Music Review: Tenacious D - Rize of the Fenix
Published: Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, May 1, 2012 13:05
Rock fans rejoice. “The D” is back once again.
After the lackluster release of Tenacious D and The Pick of Destiny and Jack Black’s ongoing Hollywood career, it was unclear whether or not the rock group Tenacious D, comprised of Black and collaborator Kyle Gass, would put out any new material.
But like the album title suggests, their third album — Rize of the Fenix — is aimed at proving the D can still rock out. And prove it, it does.
Though the album won’t be released until Tuesday, May 15, the tracks are available on the Internet, and I’m already sold. It’s one of the toughest things for a band to follow up a flop, but the D makes easy work of it by attacking the previous album directly in the Fenix’s first song of the same name, singing “When the Pick of Destiny was released / It was a Bomb / And all the critics said / That the D was done.” But the album quickly turns to redemption, and it’s clear in the lyrics they’re right.
The rest of the album hits everything that originally made the D great. There’s the hilariously profane songs like “Low Hangin’ Fruit” and “39,” both about the singers’ voracious sexual appetite.
That’s what makes the D so great. They know the rock game and incorporate it into their image. Their songs all take an idealistically epic view at rock. It’s a very meta approach to the genre and most of their songs are about being legendary rock stars. For example, “The Ballad of Hollywood Jack and Rage Kage,” an epic rock ballad detailing the D’s actions since the release of Pick of Destiny and my personal favorite song off the album.
The intermittent skits that made the first album so memorable are back too, and are chock full of the hilarious randomness you’d expect from the duo.
The only thing detracting from the album is sometimes it’s too well done, too polished. The success from the first album weighed on the fact it had a feel of two underdogs who had a dream and not much else. The songs were good but basic, which is definitely not the case on Rize of the Fenix, as every song has a much higher production value.
Fortunately, they use this to their advantage, dropping the indie credentials and going for full force rock and roll. Half of the album seems to take on different subgenres of rock, showing the D can conquer anything.
My personal favorite is “Senorita,” an epic tale of love and betrayal with a south-of-the-border flavor, full of trumpets and flamenco guitar.
There’s also “To Be The Best,” a tribute to 80s power rock and montage music, and “Rock is Dead,” which harkens back to Chuck Berry days.
Overall, the album is everything you’d hope for and more. It keeps the classic D sense, and any Tenacious D, or just plain old rock and roll, fan needs to buy this album.