Metal Shop with Mr. GrayMetal: The 90s Are In

(Last Updated On: September 9, 2021)

Welcome back to Metal Shop, I’m Mr. Gray, and I’ve come to realize I never provided a “syllabus;” basically, what you should come to expect from my writings. This is not another “what’s new in metal” blog. The way I figure it, there’s enough of that out there already, plus Loudwire is a thing that exists. I might throw a mention to some new stuff that I’m grooving with, but that’s not going to be the focus. So generally speaking, I won’t show up here to gush over Lars and James’ Vanity Hour (pro tip: there are two links there). I’m way more into rediscovering bands that I forgot about or wrote-off.

Today’s lesson takes us back to the late 90s. 1997-2001 were my high school years (shut up), which are some of our most formative while growing up. We’re exposed to more things that we will hold onto in our adult years, be that taste in cars, music, food, you name it. Things can always change, but for the most part I’m still listening to the same basic style of music 20 years later. The popular rock came from bands like Smashmouth, Smashing Pumpkins, U2, and Green Day. Ska was throwing horns back into the mix via Reel Big Fish and the Mighty Mighty Bosstones. Metalheads were throwing horns in a different way, though.

Metallica did have a couple of pretty big releases with Reload and Garage Inc. Megadeth, AC/DC, Ozzy and Sabbath all had new stuff out there. The classics, man, the CLASSICS! Then 99 rolled around and we had something come rolling in from left field: rap rock, or as it came to be dubbed, Nu-Metal. It’s something that had been around for a few years, but it came up to the doorstep of the millennium with something to prove. Children, believe me when I say that this shit spoke to a lot of us on a level we’d never seen. Our parents had the anti-war stuff of the 60s and 70s. Gen X was very much able to relate to the grunge of the early 90s. Elder Millennials got Korn, Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park, Gorillaz, and Kid Rock (before he went full moron). These bands, among so many others, gave a voice to our teenage angst. Now, a lot of these bands have stayed fairly fresh, releasing new stuff on a semi-consistent basis over the years. One has stuck out to me a lot more here in the past few months, though: Limp Bizkit.

Yeah, no, I get it. They’re a band whose namesake is a game where you jerk off on a cracker. For a while it was the cool thing to hate on these guys, especially Fred Durst. Now let’s be honest; Three Dollar Bill Y’all$ and Significant Other were both fantastic albums. If we were lucky enough to see it coming, Pollution was our first exposure, and it was one hell of an exposure at that. A ton of other people got their first dose through 99’s Significant Other, which gave us one of our angsty teenager anthems with Break Stuff (author’s note, that’s the radio edit, because I wanted the actual music video). I PACK A MUTHAFUCKIN’ CHAINSAW (WHAT)! Dumb as hell, but super fun to scream along with. Bizkit followed those up with Chocolate Starfish, which was mostly okay, but threw in some really weird shit like Fred’s shoutout to Ben Stiller, and a fuck ton of hip-hop cameos. Then they gave us Results May Vary. I’m not linking anything from it, that whole album was hot fucking garbage, and Fred needs to feel bad about it.

That’s when a lot of us wrote them off, leaving Bizkit to be forgotten to the annals of time. I went back to make a playlist of that old stuff and found that Limp had actually put out a couple more albums since that dumpster fire. Kids, go have a listen to 2005’s The Unquestionable Truth (Pt. 1). I guarantee you, it’s not what you might expect. I’m actually really kind of digging it, because it’s different, but also reminds me a lot of Three Dollar. On the other hand, they then turned around and came out with Gold Cobra, which kind of went back to the weird, dumb stuff. It’s still not bad, but I won’t force a listen on that one.

So am I saying Limp Bizkit is BACK!? Oh, hell no. Not by any means whatsoever. Granted, Fred has an entertaining presence on Tik Tok. Wes Borland has been doing some stuff with Black Light Burns, as well as solo. I’d imagine John Otto is still taking people to the Mathews Bridge, as Fred requested. Stupidly enough, I also heard Rollin’ on SiriusXM Turbo while sitting in the parking lot at work today. Hey, I gotta have something halfass decent since Metallica took over Liquid Metal again. Fuckin’ Lars. Anyway, once again, remember your roots. Perhaps your Roots, Bloody Roots? No, but still. Your homework this go-round is to give a listen to the new Spiritbox single Hurt You. I’m absolutely in love with the breakdown. It’s a massive tempo change, and is super disgusting. Until our next class, throw horns, break stuff, and stay metal!

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