Steel Panther - Feel The Steel
Glam Metal/Comedy Metal/Heavy Metal
13 songs (47.49)
Release year: 2009
Universal/Republic Records Homepage
Reviewed by Elias
Surprise of the month

It’s fun to pretend. Bono likes pretending he knows shit about politics. Madonna likes to pretend she’s still a relevant cultural force. And Steel Panther like to pretend that the last 20-something years of evolution and growth in the Metal scene never happened. Or maybe they just never noticed it, since they haven’t played clubs outside of the Sunset Strip area since they formed as the slightly less ridiculous sounding Metal Shop. Since then, they’ve garnered much attention as a successful commercial venture, regularly selling out shows and appearing onstage and on record with a list of musical celebrities so diverse as to range from Scott Ian of Anthrax to Pink. However, much to the chagrin of the more elite members of the Heavy Metal culture, it’s also fun to pretend that the music is at all affected by the musician’s image. And those who insist on repeatedly uttering denigrations of Steel Panther are engaging in just that, pretense. Because the fact of the matter is that regardless of whom Steel Panther blow coke with in the backstage, Feel the Steel rocks.

Despite raising suspicions of a copycat approach to songwriting, Steel Panther demonstrate a compositional maturity on par with Paul Stanley’s Live to Win, probably for similar reasons. After 20 years of playing the classics and living the same goddamm musical scene every single day, you’d have to have serious musical handicaps to not have absorbed enough to produce one album. The songs on Feel the Steel have a cohesive flow, with no unpleasant interruptions and no songs worth skipping. They manage to balance themselves comfortably between kitch and testosterone, without ceding too much to either side. Although the song structures correspond to the expected, simplistic “mainstream” formula, it would be foolish to look for anything deeper in Steel Panther, as the band makes it very clear from the beginning that their priority is entertainment, not complexity.

An individual assessment of each song would be quite pointless, as any listener will undoubtedly recognize the style and know exactly what to expect, including the obligatory party anthem (Party All Day) and power ballad (Community Property). While not exactly plagiarism, the music is almost entirely dedicated to emulating the classic 80s Glam sound of Kiss, Mötley Crüe, etc. The riffs are unremarkable, serving mostly to back up the vocal lines, yet the guitarists manage to shine through their embellishing harmony appendages thrown into the songs to add that little melodic push, and through the solos, that never stray too far into meaningless shredding but have the right amount of notes to keep us entertained for the short time they last.

Steel Panther’s commercial success probably lies in their sense of humour, something severely lacking among many glam-oriented bands. Apart from the first song, Death to all but Metal, which professes a Manowaresque message of Metal fascism, every track on Feel the Steel deals with a (hopefully) self-ironic glorification of sexual promiscuity, vulgarity, and sexism. From the sob story of a tourist in Asia who contracts gonorrhoea from prostitutes in Asian Hooker, to the professions of love to an obese woman in Fat Girl (Thar She Blows), to the lesson in sexual etiquette emphasizing the social properties of oral sex, chief among these the reminder that Eatin’ Ain’t Cheatin’, Steel Panther appeals to the sense of toilet humour that can be found deep within the soul of every man and the surface of the soul of every boy. And they’re damn funny.

Killing Songs :
Death To All But Metal, Eyes Of A Panther, Party All Day, Turn Out The Lights
Elias quoted 80 / 100
Other albums by Steel Panther that we have reviewed:
Steel Panther - Balls Out reviewed by Cory and quoted 72 / 100
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