"The Rize of the Fenix" (Columbia; 2012)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

It's been six years since Tenacious D released a new studio album, and the last time out was for the soundtrack of the ill-received (but very funny, in my book) Tenacious D film, "The Pick of Destiny."

Well, as the duo of Jack Black and Kyle Gass will tell you in the opening (and title) track of their new CD, "The Pick of Destiny" bombed and it was almost the end of Tenacious D. But, like the legendary phoenix, the D has risen again!

"Rize of the Fenix" is another collection of awesome tunes from Tenacious D. Songs that will make you laugh out loud while at the same time leave you marveling at the incredible musicianship and songwriting talent captured herein. Song titles like "Deth Starr" and the subtly entitled "They Fucked Our Asses" let you know that the D is still going for the funny bone, but the complex (and often very speedy) acoustic fretwork of Kyle Gass will leave you breathless. Many guest musicians enhance the mix throughout.

Jack Black's vocal style is as strong as ever here and, for my money, he has never been better than on "Rize of the Fenix." Sure, Jack's had a couple of misses at the box office recently (anybody see "Gulliver's Travels" out there? I didn't think so), but his passion and dedication for Tenacious D is apparent as ever. Just listen to track number 8, "The Ballad of Hollywood Jack and the Rage Kage" to discover the whole story.

There are a couple of very funny, spoken word skits included here and, of course, the lyrics are as profane as they are funny, but "The Rize of the Fenix" is ample evidence that this duo is far from over.

I just hope this review doesn't tarnish their indie cred.

Tenacious D is: Jack Black - lead vocals, guitar; Kyle Gass - lead acoustic guitar, vocals. Also performing on the CD are John Konesky (electric guitar); John Spiker (bass); Dave Grohl (drums);

For more info, check out http://www.tenaciousd.com

"The Pick of Destiny" (Epic; 2006)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

 "The Pick of Destiny," of course, is both the title of the eagerly anticipated Tenacious D movie, as well as the title of the soundtrack to the film. What a coincidence! 

Like the previous, self-titled Tenacious D CD, "The Pick of Destiny" is loaded with the acoustic metal of Jack Black and Kyle Gass, hysterical lyrics and some truly amazing songwriting. It's almost a novelty album but is far too accomplished and well-written to be considered just that.

The album starts of with a kick ... well, a "Kickapoo," to be exact. If you've seen the first six minutes of the film (widely available over the Internet), you'll know this track. It begins with Jack Black singing about his life as a child, and then cross-fades into Meat Loaf, singing a tune as Jack's father. After a brief interlude with Black again, legendary metal vocalist Ronnie James Dio takes over, setting up the film's story with a short song of his own. You really have to see the film clip to get a true feel for this piece but it works nearly as well on its own.

The remainder of the CD is classic D, with outrageous rockers ("The Government Totally Sucks"), hyper-sensitive ballads ("Baby"), and songs written directly for film segments ("Car Chase City" and "Break In City (Storm the Gate!)"). All of it is stunningly well-written, often hysterically funny and performed with almost manic charisma.

If there's any downside to "The Pick of Destiny," it's that it's too damn short. Unlike the previous Tenacious D album, with a running time of over 50 minutes, "The Pick of Destiny" runs only 34 minutes. That's not enough D! Hopefully, however, we won't have to wait another five years before we get some new music from this great duo.

Tenacious D: Jack Black - vocals and acoustic guitars; Kyle Gass - vocals and acoustic guitars. Also appearing on "The Pick of Destiny" are Dave Grohl - drums, demon vocals; Ronnie James Dio - vocals; Meat Loaf - vocals; John Spiker - bass, background vocals; John Konesky - electric guitar; Liam Lynch - guitar; John King - drum programming. 

For more info, check out http://www.tenaciousd.com

"Tenacious D" (Epic; 2001)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Tenacious D consists of actor/musician Jack Black (yes, that Jack Black) and Kyle Gass. With this, their Epic Records debut, Tenacious D has created a true original. A CD that is as hysterically funny as it is musically superior.  Armed with guitars, razor sharp wit, a liberal dose of profanity, and undeniable strong songwriting skills, "Tenacious D" is unlike anything you've heard before. You're gonna love the music and you're gonna laugh your ass off at the same time.

Playing with a fiery bravado that gives the music an undeniable power and that makes each song even funnier, Tenacious D are a little like Spinal Tap but not. First, they're a real band (at least compared to Spinal Tap). Second, their musical talent is stunning. Not only do these guys wail on the guitars, but their vocals are impressive as hell, too.

It's impossible to pick the best songs on the CD, but "Dio" is a highlight (in which Tenacious D tell the Holy Diver it's time he pack up so they can take over) as is the delicate love balled "Fuck Her Gently." It's also great the way the band will segue from a comedic interlude in which Kyle quits the band into a song called (are you ready for this?) "Kyle Quits the Band."

There's lots more. The CD clocks in at over 50 minutes. Do yourself a favor and pick up Tenacious D as quickly as you can.

Tenacious D is: Jack Black - lead vocals, guitar; Kyle Gass - lead acoustic guitar, vocals. Also performing on the CD are Dave Grohl, drums, guitar; Steve McDonald - bass; Warren Fitzgerald - lead electric guitar; Page McConnell - keyboards; Alfredo Ortiz - percussion; Woody Jackson - sitar; Andrew Gross - strings; Ken Andrews - guitar; John King - echoplex.

For more info, check out http://www.tenaciousd.com

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.


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Copyright 2012 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 28 Aug 2022 14:16:30 -0400 .