Review by Sophie Maughan
Release Date: 1April 2014
Turn out the lights and get ready to feel the steel. Yes, Steel Panther are back and on unashamedly outrageous form with album number three All You Can Eat and once again it’s a veritable smorgasbord of the lewd, crude and incredibly rude. Hardly a surprise given the fact that this is the very band who fucked your mum in the Eighties before disappearing off into the sultry LA night to do some blow.
There are two distinct categories into which people tend to fall when the ‘Panther are discussed: you either love them (this lot are affectionately referred to as ‘Fanthers’ by the band) or you cover all and sundry nearby in vitriol soaked bile as their name escapes your curling lips.
I’ll never forget the scathing reaction to my review of the Rock City gig back in 2012 (here). The fact that I’d had the sheer audacity to actually enjoy the show and had depicted them in a positive (and not the HIV kind) fashion. But it was the reverse misogyny aspect that truly baffled said critics – the fact that a woman was unperturbed by lyrical content which openly degrades and objectifies the female form. Now, call me crazy but I do find it incredibly difficult to be offended by something which is so obviously tongue-in-cheek. For god’s sake at the end of the day, we are talking about a parody band here. That said, I am also a realist – everyone knows that you can only go so far with parody. But what sets Steel Panther apart is the fact that they can back up the spandex soaked frivolity and endless cock jokes with solid musicianship. And All You Can Eat is filled to the brim with aural bangers and shredding capable of impressing the skin-tight pants right off of Eddie Van Halen himself.
Album opener ‘Pussywhipped’ titillates the listener right from the offset with those tinkling, Spanish sounding acoustics which slowly build and segues into that infectious melody line and Michael Starr lets rip with his trademark “whoooww” falsetto cry. If you have listened to Feel The Steel and Balls Out, then you know what you are in for from the Cali quartet – Ivor Novello winning composition this is not. The lyrics are equally ridiculous and relatable – after all, everybody has at least one mate whose girlfriend wears the pants in the relationship. Lead single ‘Party Like Tomorrow Is The End Of The World’ is beyond catchy with those anthemic “yeah!” shouts whilst the sleaze drenched ‘Gloryhole’ will have you bellowing along about blowing your load in no time. The life lessons come thick and fast on AYCE – ‘B.V.S’ is a cautionary tale for the male population regarding the emergence of the larger vagina, and I never even knew there was an expression for spaffing on someone’s face until I heard power ballad ‘Bukkake Tears’. Lord Byron would be writhing in envy on hearing such emotionally charged offerings like “there was so much love on your face / I couldn’t see the tears” – who ever said romance was dead?
Just as I am wiping the tears away and feeling ashamed at finding any hilarity whatsoever in ‘Gangbang at the Old Folks Home’, my eardrums are treated to the fantastic ZZ Top-esque stomp of ‘Ten Strikes You’re Out’. It reeks of debauched glam in the best possible way and my feet are tapping along immediately. It is also on this number where the Satchel / Stixx Zadinia arsenal really comes into play with those effortless guitar licks and pounding drum rolls reminiscent of early Dokken or Ricki Rockett in his heyday. The intricate solos follow suit on Fucking my Heart In the Ass and at 2:10, Satchel is evoking the spirit of EVH with gusto and those riffs are packing more meat than your local butcher’s shop window.
The beauty of AYCE is its ability to consistently capture and hold your attention until the very end. For me personally, Balls Out fell flat at certain points to keep that momentum going and the latter half of the record (with the exception of ‘I Like Drugs’) fails to live up to the standard set very early on. In fact, this album’s heaviest moments come (no pun intended there) about now; ‘If I Was The King’ rocks and fucking rolls with a beat catchier than the very ailments discussed on previous songs and just try to stop those belly laughs from ringing out at the mention of executing One Direction or making Megan Fox a queen. However, if there was ever going to be a point where even a self-proclaimed Fanther has to draw the line, it may very well be with ‘She’s On The Rag’. As a female who has to deal with the aforementioned monthly visitor, it is most disconcerting to visualise the “blood on the walls / blood on the lamps / blood on the roadies / blood on the amps” that the guys sing of. Even I have to admit this is well grim but must confess that a chuckle does escape my lips right at the death when Michael cheekily advises us ladies “Better not wear white pants next time baby!” Well played Starr, well played.
With vulgarity that knows no bounds and the type of unabashed showmanship and riffs that would turn any self-respecting 80’s hair metal god green with envy, All You Can Eat is the soundtrack to get your balls out to. And whilst the joke may be familiar now, it is definitely not on Steel Panther. In the meantime, they are going to party until tomorrow is the end of the world. Join them – you might just like it.
8 out of 10
- Party Like Tomorrow Is The End Of The World
- Bukkake Tears
- Gangbang at the Old Folks Home
- Ten Strikes You’re Out
- The Burden Of Being Wonderful
- Fucking My Heart in the Ass
- You’re Beautiful When You Don’t Talk
- If I Was the King
- She’s on the Rag