STEEL PANTHER – All You Can Eat (CD)
If you grew up on 80’s hair metal music you’re in on the joke. In fact, it’s not hard to appreciate the lowbrow humor that makes Steel Panther the perfect sequel to the void left by Spinal Tap.
And, let’s face it, Steel Panther has better chops. The songs are fist-pumping worthy and catchy at the same time – especially prevalent on the band’s fourth studio album, All You Can Eat. Like Tenacious D’s debut, there really isn’t a lame duck to be found. With members that were formally part of a Van Halen tribute band, Steel Panther wears their influences and powerhouse licks on their sleeve. The collection (including the anthem-proud first single “Party Like Tomorrow is the End of the World”) starts off with a one-two-three combo that would get any self-respecting party going into high gear. Of course there is plenty to still laugh at – “Gangbang At the Old Folks Home” and “Fucking My Heart in the Ass” certainly come to mind.
However, in the tradition of all respectable 80’s metal, Steel Panther’s music packs the biggest punch when mixed with visuals provided by their videos and their highly creative (and absolutely hilarious) SteelPantherTV.com. It’s easy to see that these guys don’t take themselves too seriously and you just end up loving them all the more for it. In fact, Steel Panther’s power is definitely strongest when combined with the full package of seeing the band (and their cohorts) in action.“Party” is a full-fledge tribute to all the great blowout videos of the 80’s – taken a bit further for good measure and featuring cameos by the Devil and God. But it really is SteelPantherTV,com that shows of the band and their sense of humor to the fullest degree. Designed as if being watched on a retro TV set, the various clips take perfect tongue-in-cheek aim at the lame staples in MTV’s scheduling. Steel Style (a sendup of fashion shows “Who cares what you feel like inside?”), Celeb Watch, Week in Music, Love on the Rocks, and, my personal favorite, Science Panther – “Why are we doing this?,” guitarist Satchel asks. “Because we realized there are a lot of stupid kids out there.” Obvious, right? Make no mistake about it, these guys are obviously great musicians but they are also funny as shit and their improvising and quips featured on these clips have made me obsessed with the band. It will be interesting to see if the band can build on and maintain what they are building or if they will fall into the trap of playing out the joke beyond it’s welcome – like Tenacious D did in The Pick of Destiny. One hopes the guys will play it close to the vest and will continue to pump out the shorts and excellent companion videos to their songs.
Steel Panther is hitting the road with the mighty Judas Priest come October for a series of US dates in what is sure to be an excellent night of head-banging. Reviews for the band’s current shows have been strong. So if you’re feeling like lightening things up (with the subject matter at least), you could do a lot worse than to check out Steel Panther. Who says heavy metal music doesn’t have a sense of humor? Robert Allen Ankrom