What happens if you accidentally erase your entire new album?
Well, you hit a delay and have to embark into studios to record the darn thing from scratch. According to a recent interview with Michael Starr the band’s `Heavy Metal Rules’ suffered severe time loss due to the before, but also opened an opportunity to review and recapture to improve. Needless to say `Heavy Metal Rules’ packs the typical tongue in cheek and profane humour you might expect, yet moulded into form with the band able to rediscover their new songs and enhance.
The intro ,,Zebraman” is a statement from the 80’s cult movie `Heavy Metal Parking Lot’. The following, first video single of the album ,,All I wanna Do Is Fuck (Myself Tonight)” immediately hits the pitch out of the ballpark for a homerun. It is party cracker material, balancing on the edge of tackiness and party galore. The song itself, lyrics casted aside, is a gripping beat ran track with some delicate Uriah Heep influences. Though the song has a high party dose injected, the underlying arrangements ebb with a 70s keyboard subnote creating depth. The lyrics, well… they’re all Steel Panther. Fuck yourself because you’re the prettiest at the party… the subtle homage to the art of masturbation folded into Panther-form. It is comedy over content, SP-business as usual, so to say.
Steel Panther places the flag of glam rock on top of the rock, with many to follow their gospel of fun and party. The album itself flourishes with excellent musical marksmanship. Impressive soloing and high-energy bass and drums interaction pulling it forward. Satchel is one of rock’s finest shredders, grocery overlooked. Stix and Lexxi always deliver the mandatory rock solid bodywork. Starr carries the perfect swagger to evoke the beast in it. On a different note, the album sounds transparent and clean, which doesn’t do it justice throughout. I consider the production rather thin, not aligning with the high energy it should pack. However, it appears to be a choice as Satchel himself made everyone aware to decrease the dense rhythms on his guitar and enable everyone to enjoy the open ended sound. It does display the solo-riff interaction more dominantly, but at certain points it fails to fire with more energy. ,,Let’s Get High Tonight” is an instant favourite with great attitude and drive. Subtle psychedelic notes injected, the song evolves with tremendous poise. Satchel’s solo-driven riffage is extraordinary and on this particular tune the choice for production rewards by revealing more depth and transparency. The same cocktail of swagger is used on ,,I’m Not Your Bitch”, which progresses with impressive riff and solo interaction. ,,Fuck Everybody” rails against the injustices of modern day life: the waiting line at Starbucks, or some dick doing 20 MpH in the fast lane, the band claimed. It is well put, if you like the Monty Python level to be met. Typical cockrock is unloaded upon us on the swinging ,,Sneaky Little Bitch” building perfectly towards ,,Gods Of Pussy” which opens with the attitude-studded phrase; “Sometimes it’s hard, when all the girls want to fuck you”… again pretty subtle huh?
Switching to more subtle notes the band pours their hearts in ,,Always Gonna Be A Ho”. It had me move from giggle to laughter upon it’s acoustic opening. On the same subtle note is the opening of the title track, suddenly shooting into a Soundgarden-like vibrato with loud overhaul. Both tracks evolve with excellent wallop; unlike the acoustic ,,I Ain’t Buying What You’re selling”. The song is delicate but contrasting with its Steel Panther humoristic lyrics.
`Heavy Metal Rules’ is another typical Steel Panther record, packing the typical ingredients. It is packed with impressive compositional skills and top-notch marksmanship. Drawing from the hair metal heydays, the band fuses classic elements with their humoristic approach, raising the bar on its party dose. The bouncy fierce riffs and jaw dropping solos are uplifting and Starr’s soaring vocals immediately warp us back into the eighties. The controversy is in the lyrics, and in times where everybody feels offended, I believe these guys are on top of their game!
What I still haven’t figured out is whether the band just makes fun of life celebrating metal, or if they make fun of metal and celebrate life?