Steel Panther - Feel the Steel (Universal/Island)

Crack your "Parental Advisory" stickers out, 80s retro comedy rockers Steel Panther are on the warpath - their target? Ladies. Oh, and everything pure and decent in this world. As well as "butt metal." Pass that hairspray, will ya?
Release Date: 
7 Jun 2009 - 11:30pm

A few years ago, retro was king. Bands like Jet, the Darkness and the Vines capitalized on the surge of teenage fascination with the primitive, arcane art of garage rock and the 80s hard rock sound; teased bouffant hair, skin-tight leather and polyester scarves around the collars of studded denim jackets was the the image de rigeur when bands such as WASP, Poison and Twisted Sister ruled the airwaves (that's the radio, mind you, not your wireless router). 

We would be hasty to believe that after the rise of grunge and alternative, the flame of glam metal (or hard rock - whatever you prefer) retreated from an inferno of hot, sweaty and rockin' music to a dull, lukewarm murmur. Bands were no longer interested in writing new music, unfortunately content to rehash the "classics" such as Bon Jovi's Livin' On a Prayer to patrons in pubs and bars, sick and tired of hearing it yet again.

But no longer. The ferocious Steel Panther has been let out of its iron cage and has only one mission: to roar with the tiger-like growl and strut with the sensual prance of glam rock n' roll from the halcyon days of the 1980s.

Storming open with Death To All But Metal (parodied even in their own video-clip as "Death to All Butt Metal"), the Panthers tease every 80s cliche to excess: huge, sleazy riffs, and a veritable tirade against all those who dare to perpetuate "false metal", as well as taking some well aimed and aggravated shots at Blink 182, Dr. Dre and a host of others. Liberal doses of nutcrunch vocals and squealing guitars are the staple for Steel Panther - there's nothing on this record that doesn't (literally) scream out glam, glam, glam!

Vocalist Michael Starr bellows out shamelessly about his sexploits in the infectious Asian Hooker which includes the lines "smells like sushi" and "it hurts to pee" (I'll let your imaginations run away with that). For a parody band, the musicianship sounds right on the money, both in terms of 80s authenticity and command of their instrument (no pun intended.) Guitarist Satchel can almost shred like a (young) Yngwie Malmsteen and drummer Stix Zadinia rolls with the rhythmic and melodic punches, slowing it right down for the raspy-voiced Bon Jovi-esque ballad about love and lust, Community Property. Bassist Lexxie Foxxx also warrants a mention for the extra "X" in "Foxx", standing for "Sex."

Steel Panther play pastiches of almost every 80s hard rock style concievable; channeling Racer X in the speedy Eyes of A Panther, throbbing Motley Crue style guitars in Turn Out The Lights and the huge gang choruses and synth hits of later Van Halen in the closer Hell's On Fire.

If you love 80s silliness taken to their uproariously hilarious extreme, then Feel the Steel is a solid record and a blind purchase for hard rock and power metal fans. Where as Dragonforce and Edguy only embraced their "inner dickhead" seemingly too late, Steel Panther's brand of retro comedy rock n' roll will be regarded as a tour de force (read: farce) in the very near future.

 

Steel Panther's Feel the Steel is out now on Island/Universal.