Review : Tenacious D - Rize of the Fenix
Rolling StoneThe first full-length album in six years from Jack Black and Kyle Gass' comedy-cock-rock duo is chock-full of swaggering pomposity. But too many of its gags sound like they've been festering since the Pick of Destiny days; perhaps all the dick jokes here are meant to distract you from the mold growing on some of the other gags. "Rock Is Dead" is a rollicking caricature of dudes who won’t stop lionizing the past, but the gloppy stagehand rant "Roadie," the noxious ode to a middle-aged woman "39" and the barely parodic "Throw Down" are so bombastic you wonder if Black and Gass have finally turned into the overblown wanksters they parody.
LA TimesHumility must be a new feeling for Tenacious D. The schlock-rock comedy duo became actual arena stars with its 2001 debut, an adoring send-up of yesteryear’s codpiece-rock titans cemented by actual drumming from Dave Grohl. The duo then hit an ironically true-to-form second-album slump with 2006’s “The Pick of Destiny” and an accompanying film flop. But Jack Black and Kyle Gass licked their wounds for “Rize of the Fenix,” and made an even deeper meta-joke of an album: They’re parodying the idea of the comeback record, while earnestly hoping it works.
In the time since their debut, music fans under age 25 have essentially stopped caring about big-budget rock music, a truth the D addresses pretty forthrightly on “Rock Is Dead.” Much like Black’s sagging teacher in “School of Rock,” this album lives its joke about redemption and returns to past glory. “To Be the Best” tweaks inspirational ’80s-movie-montages with era-perfect roto-toms, and “The Ballad of Hollywood Jack and the Rage Kage” flays classic tales of band infighting and reunions....full text
Av ClubIf 2006’s Tenacious D In The Pick Of Destiny hadn’t bombed at the box office, Jack Black and Kyle Gass would’ve had to invent some other setback to rise (or rize) from on the new Rize Of The Fenix. Black acknowledges the failure of Destiny right in the album’s opening line, as well as the not-all-that-exaggerated assumption that the movie finished off Tenacious D for good. But rather than dwell on Jack and Rage Kage’s bad fortune, Rize posits The Pick Of The Destiny as motivation for Tenacious D to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that it is still the best rock ’n’ roll band on the planet—or any other planet for that matter. Only crushing failure can motivate that level of blinding hubris, and it puts Tenacious D on a furious quest that brings out its best on Rize....full text
Paste MagazineEven for a band that pasted together its own myth, The Rize of the Fenix is surprisingly self-referential, peaking in that regard with another classic, “The Ballad of Hollywood Jack and the Rage Kage,” which hilariously chronicles the band’s rize and fall (with, perhaps, a couple dramatic embellishments). KG is painted a disgruntled, disillusioned, washed-up former rocker, bitter and jealous of JB’s film success (“He grumbled and growled and watched Hollywood Jack on Jay Leno”); meanwhile, JB faces the same plight, for the exact opposite reasons—losing his indie cred, losing touch with himself, despite his monetary and empty sexual conquests (“He’d screen KG’s calls and snort coke off the ass of a whore”). If it weren’t for the profanity, the amplified absurdity, the embracing of cliched rock stereotypes (The instrumental break features Gass on an expertly-handled Renaissance Faire recorder), “Hollywood Jack and Rage Kage” could be taken at face-value as a legitimate betrayal-redemption story—and in spite of all that (and in some ways because of it), it is anyway....full text
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