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Steel Panther - "Feel The Steel" (CD)

Steel Panther - "Feel The Steel" CD cover image

"Feel The Steel" track listing:

1. Death to All But Metal (2:29)
2. Asian Hooker (4:02)
3. Community Property (3:38)
4. Eyes of a Panther (3:37)
5. Fat Girl (Thar She Blows) (4:37)
6. Eatin' Ain't Cheatin' (3:50)
7. Party All Day (Fuck All Night) (3:02)
8. Turn Out The Lights (4:24)
9. Stripper Girl (3:34)
10. The Shocker (4:10)
11. Girl From Oklahoma (3:56)
12. Hell's On Fire (3:01)

Reviewed by on December 3, 2009

"Steel Panther is well aware of how ridiculous glam and cock rock have been, and they don’t have any qualms about mercilessly mocking the genre they clearly love so much."

Glam metal may be dead, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be resurrected every once in a while. Steel Panther’s “Feel The Steel” is tailor made both for anyone who looks back fondly at how much hair spray they used while listening to Whitesnake, and for the new generation of metal fans who make fun of those people. Steel Panther is well aware of how ridiculous glam and cock rock have been, and they don’t have any qualms about mercilessly mocking the genre they clearly love so much.

“Feel the Steel” is appealing because the band plays their music completely convincingly, even when letting loose some of the most hilarious lyrics ever laid down on an album. It’s conceivable that someone listening to the music in the background wouldn’t even realize there was a joke going on if they didn’t hear the vocals. There is a joke going on though, and it’s important to make the distinction. The album desperately wants to impart important life lessons to any aspiring rock stars who may be listening, like the fact that “Eatin’ ain’t cheatin.” Each song on the disc is successively more humorous and offensive than the last, and each offers something legitimate from the world of glam to keep the formula from drying up.

There are a huge number of backing guest vocalists present, but front man Michael Starr has got quite the range on his own. He hits nearly all the different vocal styles throughout the history of cock rock and glam metal. Amazingly he never breaks character, keeping the vocals spot on no matter how absurd the song becomes. The guitar work should also be brought up, as it’s impressive enough to warrant a listen from people who don’t particularly care for comedy music.

“Community Property” is the heart of the album, and the best representation of what Steel Panther is all about. Starting with acoustic guitars and a soft croon, the track could easily be mistaken for something created by a band that exclusively wore leather jackets and spandex back when MTV was still relevant to music. By the time the offensive lyrics are dropped the audience is already hooked, so it should illicit more out-loud laughter than shocked gasps. The lyrics themselves also showcase the tight line that Steel Panther walks between emulation and mockery. It’s a tender song of affection, but only in the most misogynistic way possible. Each element is always played perfectly off the other. Just as Michael Starr purrs about kissing a girl on the mouth after she’s swallowed his load there is a corresponding arrangement of charming and upbeat stringed instruments.

Like any good cock rock band, they’ve also got a heartfelt ballad that lets the band express how much they love all the women in the world. “Girl From Oklahoma” tells all the potential groupies out there exactly what sort of loving they can expect if they make the mistake of getting on the bus after the show. A fair warning to the ladies: if it tastes infected, it probably is. They aren’t all high class though, as “The Shocker” goes a little more low-brow, explaining in detail how to properly perform that particular love move.

“Feel the Steel” does almost everything right, but there is one problem worth mentioning that may be an issue for some. In some instances Steel Panther crosses the over the line of emulation and just blatantly rips off songs. “Party All Day (Fuck All Night)” is a direct copy of “Livin’ on a Prayer” by Bon Jovi, from the guitar riffs to the distorted sound effects. Steel Panther is good enough at creating the sound they are mocking that they honestly didn’t need to steal anybody else’s ideas.

While it might seem like “Feel the Steel” is destined to alienate 50% of the population, the songs clearly aren’t supposed to be taken seriously. The subject matter is so ridiculously over the top that it’s hard to imagine anyone actively taking offense. “Feel the Steel” is one of the most ambitions albums in recent memory and it’s executed nearly perfectly. Anyone who loves or hates glam should give it a few listens to see if the comedy clicks for them.

Highs: Amazingly exucted comedy with perfectly emulated glam metal and cock rock.

Lows: Some of the songs are blatant rip offs from the bands being mocked.

Bottom line: A nearly perfect album that straddles the line between outrageous comedy and serious glam metal.

Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls
4.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)