This could be - and I'm still mulling this over as of yet - Tenacious D's best album to date. For me, it doesn't have the same addictive, "short but sweet" vibe as P.O.D, but it's certainly the strongest thing they've done. It branches out, it experiments, and each track has something new to add to the table. Don't worry though, it still has many traits of the classic D. It has that effortless, smooth rhythm that defines their sound.
1) Rize of the Fenix - A great opening song. Slow melodic start, and then the speed picks up and...The D is back! There's nothing amazingly different about it but it sure as hell reminds you just why you love the band. Reminds me of "City Hall", and that's certainly not a bad thing!
2) Low Hanging Fruit - This one is interesting. It's unusually fast for this band. It expands their talents and manages to be very addictive too. What's more, it has that balance of soft acoustic and distorted electric guitar which melds together for great effect.
3) Classical Teacher - The first skit of the album. You'll have to make up your own mind about this...humour is subjective. What the hell am I saying, you're a D fan! Funny stuff!
4) Senorita - Another new sound. I've just been reminded why I love Kyle's guitar-playing. At this point we're seeing some serious variety. The explosive ending is classic Tenacious D.
5) Deth Starr - Nice relaxing opening, then BANG! Addictive, fast-paced riffs and smooth flowing vocals from Mr Jack Black. You'll be singing along with this one, I guarantee.
6) Roadie - This one seems to be getting a lot of praise, but it doesn't do much for me. Objectively, I can see that it's a good song, but for me, there's nothing captivating about it. I've listened to it many times to get the hang of it, and I don't feel any reason to go back to it. But give it a shot. Music is subjective, just like humour.
7) Flutes and Trombones - Another skit. I know reviews are meant to be pretty formal, but I think a LOL is appropriate here.
8) The Ballad of Hollywood Jack and the Rage Kage - This is my second favourite on the entire album. I love the melody, and despite the humorous tone of Jack's voice it's quite a moving song.
9) Throw Down - My favourite! This is possibly D's most addictive song to date in my opinion. They've really captured something here. Again, a very different vibe and rhythm. But I must have listened to it about 15 times already.
10) Rock is Dead - Fast and comedic. This is one to headbang to from start to finish. Stick it on repeat.
11) This is one of those short-but sweet tracks, in the same vain as something like "History". If that's an aspect of the D that you like, then you're in for a treat, but personally, this song feels like it was given up on just when it got going. A treat for some, a miss for others.
12) To Be the Best - Same story here.
13) 39 - A slow, melodic and comedic ending to what I think could be the best D album to date. Jack's voice is experimental here. It shows a different approach in terms of vocal style, and I'm liking it. This one brings the tone down and leaves you quite fulfilled. "Rize of the Fenix" goes full circle.
All in all, I'm pretty satisfied with "Rize of the Fenix". It's enjoyable on many levels, and is superior to its predecessors in many ways. Each album holds something unique, and this one has something new. It's a lot closer in sound to the debut, but it cherry-picks some of the finer elements of P.O.D, and makes them work together. Meanwhile, in bursts the next generation of the D!
Highly recommended! It's melodic, smooth, and versatile. Pretty damn funny too.