Time hasn’t been kind to the once-popular amalgam of metal and hip-hop known as nü-metal, and it’s been absolutely brutal to former scene king Limp Bizkit. Unfortunately, when it comes to the current wave of ’90s retromania, sometimes the bad stuff returns from the dead, too. Gold Cobra is Bizkit’s big comeback attempt, and it’s a blandly nostalgic rehash of the big, dumb songs that somehow became pop-friendly aggro-anthems in the band’s glory years. With all the butthead riffage, hip-hop-inflected breaks, and nasal Fred Durst yelping of the bad old days, Gold Cobra consists of watered-down iterations of Limp Bizkit’s harebrained heyday. Durst references the band’s debut, Three Dollar Bill, Yall$ (“Why Try”), the hit song “Nookie” (the skit introduction to “Autotunage”), his lost fame (“90.2.10”), and making music in the ’90s (“Bring it Back”), but this is a man who can’t rest comfortably on his laurels. Worse than the romanticizing of Limp Bizkit’s disreputable history is Durst’s stabs at contemporary relevance. His inept attempts at finding a new cultural cache by name-dropping Wikipedia and Barack Obama—or making lame jokes about Auto-Tune—are downright flaccid. Though they do prove, in spite of Gold Cobra’s trappings, that it wasn’t recorded in 1999.
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