TENACIOUS D – RIZE OF THE FENIX
Released 14th May 2012 (Columbia Records)
Words: Gaz Martinez
Rewind back to 2006, and Tenacious D have dropped their sophomore effort The Pick of Destiny to coincide with the release of their film of the same name. Unfortunately, the film bombed because it’s primary target audience was sat at home, doing a lot of drugs, so the D went into hibernation for six years. Now the icy reception of their motion picture has thawed and the D are back, flying on the wings of a phallic fenix. God knows I’ve been waiting for this.
This is the first time the D has released original material completely independent of any projects the duo is involved in. Their debut was made up of songs and skits from their HBO show, their second title was an accompanying soundtrack, so the pressure’s on for the D to stand out as a ‘credible’ musical force, with only their wits and guitars about them. JB is on top form vocally and lyrically, while KG’s fingers of silver combine to create some of the best music Tenacious D has ever produced. Even from the first track, Rize of the Fenix, which flexes tempos and progressions like a great musical bicep, through to the radio friendly unit shifter, They Fucked Our Asses, JB/KG demonstrate time and time again that they are musicians and comedians in equal measure. And most music that Dave Grohl lays down drums to tend to be amazing anyway.
They even have enough time to throw in a few skits here and there, Classical Teacher and Flutes and Trombones break the album up nicely and frankly, they are hilarious. That said the songs themselves are crammed with plenty of comedic value, Senorita for example. Throughout all these, the title track and The Ballad of Hollywood Jack and Rage Kage are great highlights, not only are they great songs unto themselves, but they are both tongue in cheek chronicles of what the two have been through, the latter is a softer, ballady take on things, and I’m a sucker for flute tracks.
The future used to look clouded and uncertain for Tenacious D but I think everybody knew in their hearts that a new album would happen at some point or another. I don’t think anybody would anticipate just how great it would be. Rize of the Fenix is by far their most accomplished work. The penultimate song To Be The Best states that they’ve got to be the best…correction, they already are.