Many a band have descended into Spinal Tap territory during their careers but few begin their career as such. Yep, Steel Panther are back - the perennially laughable act who seem to revel in dichotomising the rock/metal fraternity into a strict love/hate divide. Their parody of 80s glam rock/metal is a joke that's worn ever so thin and, maybe as a corollary of their own success, they've undoubtedly transformed into one of the very bands they're parodying in the first place. And that's not a good thing as they're a long way off exemplifying the best the genre has to offer in the twenty first century. Sweden's H.E.A.T., for example, exude far more talent, credibility and sincerity in terms of both songwiriting and attitude, without resorting to the kind of moronic 'humour' Steel Panther insist on inflicting upon the world.
Musically clichéd, every 80s rock/metal idiom is thrown into the mix on 'All You Can Eat', although (and this is where they score two marks from me) the musicianship is not too bad at all. However, all that is undermined by just about everything else. With lyrics and a general mindset that comes across as misogynistic through a deluge of overt sexism, subjecting your ears to Steel Panther is a full-on cringe-inducing experience. While they're parodying an era characterised by a significantly less politically correct consciousness - so, in one sense, it's befitting of their aesthetic - even some of their song titles would've surely raised a few eyebrows back in the day. I mean, 'Gang Bang at the Old Folks Home'? Really? 'Bukakke Tears'? 'You're Beautiful When You Don't Talk'? I mean, come on. And does the world really need a song about a gloryhole? It's all mindless tripe that makes a band like Edguy's lyrical wank such as 'Lavatory Love Machine' read like Chaucer.
And it's not like I'm averse to parody metal as bands such as Tragedy and Beatallica, at least for me, strike a perfect balance between parodical flair and fine musicianship (and they are genuinely funny and clever). Steel Panther, however, based on 'All You Can Eat', fall way too far into the realm of the ridiculous. And with a career based on the monolithic 'joke' of sex, pussy, cocks etc, just how Steel Panther have amassed such a mammoth fanbase is somewhat inexplicable. I've heard of nothing but positive reports from their live shows, and maybe that's the context within which Steel Panther are best digested. As such, though, in the recorded format, it just comes across as an inane exercise in mindless trash. Although if the idea of Roy Chubby Brown in the form of 80s sleaze metal sounds like it might be up your street then this is probably the most fantastic album you'll hear all year. And the release date of this unmitigated piece of crap? April Fools' Day, which is ever so apt, for foolish is how Steel Panther have chosen to represent themselves. Give it another three or four years and I predict their existence within the scene will become one of ephemera, whereupon they'll be nothing more than an obscurity occasionally referenced in the annals of rock music history.
Open E Music
ALL YOU CAN EAT
Review by Mark Holmes
1st April 2014
2) Party Like Tomorrow is the End of the World
3) Gloryhole; 4) Bukakke Tears
5) Gangbang at the Old Folks Home
6) Ten Strikes You're Out
7) The Burden of Being Wonderful
8) Fucking My Heart in the Ass
10) You're Beautiful When You Don't Talk
11) If I Was the King
12) She's on the Rag
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"With lyrics and a general mindset that comes across as misogynistic through a deluge of overt sexism, subjecting your ears to Steel Panther is a full-on cringe-inducing experience."