Back when HBO was still into comedy, they put Jack Black and his friend Kyle Gass on TV, in a show that followed the exploits of a band called Tenacious D. After the short-lived series, they became famous for parodying rock n' roll culture in Tribute.
Now, after a feature film and album called “The Pick of Destiny”, the band opens a new chapter with “Rize of the Fenix”. The self-titled album opener shifts through too many movements, tempos and sounds, while detailing how the band intends to stage a comeback.
On this album, you can hear Black channelling a lot of rock's greatest including Ronnie James Dio, Neil Diamond, Bob Seger, Bruce Springsteen and Axl Rose. Even the music tips the hat to every era of rock from glam to psychedelic to good old rock n' roll.
They cover all grounds on the comedy stage from the straight up raunchy in Low Hangin Fruit to geek humour in Deth Starr. They glue it all together with two hilarious self-mocking skits about music abilities called Classical Teacher and Flutes and Trombones.
The short songs are more memorable than the longer ones because they grab a melody and stretch it out to just over a minute. Rock is Dead and To Be the Best are perfect examples. The Ballad of Hollywood Jack and The Rage Kage see them reach a new level of self-parody with a fictional tale wanting to draw from reality, which narrates the highs and lows of the duo's rockstardom.
Much of the album has a Foo Fighters vibe thanks to Dave Grohl returning to do record drums. It's a pity he doesn't reprise his trademark Satan; Tenacious D probably feel they have overdone it.
Granted, it is generic, but it's comedy rock n' roll with references and jokes that would get chuckles from any rock fan: Jack Black's mimicry, the filthiest jokes, and Kyle Gass being the straight man in the comedy while also strumming away to glory.
If nothing else, this album may sound like a lot of standard tunes, but the stories are the best part. 39 and Roadie help Tenacious D teach us what rock n' roll has always been about: the women, the road and, of course, the music.
Bottomline: Channelling a lot of rock's greatest
Rize of the Fenix; Tenacious D, Columbia/Sony Music International