CD Reviews

Steel Panther - 'Balls Out' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     December 28, 2011    
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Pure 80s Hollywood Strip metal.

So when is a joke not a joke? Maybe a joke is always a joke, but when you've heard it a few hundred times it can get rather thin. Now I don't know about you, but I worry that Steel Panther are the only ones laughing by now, possibly all the way to the bank, as people clamour to buy their second album of misogynistic metal.

Perhaps the best fact about Steel Panther is the fact that vocalist Ralph Saenz used to front a Van Halen tribute band and was called Dave Lee Ralph. Now that's funny. This also means the guy can sing, and as with everyone in Steel Panther there's certainly no shortage of musical talent. Saenz (who uses the name Michael Starr in the band) can belt out "Supersonic Sex Machine" (a track that Reckless Love would kill for) like a pro, and when you have a lead guitarist with the talents of Russ Parish ("Satchel") it's good to see they are being utilized to the full, as "Balls Out" contains some monster riffs and searing solos.

Your tolerance/love for Steel Panther will come down to just how often you can hear the same joke, and if that tolerance increases if the joke is set to pretty darned cool eighties rock backing tracks. Steel Panther, you see, take every available opportunity to have a dig at women. 'Ha ha,' they say. 'Look at us. We are being crude and obnoxious, often about anal sex. In real life we respect women, honestly.' To be honest, their repeated basement level crudity doesn't offend me, but it does embarrass me. I can't listen to this CD when others are near, as it makes me cringe. Surely that's not a good thing?

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Steel Panther are at their best when there's a bit of cleverness involved, such as single 'If You Really Really Love Me' and 'Just Like Tiger Woods'. Unfortunately, the low IQ stuff rules the roost, like '17 Girls In A Row' or the rather self explanatory 'It Won't Suck Itself', a track that sounds a lot like Motley Crue at their peak. If you really want a lyrical barrel to scrape the bottom of, then there's always 'Critter'; which extols the joy of doing a woman in the... well, it rhymes with critter.

So once again I am torn by a Steel Panther album. On one hand, the music really is pretty good, pure 80s Hollywood Strip metal, all hairspray, bandannas and venereal diseases. The other hand has the fact that the lyrics are often embarrassing to listen to, and it really can feel like they're just making fun of music I love. If that's true, anyone who buys it is being taken for a fool. Suffice to say, if you loved the debut, this will certainly float your boat, but those who think it's all a bit silly should go and get the new Vain album for their sleaze needs.

Alan Holloway

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