Review: Tenacious D, Rize Of The Fenix

Six years on from The Pick Of Destiny (POD), the sound track to the film of (roughly) the same name – which was pretty awful, especially when compared to the band’s self-titled, debut, Tenacious D are back with Rize Of The Fenix.

In fact they reference the failure of POD in the first verse of the opening song, which is a six-minute epic stating their intent to rise from the ashes that buried them after the failure of  the film/album. The song includes elements of progressive rock, metal and blues and is arranged in a really complex way. This attention to detail is what makes Tenacious D such a good band; Though the lyrics might be foul-mouthed and childish, the music is put together with complex chord progressions and timings. They are more than a novelty comedy rock band. And opening with such a song really makes you think they’re back to their previous good form.

The album from here on in meanders from the suggestive Low Hangin’ Fruit to the crassness of They Fucked Our Asses segue-ing into the electro-rock pomp of To Be The Best. Although the best work on this album are the ballads, such as their tribute to roadies everywhere – Roadie – and The Ballad Of Hollywood Jack And The Rage Kage, the song that sounds like an apology from Jack Black to his band mate Kyle Gass for putting the band on the back burner while he went off to make movies.

The thing that really stands out on this album is the song writing, whereas POD was a companion piece to the movie (with songs that felt more like narrative devices which made no sense without the visuals), this is a solid body of work with polished songs that show depth as well as humour. Even the weaker songs will have you tapping your foot. This is a return to form while also being a step forward for a band that looked like they were a one trick pony. Although there is nothing that will challenge the success of Tribute on show here, Rize Of The Fenix is the strongest Tenacious D album yet.


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