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Rock - Released November 2, 2018 | Columbia

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It's best to remember this about Post-Apocalypto: it's not a proper Tenacious D album but rather a soundtrack to the group's animated Internet series. Jack Black first mused about an Internet series to Marc Maron way back in 2012, but it took six years to reach fruition, by which time Black and Kyle Gass were pushing their fifties and sixties, respectively -- an ideal time to make the leap from film to animation. Post-Apocalypto, which made its debut in September 2018, makes sense as an animated project but less so as an album. Running 21 tracks, most hovering around a minute long, Post-Apocalypto is a scattershot collection of sketches, jokes, and song fragments, all telling a story that is reliant on visuals. Some of this can work in isolation -- the band's loving mockery of classic rock retains potency; there are some throwaway laughs -- but this is the first Tenacious D record that plays as a comedy album, not a musical one. That would be fine, but the problem is that Post-Apocalypto often sounds like a recorded version of the audio portion of the animated series, which just raises the question: why listen to this when it's easier -- and funnier -- to watch the series? ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Pop/Rock - Released November 2, 2006 | Epic

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Pop/Rock - Released May 11, 2012 | Columbia

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It's no mystery why Tenacious D call their third album Rize of the Fenix. JB and KG suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune when they unleashed The Pick of Destiny in 2006, a feature film -- complete with an accompanying soundtrack -- that netted approximately no new fans and may even have cost them a few. Well aware of this bomb, it's imperative that the D fashion their third album -- arriving a long six years after Pick -- as a triumphant comeback, a Fenix rising from the ashes, if you will. And, for the most part, the D do succeed, the best moments of Rize of the Fenix easily flattening the bloat of The Pick of Destiny. If they happen to lose a bit of their sense of rampaging grandeur, they compensate with tightly constructed epics that impress by their lack of fat: the title-track suite gallops along with purpose, "To Be the Best" is a gleeful send-up of "The Power" (animated Transformers by way of Boogie Nights), "Roadie" is a heartfelt salute to its overlooked namesake, and country-rock closer "39" is an ode to an aging groupie. This is all, in the parlance of another of the album's highlights, "Low Hangin' Fruit." Tenacious D don't stray from their songs of rock & roll and songs of themselves, but considering the pit that they were in, they can't be faulted for being overly careful, even if that caution can make parts of the album -- namely the spoken skits, the staged blow-ups between Hollywood Jack and Rage Kage, and a few of the songs about rocking -- feel a little long in tooth. Nevertheless, Rize of the Fenix does amount to a rousing comeback for Tenacious D: they're back to their old tricks, oblivious to whether the world at large actually cares about their shenanigans. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Pop/Rock - Released September 25, 2001 | Epic

As anyone who witnessed their legendary shorts on HBO will attest, Tenacious D is indeed the greatest band on earth. Bad D is still better than the Beatles and good D is transcendent. Even so, Tenacious D's debut album will likely kick fans on their asses because the D is no longer just about JB and KG. They're even ready to be more than a power trio -- they're ready to be backed by a full band, complete with Dave Grohl on drums and the Dust Brothers behind the boards. After years of hearing them as an acoustic heavy metal duo, that's a real shock, but they've also overhauled their repertoire, reworking and retitling several songs and leaving many tunes behind. Most regrettably, there is no "History of Tenacious D," even if it is quoted in the liner notes, but there's also no "Rocketsauce," no "Kyle Took a Bullet for Me," no "Sasquatch," no "Cosmic Shame," no "Special Things," and no "Jesus Ranch." "You Broke the Rules" becomes "Karate," "Song of Exultant Joy" is "Kyle Quit the Band," "Sex Supreme" becomes "Double Team," "The Best Song in the World" becomes "Tribute," lacking many of the "Stairway to Heaven" allusions in this version, and so on and so forth (elements of their opening theme are incorporated into "Kielbasa," thankfully). Furthermore, the dynamic has shifted drastically because the group no longer sounds like maniacal misfits who've conquered the worlds in their own minds playing to an audience who just hasn't caught up yet. Here, they sound like victors who've had their delusions of grandeur come real (which is true when you think about it -- those shorts might not have done much on HBO, but videotapes passed through a lot of hands on the underground video railroad). This is a bigger change than you might think, and while the acoustic D sounds better, weirder, and purer, this still is a hell of a record, particularly because it rocks so damn hard. The worst thing about it are the sketches, which may be funny, but not nearly as funny as the plots that tied the shows together (nothing as funny as asides from the show, like "circle church," either) or the live routines; they tend to distract from the music. And the music is indeed what matters, since no matter how silly and gleefully profane this can be, Tenacious D rules because the music is terrific. The tunes have hooks, Kage and Jables harmonize well, and the cheerfully demented worldview is intoxicating, since their self-belief and self-referential world is delightfully absurd and warm (think about it -- the sex songs may be vulgar and may be about their prowess, but their prowess is about making those backstage Betties feel good). Sure, some listeners may chuckle because this all comes from two large, cute, 30-something slackers, but they're missing the inspirado behind this record -- Tenacious D certainly know they're funny, but that doesn't erase the fact that they rock so hard. They came to kick your ass and rock your socks off, and that is a very special thing. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Rock - Released January 15, 2016 | Columbia

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Pop/Rock - Released May 11, 2012 | Columbia

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Rock - Released November 26, 2012 | Columbia

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Rock - Released October 12, 2018 | Columbia

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Rock - Released October 5, 2018 | Columbia

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Rock - Released October 19, 2018 | Columbia

Rock - Released August 4, 2015 | Columbia

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Rock - Released November 14, 2006 | Epic

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Rock - Released October 19, 2018 | Columbia

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Rock - Released September 28, 2018 | Columbia

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Rock - Released October 26, 2018 | Columbia

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Rock - Released September 4, 2018 | Columbia