Spinal Tap – The Majesty of Rock

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The legend that is ‘This is Spinal Tap‘ marks it’s 30th anniversary this year, and without doubt there won’t be a heavy metal fan in the land who won’t have come across that film, or the music that soundtracked it. It inspired a generation of rockers, be it in stadiums or in bedrooms, to defy the limits of their Marshall stacks or their tiny amps to turn it up to 11 every time they played. Nobody lampooned the excess and the controversy courted by the likes of Aerosmith, Def Leppard and the other big rock bands of the day quite like Messrs Shearer, Guest and McKean.

But as my brother pointed out recently, more people needed to hear this song. And see its video. I am no stranger to the ‘Tap, but I can never recall anyone mentioning ‘The Majesty of Rock’ in the same breath as ‘Big Bottom’, ‘Stonehenge’ or even ‘Lick My Love Pump’. Released in 1992, as thrash metal and heavy metal almost drowned under the wave of grunge that surged into public consciousness, ‘Break Like the Wind‘ would certainly be lapped up by fond fans of the film and of the band that superseded fiction. But it would never reach the heights of its successful predecessor, the soundtrack to the original movie. Not that chart success mattered – it’s creators, reprising their roles as David St Hubbins, Nigel Tufnel and Derek Smalls, had birthed a legend that would go on to outlast many of the acts it ridiculed, a joke that would seemingly never get old, being that classic rock and heavy metal has hardly changed since ‘Black Sabbath‘ was released, albeit with far fewer wildmen to emerge in recent years to play the stereotype.

Back on topic though, ‘The Majesty of Rock’ is such a supreme track that really feels at its best when combined with its accompanying video. Ridiculous outfits (Tufnel’s spiderweb spandex in particular is just incredible), digitally imposed images of the Queen bopping her head and legends of pop and rock likes Janis Joplin and Roy Orbison ‘jamming’ with the band, massive speaker stacks atop a cliff, a red hot solo, huge gurning mugshots and lines such as ‘The more it stays the same/the less it changes!‘, you’d have to be devoid of wit and humour to at least not raise a smile to this, and indeed you’ll only need to watch/listen to it once for it to dig a wormhole into your brain. It’s daft, over the top, and a glorious paean to rock’s very character, and its excessive quirks. So turn it up (to 11 of course), and do nothing for the next four minutes but rock out, dance like Tufnel and worship the true glory of this song.

Peter Clegg

Previous posts in our Underrated series can be found here

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Tenacious D – Rize of the Fenix

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Tenacious D
Rize of the Fenix
Columbia 

I wouldn’t want to give too much away about Tenacious D’s third album, ‘Rize of the Fenix’, because like with any comedy proposition, giving too much away spoils the surprise and indeed, loathe as I am to say it, the novelty. Still, while ‘The Pick of Destiny’ wasn’t a bad album, ‘Rize of the Fenix’ unashamedly blows it out of the water. It retains the classic brand of D’s humour and approach to rock, making it more grandiose, naturally funnier and wholeheartedly rockin’.

As ever with Jables and Kage, there’s a whole variety of the usual D trademark stuff, so there’s a couple of skits, which are thankfully very amusing, but importantly there’s more focus on the music itself. The longer tracks in particular are Tenacious D at their best. The opening title track tackles their box-office failure and even contemplates a world without the D, and Black’s vocal range is given full proverbial flight. Black’s vocals soar again on ‘The Roadie’, a grand tale about being (yes) a roadie, and ‘The Ballad of Hollywood Jack and the Rage Kage’. The album’s more frenetic moments aren’t too bad either, ‘Deth Starr’ in particular being fairly rifftastic. They haven’t lost any notion of being even a little crass, but overall, this is the most mature sounding Tenacious D album yet, both lyrically and musically. For a comedy rock album to be deemed a masterpiece might be stretching it far – but this is as accomplished as the D’s debut and indeed one of the most rocking experiences you’ll have all year. Grab a beer and crank this up. The D will live on! 

Peter Clegg

Tenacious D – Rize of the Fenix

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‘Remember Bane’ – ‘November Rain’ parodied, ‘The Dark Knight Rises’-style

All I can say is, whether or not you’re a Batman fan, or a Guns n’ Roses fan, and regardless of whether you’ve yet seen ‘The Dark Knight Rises’, this brilliant parody of GnR’s ‘November Rain’ tackles the perceived inaudibility of villain Bane’s speech in the new film, and muses on whether director Christopher Nolan could have chosen a villain a little more memorable. Whatever. Admittedly, I’m one of the very few left not to have seen Nolan’s take on Batman – hey, my time is taken up by so many things – and while it’s very much on my ‘to do’ list, it doesn’t prevent my enjoyment of this. Fantastic stuff, Overthinkingit.com!

(via MetalSucks)

Peter Clegg