Tenacious D – Rize Of The Fenix – Columbia Records
Official release date: Tuesday15th May 2012
After six long and arduous years and a questionable album cover design (yes, it’s a penis), the incomparable comedy rockers and self confessed “Greatest Band in the World,” Tenacious D are back and rocking harder than ever with new album Rize of the Fenix. To promote the release, a 6-minute mockumentary video named Tenacious D – To Be The Best went viral which gave a tongue-in-cheek and over exaggerated view of the band’s reunion. The video includes various celebrity cameos from the likes of Josh Grobin, Tim Robbins, Val Kilmer and of course Dave Grohl. The band also surprised fans with a preview release of the entire album via their SoundCloud page on 28th April.
With crude puns, aliens and accustomed references to genitals, it’s hard to remember that the legendary duo ever left us. Returning with them are their usual zany escapades and ironic jests but with, as the title suggests, a sense of epic rebirth. The team manages to successfully poke fun at themselves by refering to their thwarted box office effort The Pick of Destiny and to bring some much needed good old-fashioned humour back into our lives.
In title track Rize of the Fenix Black sings “…the critics agreed that it was a stinky pile of chee but that does not mean that our hearts are not strong” which insists that the “D” are most definitely back and able to ignite our rock depleted hearts again. Steaming guitar riffs bring it’s listener to attention and Black’s vocals have a new gravelly texture to them alongside his recognizable soulful warbling. The track descends in tempo towards the end with Black sorrowfully contemplating the impending removal of fans’ “D” tattoos then singing “we’ll start anew and they’ll have to get a new Tenacious D tattoo”. It’s a great start to the album and if you haven’t seen the music video – I recommend you watch it in all it’s clever comedic absurdity.
It’s hard to find a bad track on this album therefore it’s hard to choose a favourite as it all works so well together however the stand out tracks are the aforementioned Rize of the Fenix, moving on to the headbanger that is Low Hangin’ Fruit which, of course, is all about the guys’ not-so-picky pursuit of the female form and featuring Black’s classic energetic scatting, then with Deth Starr and Rock Is Deadsummarizing the album’s overall theme. The introduction of the flute and trombone on Ballad of Hollywood Jack and the Rage Cage is an agreeable welcome on the album and the skit “Flutes and Trombones” emphasises Black and Gass’ guilty pleasure in the classical instruments.
The album on whole is a thoroughly enjoyable listen; it’s light-hearted and hilarious but also is an affirmation of Blacks’ adoration for rock music and an opinionated comment on the standard of rock music in our pop saturated society. If you’re fan of Tenacious D (and why wouldn’t you be?) Rize of the Fenix is incredibly satisfying, asking us to all breathe a sigh of relief that the masters of hard rock are still with us…even if they are a little bit older and rounder.
Best Bit: Felix Char