Before They Were Cool – Rize of the Fenix

 

Band: Tenacious D
Album: Rize of the Fenix
Label: Columbia Records
Released: May 11, 2012
Genre: Mock Rock

The “D” are back. Jables and Rage Kage return to the music scene, rising from the ashes of their last album “Tenacious D and the Pick of Destiny” with their newest release “Rize of the Fenix.” If you don’t know who I am referring to its comedian Jack Black alongside band mate Kyle Gass and their mock rock musical assault of power slides and cock push-ups. Yes, you read that right – cock push-ups. Tenacious D takes Jack Black’s blend of zany crotch humour and turns it into a grand, albeit vulgar display of musical comedy. With one look at the album artwork you know very well that they are staying true to the very same humour you have heard out of the rest of their releases.

Yea that’s a dick.

Without a doubt “Rize of the Fenix” is a true Tenacious D album. It has every element that makes Tenacious D who they are. Whether it is Jack Black’s absolutely ridiculous vocal styling’s, the comedic lyrics, or Kyle Gass and his standard but powerful acoustic rock sound, everything you come to expect from their music is present on this album. Even Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters) makes a return to lay out some brilliant drum work. This entire album definitely fits nicely in their discography and does not stray too far from the path of their musical work. They try a few nifty things here and there, namely the Spanish themed “Senorita” but overall they stick to the true D sound.

That being said after listening to this album a few times through there isn’t really any song that truly drew me in. I have listened to this album front to back maybe five or six times and not one song has stuck in my head. That was one thing I always LOVED about Tenacious D; their ability to get me singing along with their songs and knowing damn near all the lyrics. I have not been able to do that with this album at all. However, this does not mean that the album is not strong musically. I mean it’s no mind blowing eargasmic piece of musical brilliance, but it’s still a very solid album – it just felt disappointing to me.

One of the biggest disappointments on the album was “They Fucked our Asses.” The build-up on that song was perfect. Jack Black’s vocals were great and the Judas Priest-esque riff right at the end got me so pumped. Then out of nowhere – song’s over. What? WHAT! AWE C’MON! That song had so much potential and then it just stopped leaving me with a serious case of blue balls.

Apart from all that negativity though, the music was very well mixed and sounded great throughout. From the start of the album “Rize of the Fenix” comes in with a great opening song. Starting off with a catchy acoustic, to some more layered chugging on the guitar slowly building up, with Jacks driving vocals layered on top very nicely. Then ~1:33 the song song kicks in full force with tremolo picking wicked drum rolls. Along with excellent music, this song lyrically mocks the band’s last album and its failure amongst critics and even questions their future. All setting this album up like a phoenix rising from the ashes just as the title suggests.

The comedic skits between the songs are another standard Tenacious D trick and they do add another moment of hilarity apart from the music. They certainly deliver nicely on this album and they aren’t overused, which is always a plus. However, the hidden gem on this album is “The Ballad of Hollywood Jack and the Rage Kage” which is great on all levels including musically, and the comedy is fantastic. Plus Kyle’s flute interlude is the cherry on top.

Honestly, this album isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but there are bits that many people can take from it and enjoy. The great rock feel of the album is great to draw some listeners in and for others it’s the comedy. If you like Jack Black and classic rock well this album is the perfect choice. However, if you do not enjoy raunchy humour I would suggest avoiding this album even though I would personally tell you that you’re missing out.

Overall: 7/10

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