Tenacious D playing House of Blues


Headbangers often get knocked for being overserious and uptight.

Frankly, we blame Yngwie Malmsteen.

In reality, though, few genres of music have a better developed sense of humor than metal.

This scene has a long history of making light of itself, poking fun at its conceits and having a good laugh at its own expense.

On Saturday, kick-ass comedy rock duo Tenacious D will demonstrate as much, bringing the acoustic thunder and playing tunes from their new disc "Rize of the Fenix," an album that registers like Thor's hammer to the babymaker.

In honor of the D's return to Vegas, let's count down the top 10 funniest metal songs of all time:

10. Municipal Waste, "Beer Pressure": Municipal Waste's Budweiser basted catalog has served as the laugh track to the crossover thrash revival of the past decade. Any number of their drunk and disorderly jams are worthy of mention here, but this one both distills the band's party-till-you-puke-then-party-till-you-puke-some-more ethos and boasts a telling intro skit, where a couple of dudes try to convince their bro to come out and get ripped with them. "Sorry, guys, I got an orthodontist appointment at 8:30 in the morning," the stick-in-the-mud says. "Don't worry about your ears, man," comes the retort. "You know you want to get wasted."

Yup.

9. Tool, "Die Eir Von Satan": Delivered in German, this ominous industrial death march is meant to sound like a Nazi rally but in reality, is the recitation of a hash cookie recipe. As such, it's an apt encapsulation of Tool's pitch-black sense of humor, which is as dark as a mineshaft and equally indebted to the absurdist surrealism of Monty Python and the bayonet-sharp social commentary of Bill Hicks.

8. Austrian Death Machine, "It's Not a Tumor": Be it portraying barbarians, alien hunters or futuristic death bots, Arnold Schwarzenegger's '80s repertoire is so metal, it deserves its own spot on the Periodic Table of Elements. And so it's only fitting that a band would emerge to pay tribute to history's greatest Ah-nuld with some seismic deathcore all based upon various Schwarzeneger flicks and their all-time-great catchphrases. It may not be a "tum-ahhh," but it's just as lethal, duder.

7. Tankard, "Space Beer": These Teutonic thrash-hair farmers have seemingly penned an ode to the joys of brew guzzling for every gnarly Beck's belch they've befouled the Earth with. This is perhaps their most awesomely ludicrous example of as much, a high-concept, lowbrow rager about a futuristic barley pop that eliminates hangovers and magically distills the properties of Viagra, Rogaine and more. "The sci-fi booze makes you healthy and wise," frontman Andreas Geremia sings (kind of) through a marble-mouthed German accent. "Your (male reproductive thingy) and brain will grow in size." Drink too much of the stuff, though, and look out for your Uranus.

6. M.O.D., "Spandex Enormity": Oh, the horror of stretch pants stretched too far. This tirade against plus-sized groupies is equally mean and funny, voiced by the metal equivalent of a septic-tongued insult comedian, one Billy Milano. Ironically, Milano, a human meat locker, is the size of a yeti who's been binging on other yetis.

5. Dethklok, "Birthday Dethday": Only sissies and Applebee's servers sing the "Happy Birthday Song" any more. Thanks to this cartoon death metal troupe, you can commemorate your loved ones' escape from the womb in much more metal-appropriate fashion. Everyone gather around the cake and join in: "One more year closer to dying / Plastic surgeons fuel the lying / You forgot why you came in here / Your mind rots with every New Year." Now blow out those candles and make a wish while you still have the mental faculties to do so.

4. Tenacious D, "The Metal": Exact quote from Albert Einstein: "Energy can not be created nor destroyed ... and the same goes for heavy metal. This most ass-throttling of sounds can only be changed from one bitching form to another, brah." In other words, metal is everlasting, as this song righteously declares. "Punk-rock tried to destroy the metal, but metal was much too strong," Jack Black sings, preaching from the gospel of awesome. "Techno tried to defile the metal, but techno was proven wrong."

"Yeah!" he then roars, sounding like a lion with exploding cannonballs for gonads. "Metal is from hell."

Fist bump for Satan.

3. Spinal Tap, "Big Bottom": Marshall stacks, bangs, pyro budgets, "bum cakes" - the bigger the better, when it's heavy metal we're talking about. This loving tribute to supersized "mud flaps" from metal's first and foremost satirists demands inclusion on this list if only for its contribution of the phrase "flesh tuxedo" to the headbanger vernacular.

2. Brian Posehn, "Metal By Numbers": Granted, Posehn's a comedian, not a musician. But he's still more metal than the meth flakes in Lemmy Kilmister's mustache. Here, he offers a helpful tutorial on becoming part of the scene. "They've killed metal twice, but it will never really die / It's kind of like a zombie or even that Jesus guy," Posehn growls, backed by Anthrax's Scott Ian on guitar. "So grab your friends, some instruments and start a metal band / Just sing about death, Egypt and wizards or rip off Ayn Rand."

Yeah, pretty much.

1. Steel Panther, "Death To All but Metal": Hard to argue with this song's premise: Any band and/or form of musical expression that's not metal sucks almost as thoroughly as sobriety and the 40-hour workweek. Blink-182? Papa Roach? Please. "Wearing baggy pants, spiking up their hair / They're not worth the crust on my underwear," Panther frontman Michael Starr sneers. "Where is Def Leppard? Where is Motley Crue? Why do all my lyrics sound like Dr. Seuss?"

No need to question perfection, my man.

Contact reporter Jason Bracelin at jbracelin@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0476.

 

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