Long before Jack Black was a multiplex mega-star he was a rocker -- or at least a rocker wannabe -- and one half of Tenacious D. He and his partner in crime Kyle Gass have picked up their axes and mics for the first time since their 2001 self-titled release for a reprise of their heavy metal tribute/parody act and the hilarious film and soundtrack album, The Pick of Destiny.
The pair walk the fine line between mocking and adoring hard rock. The funny thing about Tenacious D (much like Spinal Tap) is they sound like the real thing and yet, listen close and you will hear their tongues are planted firmly in their cheeks. Yes, the lyrics for the most part are ninety-nine percent comic but the music really stands up to the metal/prog-rock form, which actually makes Gass and Black the heavy metal geniuses they're so fond of reminding us that they are!
"Classico" riffs on Pachelbel's "Canon," among other greats of classical tuneage, though the lyrical portion is mostly unsuitable for play here. "Baby" is a ballad sung from the perspective of a little itty bitty one (what till you hear Black "cry").
"History" is the backstory on Tenacious D, "a chronicling of our rise to power," set to a acoustic prog-rock melody. "The Government Totally Sucks" is an octave-scaling protest song. "Master Exploder" is up and down the heavy metal screech-o-meter as well.
"Papagenu (He's my Sassafrass)" is an epic journey through the life of the son of Bigfoot(!). "Dude (I Totally Miss You)" is a love song from dude to dude, sung in an over-amped wailing, ballad-style.
"Break In-City (Storm the Gate!) has Judas Priest-like, forceful energy. "Car Chase City" is even more fuel-injected as it shares the kind of manic pacing and beats made famous by Sweet's "Ballroom Blitz."
For "Beelzeboss (The Final Showdown)," Tenacious D take on the evil one in a rock-off (the role of the devil is played by Foo Fighter Dave Grohl who drums throughout as well). It's neck and neck but you'll have to wait to find out whether TD beats the devil. Ok, so it's no secret: he who possesses the "Pick of Destiny" ultimately prevails and naturally, that is Tenacious D, upholders of "The Metal" (a concept which is well outlined in the album's final shreddin' song).
If you love humor, if you love metal and if you love rock, you'll love the D. So what are you waiting for? It's time to reach for The Pick of Destiny.
By Daisy Duarte