Album review of Tenacious D’s ‘Rize of the Fenix’

By Bruce Sylvester

Tenacious D
Rize of the Fenix
Columbia
****

Jack Black sounds mighty sincere singing hymns in “Bernie” (his heartwarming new movie about murder), but then there’s his musical alter ego, Hollywood Jack, who’s one half (with Kyle Gass as Rage Kage) of satirical Tenacious D. “Rize Of The Fenix,” the duo’s first studio disc in six years, is stickered: “!Warning. Not for children (or religious people).”

Tenacious D Rize of the FenixNothing’s sacred — least of all ego-tripping, libidinous rock stars with grandiose delusions (“the heart of a champion”) and a future need for tattoo removal — in this mock rock opera that stretches over the years and careers. The term “indie cred” surfaces in self-righteousness, but fur flies when Jack and The Rage catch each other sneaking into the recording studio to experiment with instruments mainstream rockers might not consider cool. Jack, the alpha male, later goes solo and becomes a film star, while Rage Kage goes insane.

Compliments of Black’s flexible singing talents, the musical spoofs include metal, punkabilly and sci-fi rock. Is the pseudo-sensitive acoustic contemporary folk song modeled on the late John Stewart’s vocals? Don’t even try to tally the genres and musicians lampooned here. There’s one sympathetic song: “Roadie,” in the voice of the guy behind the scenes without whom the concert wouldn’t exist.

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