Red rover, red rover, send Tenacious D right over!

If the saying holds true that the best offense is a good defense, then Jack Black and Kyle “K.G.” Gass might have the most appropriately named band ever.

That is to say, Tenacious D, as a band, comes at listeners so hard–with a blitz of fantasy-laced prog-metal and male-o-drama (see the track, “Dude (I Totally Miss You)” for evidence of this phenomenon)–that it is almost impervious to criticism.

For those who don’t know, Tenacious D is kind of a joke?but, like, kind of not. As such, it’s nearly impossible to nitpick The D’s tuneage.

Black and Gass have created in Tenacious D a musical outfit that parodies itself continually, but does so in a very, very serious and studied way. JB and KG have no problem writing songs like “Greatest Song in the World” and “Explosivo” (which no reasonable person could take seriously–they are essentially about, well, the greatest song in the world and yet another of the greatest songs in the world, respectively) and standing by their progeny like a pair of proud parents at a soccer game.

And so the question always is: How, really, is one to talk about Tenacious D? This is the single not-real band that is legitimately, defensibly real.

JB and KG’s new record–soundtrack? comedy concept album?–is a fury of metal riffs, interlaced yowls and prog-rock anthems about?um?dragons and “cockles” and?um?a magical guitar pick of friendship?

See, The Pick of Destiny could never be mistaken for anything other than a Tenacious D record. And what can be said about that? Straight up, nobody else could get away with this stuff.

And yet Tenacious D does get away with it–with flying colors and seemingly little effort.

There is a kind of natural-bred humor and genuine musical talent (KG can freakin’ shred, no joke, and Black was blessed with a versatile voice and pitch-perfect ear) that underscores all the absurdity.

More so than on the band’s self-titled mock-record of a few years ago, The Pick of Destiny plays with and explores JB and KG’s legitimate talent. There are fewer skits here, markedly more songs and an attention to detail that was previously unseen in the work of The D.

And, yes, the tracks are still epic. In the band’s words, “If you say we cannot ride, we’ll tan your f***** hide!”

Listen to the opener “Kickapoo,” “POD” and the ominous “Beelzeboss (The Final Showdown)”–which has the quintessential Tenacious D line, “Wait, waaaaait, you motherf*****, we challenge you to a rock-off! Give us one chance to rock your socks off!”–for proof of The D’s rock-a-tude.

It’s there. It rocks. Deal with it–KG and JB most certainly have.

It is on this level that The Pick of Destiny is best understood: As the byproduct of two best friends sitting down to make the most ridiculous record they could imagine (to correspond with the most ridiculous movie they could imagine), and doing so in the most professional, high-quality fashion they could manage.

The theme of friendship has always been a staple of The D, but on Pick, the duo pumps it up a notch. This record essentially deifies the (sometimes conspicuously, periodically homoerotic) relationship between two outcast music fans-cum-legends. If there is a God on The Pick of Destiny (there is most certainly a Satan), then God is the bond of friendship.

Profound, huh? It’s sort of moving, really.

But then again, as with all things D, not really. At all.

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