to his drumming that is pretty iconic to their sound, especially on heavier tracks like "COUNTERFEIT," "POLLUTION" and "CLUNK." in later albums he would develop and integrate modern double-bass into his arsenal, but this record seems to be a bit more hands-centric in how forcefully he hits the toms and snare, and with speed and precision.
not to be forgotten are the memorable SLINKY bass-lines of SAM RIVERS which provide a sense of grounding, but also much needed FUNK to the festivities. tracks like "STUCK," "EVERYTHING" and even the GEORGE MICHAEL cover "FAITH" showcase keen sense of DYNAMICS and an artistic freedom to float in-between the guitar heroics of BORLAND and the hard-hitting groundwork of OTTO. taken as a whole, the rhythm section is UNRESTRAINED, UNPREDICTABLE and UNRELENTING.
just too bad about that singer situation. we're talking MIKE LOVE / DAVID DRAIMAN / BONO / CHRIS MARTIN / IVAN MOODY / SCOTT STAPP level terrible. although id love to hear BONO front LIMP BIZKIT. that might work.