This Week in Badass is going to take a look at all the killer music that has reached my ears in current week, whether it be music that was just released or items coming out in the near future. You might even get some vintage badass to get you through your weekend as well. Music will be ranked on the badass’ness scale — which of course goes to 11, the only true way to measure if something kicks ass. So throw your horns up and get ready to headbang along. Bands are bolded the first time they are mentioned if you want to scroll through to see if there’s someone you like.
Fired from Popdose? Well okay, that would insinuate that I was actually “hired” in the first place. But I’m totally expecting a letter from someone with the last name of Giles in my inbox, indicating that I am no longer welcome at this great site. Why, you might ask? Well, it’s for the review you’re about to read. A review that will tell you that I like a Limp Bizkit record.
That’s not a misprint. I like Gold Cobra (badass’ness: 8/11), the new album from everyone’s favorite whipping boys. In fact, let me say something else that I’ve never told anyone before. This is the second Limp Bizkit album I like. Back in 2005 they released a little EP with no promotion called The Unquestionable Truth (Part 1) (badass’ness: 9/11) that was fantastic. It dropped a lot of the rap-rock stuff and was a more serious rock record which in turn showed me they had some talent, as if they had to show me anything.
I’m a hater, the kind like Fred Durst raps about in half his songs. I admit it. Limp Bizkit gets mocked by me on a regular basis. But while I’m a hater, I don’t hate them. That may not make a lot of sense on the surface but it’s one of those things where every now and then they make a song or two worth listening to but it’s more of the concept of the group that I hate. So, for a hater to come out and say a new Bizkit record is good, that’s saying something. And y’all know me well enough by now to know that I ain’t bullshitting for the hell of it.
Whether people like it or not, the key to these musicians making cash, is Fred Durst. He may write lyrics about titties, fucking you up and not giving a shit like he’s 17, but he sells records. Wes Borland certainly knows that. I loved his side project, Big Dumb Face. I didn’t like Black Light Burns at all. Neither were successful. Hence, he’s paying the bills by returning to Limp Bizkit. I can’t blame him for that.
It certainly isn’t the lyrics that make this album for me. I mean “douche bag / Ima fuck you up / fuck you / fuck you / fuck you up” (“Douche Bag”) isn’t exactly Shakesperian. But it doesn’t need to be. Limp Bizkit never came out and said they were some intellectual band that has some deep rooted meaning in their songs. By now, we all know they do it for the nookie. It’s the music on this album that makes it stand out. Both the lovers and the haters seem to be saying this is vintage Limp Bizkit if “vintage” is even a legit word for rap-metal. But it’s not though. The sequencing is absolutely key on this album. The typical Limp Bizkit rap-rock (I think it’s called “rapcore” now) is front-loaded on the disc and some of the more rock oriented tunes are hidden throughout but more focused towards the end and with the bonus tracks. So if you hated them in the past, you listen to the first three songs and think it’s the same old shit and move on. But the people that listen all the way through get some more interesting material later in the disc.
Just like the Unquestionable Truth, there are tunes on here that are either straight rock songs or close enough that it doesn’t fit the typical mode. And on these tracks like “Walking Away” and “Loser” the music is pretty killer and Fred’s lyrics are slightly more mature. If you get the deluxe version, there’s “Angels” which might be the most mature thing they’ve ever put out and has nothing to do with rap at all. In turn, this may be the best song on the disc. If you can get past some really silly lyrics from Fred, try isolating the music and you’ll hear what I did - some interesting riffs mixed in with the hip-hop that’s going to sell the record. Somehow though, I like those typical meathead songs as well this time around. I also ordered something from Hot Topic for the first time this past week and I’m not a goth skateboarder, so maybe it’s a midlife crisis of some sort, I don’t know. Either way, that means I’ve now admitted to liking the newest albums from Linkin Park, Korn and Limp Bizkit. My whole world is different now and it’s totally fucked up that I don’t feel any worse for it.
Speaking of my world being flipped upside down, the new LB record gets an 8 from me but the new Queensrÿche album, Dedicated To Chaos (badass’ness: 0/11) gets a flat out goose-egg and that’s no exaggeration either. “Chaos” is not a word to describe this album at all. It’s the polar opposite of chaos actually. It’s cold, sterile and a flat out abomination from a veteran group that needs to take a step back and reevaluate what they are doing.
The previews and press releases on the album have stated that Dedicated to Chaos is supposed to be some grand rock record with electronic dance elements to it. Geoff Tate has said they play with melody more on this record than any other and that part is sort of true. I mean, they try to incorporate melody into their tracks but often fail miserably. And I have no idea where the electronic dance comes in. Lead track, “Get Started” is supposed to be a hook filled pop song but someone forgot to actually write the hook to it. Other tracks like “Retail Therapy,” “Luvnu” (That’s Lovin’ You for those who don’t see it) and “Wot We Do” are unlistenable, dull monstrosities that should have been scrapped along with every other track on this record.
The big problem is that there is no clear direction. I’m not sure the band had any idea what they were going for here. The first half is filled with pop songs with lame lyrics and a lack of anything approaching catchiness and the second half has a slightly higher prog-rock feel though is about as dull as most of the stuff on their previous album. And Geoff Tate’s voice is just not made to sing upbeat pop songs, even if they were good tunes to begin with. I’d break this down further for you but after the second listen to the album (just to see if I was crazy) I promptly erased all traces of this from my hard drive so I was never tempted to go back to it again.
“Around the World”
The next Isis live record is up this week, the third out of the five live reissues, with III (badass’ness: 5/11) having been recorded on December 17th, 2004 after the group released Panopticon (badass’ness: 9/11). That’s a great record and this live recording features every track from it except for “Syndic Calls” which is replaced by another version of “The Beginning and the End.” Unfortunately, this one is my least favorite of the five releases as there’s just something missing in the recording of this. This album was recorded on mini-disc (!) from the audience and has decent quality to it but it’s probably the most atmospheric and mellow of the five albums and to me that just doesn’t translate very well on disc. The 16-minute version of “Altered Course” is the best example of this where instead of hearing the atmospheric parts, you hear drunk dudes calling each other pussies and a bunch of noise that was probably pretty cool live (though the crowd seems relatively disinterested) but sounds well, just like random noise on disc.
I’ve also been sitting on this album called Asylum (badass’ness: 8/11) from a Boston sludge band called Morne. It’s been out a few weeks on Profound Lore records and I’ve been digging it but words weren’t coming to describe it. However, just talking about Isis, something clicked. The 15-minute title track from this seven song disc is a lot like Celestial-era Isis. A little sludgy, a little atmospheric and a lot rockin’. Asylum is a little more diverse than their 2009 debut album with some doom and post-rock worked in to the mix more often than just plain sludge. And you know, I shouldn’t just say the title track reminds me of Isis as the whole record really does to be honest. If you liked the first half of Isis’ career, there’s no reason you shouldn’t like Morne too.
“I Will See You”