First things first: of course it's better than Results May Vary. How could it not be? But let's not get ahead of ourselves -- Charmbracelet is better than Glitter, Generation Swine is better than that pseudo-industrial Mötley Crüe album without Vince Neil, but that doesn't mean you'd want to listen to any of them. But The Unquestionable Truth, Pt. 1 -- whose title threatens a sequel and suggests a concept album -- is certainly a comeback of sorts for Limp Bizkit. Surely, the return of prodigal guitarist Wes Borland to the fold has something to do with it, since this isn't just harder and heavier than Results May Vary, it has actual riffs, which were in short supply on that 2003 debacle. But this isn't quite the party-hearty violence of Significant Other, either: this is a deadly somber, bitter, angry record, one that intentionally shuns fun. Not that Limp Bizkit have ever been all that fun to listen to in the first place; there's something about their plodding, jerky rhythms, hook-deficient riffs, and Fred Durst's rage-addled, chipmunk squeak that seems contemptuous of the very notion of a good time, even if Significant Other provided the soundtrack to many frat keggers at the turn of the century. That was a long time ago, though, and those 20-year-old kids are in their mid-twenties, not quite ready to revisit the adolescent angst that fueled the first two Bizkit albums. Never to fear -- Durst has grown up, too. He's now 34 and a new father and he's finally discovered the outside world, keeping the "you did this to me" rants and "what a bitch fame is" laments to a minimum. Instead, he's writing about corruption in the church (nice timing, considering this was released just a couple weeks after the election of Pope Benedict XVI), the quest for truth, and the evils of mass media, particularly E! True Hollywood Story. Some might say that there are bigger problems in 2005 than the tyranny of E!, but it's a start. Similarly, the music is a step in the right direction -- it's more ambitious, dramatic, and aggressive, built on pummeling verses and stop-start choruses. It's kind of like a stab at neo-prog alt-metal, only not nearly as bizarre and interesting as that would suggest, because this is, after all, Limp Bizkit, who are hidebound by their awkward, sluggish, thuggish attack. And, lest you forget, they're also held back by Durst, still the most singularly unpleasant, absurd frontman in rock. Not for nothing has his name become a synonym for "worst" in the blogosphere: Durst doesn't seem to have any sense of perspective or sense of self. He opens "The Priest," his song about the church, with the immortal line, "It could be the absinthe talking," and then wallows in weird moral relativism: "I see priests molesting children/I see terrorists blowing up buildings/I see someone in rage killing Dimebag on-stage." He rails against radio and entertainment TV, blissfully ignorant of the fact that those are the tools that gave him his fame. He quotes Aldo Nova, and not ironically. He writes bewildering lines like "the hipsters that don't hip anymore." He claims that he "don't like the whores that try to f*ck you for your game," just weeks after his home sex tape, recorded on his cell phone, spread all over the Internets. He does this and much, much more in the span of 29:43. So at least he doesn't overstay his welcome. And truth be told, there is a certain fascination in hearing Durst flail about, particularly now that the music is somewhat better -- never has someone been so earnest and well-intentioned in his utterly clueless idiocy. But the man himself puts it best: "You hate that I'm a tic/A motherf*cking tic you're finding hard to forget!!" Yes, Fred, it's hard to forget you, but that still doesn't erase the fact that you're still Durst in every possible sense of the word.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine