Rize Of The Fenix Review

artist: Tenacious D date: 05/15/2012 category: compact discs
Tenacious D: Rize Of The Fenix
Released: May 15, 2012
Genre: Comedy Rock, Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, Acoustic Rock
Label: Columbia
Number Of Tracks: 13
"Rize Of The Fenix" is the third studio album by comedy/rock duo Tenacious D, but what we're all thinking is that the album cover looks like a penis.
 Sound: 8.2
 Lyrics: 7.3
 Overall Impression: 8
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
 Users rating:
reviews (6) 43 comments vote for this album:
overall: 8
Rize Of The Fenix Featured review by: UG Team, on may 15, 2012
9 of 10 people found this review helpful

Sound: I had always thought that Tenacious D was born as an extravagance of Jack Black as a celebrity though I greatly enjoyed the band and only recently discovered that Tenacious D was active before Jack Black's acting career took off. Jack Black and Kyle Gass met in 1989 and formed Tenacious D in 1994. They completed a demo in 1997 and soon after had a short-lived TV series on HBO. At this time they began to make some cameo appearances in music videos for other artists. In 2001, Tenacious D released their self-titled debut album and released "The Pick Of Destiny" in 2006 as the soundtrack to their film of the same name. "The Pick Of Destiny" was commercially a flop. While the initial income from the movie and album were sub-par, over time they are still being bought in DVD, CD and MP3 formats by a cult following of fans. The release of "Rize Of The Fenix", which is their third album, continues to have Dave Grohl playing drums the same as their previous albums.

Work for "Rize Of The Fenix" began in 2010, and after a lot of bumps in the road we finally are getting the finished product. Initially Kyle Gass was opposed to releasing another album as he wanted to go out on what he considered the current high note of their career, but the album materialized regardless. While the self-titled Tenacious D album was considered a more straight forward "mock rock" album, and "The Pick Of Destiny" was considered a soundtrack, "Rize Of The Fenix" comes across somewhere in between. There are still skits and a loose rock opera style storyline to the album, but the songs aren't so tightly connected to a storyline that they can't survive individually. While Jack, Kyle and David Grohl recorded on the album there were other musicians in the studio for various parts of the album. Listening to the album without paying attention to the lyrics it comes across as a very straight forward rock album with a lot of punch and reminiscent of the heavy rock of yesteryears. // 8

Lyrics: Jack Black's vocals are unmistakable opera-like and very theatrical. If Jack Black's vocals could be compared to anyone it would be Dio though Jack definitely has his own character in his voice. It is very fitting for their style of classic hard rock comedy aside. Jack seems to have 3 modes of vocals clear soaring operatic vocals, gritty blues vocals and spoken word. All three are spot on and serve the music well.

There are two skits on the album, "Classical Teacher" and "Flutes & Trombones". "Classical Teacher" is about Jack hiring a "classical guitar teacher" to give Kyle lessons so they can raise their game and the lessons take a weird turn fast. "Flutes & Trombones" is about Jack coming to the studio in the middle of the night only to discover Kyle laying down flute tracks in the studio. After berating Kyle, Jack is called out for coming to the studio with a trombone to secretly record himself. The situation quickly turns to a brawl with the requisite flute and trombone sounds.

The lyrics are mostly hilarious on the rest of the album. On the track "The Ballad Of Hollywood Jack And Rage Kage" begins: "This is the ballad of Hollywood Jack and the Rage Kage/ nothing could stop them when Jables and Rage hit the stage/ and Hollywood Jack hit the big time and went to make movies/ Rage Kage was left far behind in the dust of his dreams/ and he grumbled and growled and watched Hollywood Jack on Jay Leno/ he bellowed and said he would be nothing without help from Kage/ he burnt up the photos of Jables and Kage doing mushrooms/ f*ck him I don't need no Hollywood Jack anyway/ so Hollywood Jack lived up high on a hill in a bubble/ and Rage Kage lived deep in the broiling valley below/ yes the Rage Kage bubbled with rage/ he looked at the ground and he looked on the stage/ the lava was flowing and broiling inside the old Kage/ as Hollywood Jack climbed the ladder of stardom before him/ he watched as his indie credentials flew right out the door/ he'd make millions then he'd go out and make even more millions/ he'd screen Kage's calls and snort coke off the a-s of a whore". // 7

Overall Impression: If I started naming my favorite songs on the album, it is more than half of the album. The ones I don't especially care for are "Low Hangin Fruit" and "39". Sometimes the humor gets too vulgar for me to listen to other than with earbuds and that is really the biggest negative of the whole album. From beginning to end the album is entertaining with a few really high points. There are a few low points but they aren't very low. The one song I haven't been able to make my mind up about is the song "Senorita". The music is very Spanish with the lyrics about going to jump a guy at a bar who beat up a senorita, which turns into a convoluted adventure with the senorita going back and getting back together with her abuser who it seems from the lyrics is named Larry.

The thing about Tenacious D is that while some of their lyrics are cheesy and none of their songs are completely serious lyrically, they are still solid songs. Everyone wants to discount them because they get categorized as comedy. I think it is like fresh air it is a rock band that doesn't take themselves too seriously, they just love to make music and that is what they do. The standout tracks from the album would have to be "Deth Starr" and the title track "Rize Of The Fenix" (which from what I've read is supposed to be Tenacious D's version of "Eye Of The Tiger"). Bottom line, the album is better than "The Pick Of Destiny" and at least as good as their self-titled debut. It is worth checking out, and I hope they continue to make music in the future. // 9

- Brandon East (c) 2012

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overall: 8.3
Rize Of The Fenix Reviewed by: reecyboy9, on may 18, 2012
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Sound: The D are back! Jables and Kage have returned to their old acoustic driven sound from their debut album, whilst retaining their power from "The Pick Of Destiny". The noticeable change in this album is that it is more a rock album than a comedy album, but don't get me wrong it's still a pisser!! Kage is a seriously talented guitarist and it would be great to see his skills on full display, but he does a great job in being the musical genius in "Fenix". This album doesn't quite live up to the heights of their debut (nothing will ever top Tribute), but is a great fix for any D fan // 8

Lyrics: Jables, like Kage is seriously underrated and would fit right into any rock band of the 80's/90's. Where Kage brings the rock side of the album with his riffs, Jables does so with a hilarious undertone that reaffirms any doubts that the D are back with a vengeance. Some songs make Jables the shining light on this album for me. But undoubtedly, the D wouldn't be nearly as good without the silver fingers of Kage. // 9

Overall Impression: 01. "Rize Of The Fenix": First single, one of the highlights of the album. Long epic which combines groove, aggressiveness and melody superbly. 02. "Low Hanging Fruit": At first listen it seemed like a straight rock song until I listened carefully to the lyrics. A decent song about sex. 03. "Classical Teacher": A return to the spoken word skits of the self titled album. Again doesn't live up to "Inward Singing" or "Drive Thru" but a good laugh all the same. 04. "Senorita": Delivers just what the title promises, Spanish sounding riffs and vocals with a good rock groove. Something different and it works. 05. "Deth Starr": Sounds like a Star Wars tribute, but the lyrics delve deeper into the humor and its a surprisingly funny track. Good rock song too once it gets into it. Slow start and end kills it. 06. "Roadie": Personal Favorite! Love the song and the video is a great laugh! Musically beautiful and hard hitting and funny to boot. Jables vocals win it for me. 07. "Flutes And Trombones": Second and final skit on the album, in my opinion the funnier of the two, Jables steals the show but without Kyle it wouldn't work. 08. "The Ballad Of Hollywood Jack And The Rage Kage": This is where Jables shines, displays the full range of his vocals through emotion and humor. Part 2 of the chronicles of the pair's hiatus after "Fenix" and as promised, a top ballad. 09. "Throwdown": Another favorite on the album, won't see much of it live but the stomping rhythm will make it a fan favorite among the rock lovers. Love the electric guitar riff coming in at 2:04. 10. "Rock Is Dead": Doesn't work for me, sounds rushed and not thought out, the solo is a facemelter but not quite enough to save it. 11. "They F--ked Our A-ses": I agree with the general consensus that had this song been a normal length it could've been a killer. Still what you get is still lethal. 12. "To Be The Best": Accompanied by a cracker of a video, and is another I wish had been longer. But I love the 1:00 of "To Be The Best" due to Jables stunning vocals again. 13. "39": Another that doesn't quite do it for me, maybe not heavy/loud enough but it is an acoustic song by an acoustic band I guess. Will admit some lines will leave you in hysterics. 14. "Quantum Leap" (Bonus Track): Cool Groovy Riff that needs the backing band's support to make it a hit. Lyrics are pretty cool song, could have easily been added to the album. 15. "Rivers Of Brown" (Bonus Track): Worst of the lot I reckon, but will still do enough for some. Can see why it is a bonus track. Overall a D album through and through and it will leave many hoping (me included) that we don't have another 6 years before the D "rize" again! // 8

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overall: 6
Rize Of The Fenix Reviewed by: unregistered, on may 17, 2012
1 of 7 people found this review helpful

Sound: The sound of the album is nicely balanced and you can hear all instruments clearly and Crisp, which is a problem with some of today's music, the album is only 41 minutes long but baring in mind this is Tenacious D this seems a reasonable Length for them. The first track "Rize Of The Fenix" is a taste of what Tenacious D would sound like if they did a slightly progressive album. // 7

Lyrics: The lyrics are not as striking or instantly amusing as their previous albums, they seem to have settled for rowdy'er lyrics to some songs rather than straight up humor. There's only 2 tracks with Jack and Kyle "clownin" around and even they sound over acted and too polished!. Jack Black uses different vocal techniques in this album but for what reason is unknown,unlike the two previous albums you come away from this album feeling like there's no story or meaning at the end unlike the pick of Destiny's "The Metal". // 5

Overall Impression: Compared to their previous 2 albums this is the "unfunniest" and Weakest album they have released to this date, I am going to see them live soon and hope they play very little from this album. My favorite songs from this album that did assume me are: "They F--ked Our Asses", "To Be The Best", "The Ballad Of Hollywood Jack". This album is best played on random. // 6

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overall: 8
Rize Of The Fenix Reviewed by: HardAttack, on may 21, 2012
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: Tenacious D was a band I discovered in my early days of high school via a friend. He was telling me how hilarious it was, and that he needed to make me a copy of the album. I took a listen to a couple of skits, then a couple of songs. It had me interested to the point where I decided to go home and research them, eventually leading to me getting their HBO shows on DVD. A great purchase, I might add. The thing that made Tenacious D a stand out band for me was the fact that the music writing on their first album was on par with or in some cases surpassing the comedy of the lyrics. I had head other comedy artists before like Richard Cheese and Weird Al, but Tenacious D was something different. Fast forward several years later, Tenacious D had released a movie and a 2nd album to accompany it, both of which were met with "meh" reviews, which saddened me, and made me doubtful of what would become of both Jack & Kyle's careers, not to mention the passing comments from Kyle & Jack of their uncertainty of the bands future. And now, here we are: Jack & Kyle have prevailed and returned with a third album. It appears to me as though the article UG had on them recently saying that rock & roll needed a shot in the arm and that they wish to draw inspiration and hopefully be better than bands like The Foo Fighters were very truthful. This album has all the old hallmarks of their first album, while incorporating a lot more than just the two guitars and some drums every now and then. This is a full on rock album. It manages to imitate other artist styles while still keeping the songs their own, and giving you some material to laugh at if you're listening closely. The couple of skits are there, but there's a lot more pure music coming out of these two than ever before, and some of Kyle's writing here really brings me back. // 9

Lyrics: Jack is actually a great singer, and manages to pay tribute to a few classic rock artists by almost mimicking them spot-on in a few songs, but also throwing in his traditional "scat" here and there which is good for a laugh but is also a decent replacement for a guitar solo on occasion. Kyle provides backing vocals that were just as clear as they were years ago on their HBO episodes and first album. I also admire them for coming out swinging on their first track which addresses the fans and critics disappointment with their previous effort, "The Pick Of Destiny". The lyrics are mostly good but I'm a little unsettled with a few verses, and I can agree with a part of the UG review of this album; that some of it is distastefully vulgar. It's like a Sacha Baron Cohen movie. Sometimes his shock value and vulgarity will bring you to tears laughing, other times it's just too much and isn't funny anymore. The same can be said for a couple of spots here on "Rise Of The Fenix". All in all though, the album is pretty well written, especially for a comedy album. // 7

Overall Impression: As said earlier, I find this comparable, if not better, to their first album in terms of musical skill, slightly less so in comedy, but they hold their own here, and they definitely borrow a lot of style from other artists, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. My favorite tracks on here (contrary to what the UG reviewer said) are actually going to be "Low Hangin' Fruit" which inspired me to pick up my acoustic guitar and learn the main riff really quick because I found it catchy after a couple of listens, "39" and "Quantum Leap", although most of the other songs on here are very good too. Those three just really stick with me after the 4 or 5 listens I've given the album so far. I'm sure I'll get hooked on a couple of other tracks as soon as I give this a few spins in my car on the rides to work and back. I'd buy the album again if it was taken, as I feel Jack & Kyle still need and appreciate the support from their fans. And I sincerely hope they keep making new material. It hasn't got old yet, and I don't think it will for a while. // 8

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overall: 8
Rize Of The Fenix Reviewed by: aaronmcm99, on june 12, 2012
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: Tenacious D... Um well... Look at the album cover, yup, that's done deliberately to those who thought it was an accident, so yeah, sound wise its hardly original, and it doesn't have a big story to its songs like the pick of destiny, but it sounds nice either way, with Kyle doing a good job on guitar, and Dave Grohl's once again lending his drum skills, it sounds really good when it alls comes together. // 8

Lyrics: The lyrics are to be honest vulgar - to put it lightly - but its pretty funny to listen to, and makes for some good original songs. Unfortunately it doesn't take much effort, and most songs seem lazily made as a result, but still, Jack Black has such an iconic voice - and a good one at that - and he brings the song to life and makes them great. // 8

Overall Impression: Overall it's an good album, with a few niggles holding it back, repetitive songs / lyrics, unoriginal sound, slightly holding off the coattails of the "Pick Of Destiny" as a sound goes, the album has some funny songs, but as a complete album, its somewhat lacking, but still remains as good as they ever were. // 8

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overall: 8.7
Rize Of The Fenix Reviewed by: vidorando, on july 19, 2012
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: I just love this new Tenacious D album. It is everything I hoped for it to be. I listened to it for more then a month now so, it really grew on me. I think all the songs are really good, except for two bonus tracks that doesn't really count that much to me. I really enjoy the drumms in "Death Starr" and "Rize Of The Fenix", pervertedness in "Low Hangin Fruit" and "39". // 9

Lyrics: Lyrically you will recognize that it goes for Tenacious D anytime, anywhere. Lyrics beat even their first album. Goofing really got better. My favourite lyrics are found in song "The Ballad Of Holywood Jack" and the "Rage Kage". I'm giving it 8, because its near 9, and 9 is near perfect (LOL). // 8

Overall Impression: I am overall impressed and satisfied with this album. It just shows the musical growth of Tenacious D. They are on a good role, lets just hope that Rock NEVER DIES! // 9

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