Band: Steel Panther
Release: Heavy Metal Rules
Area: LA, California
Date of release: 27/09/19
Genre: Heavy f*cking Metal
Record Label: Steel Panther Inc
For Fans Of: Poison, Whitesnake, Steel Panther, Hairspray (not the musical)
"I got a labradoodle, And I got the gift of song
But when that's not enough, I take a ripper off my bong
And I ain't buying what you're selling" - I Ain't Buying What You're Selling
Ladies and gentleman (emphasis on the ladies), pull out your finest spandex, all the hairspray you can afford, pucker your shiny, balm-laden lips and get ready to feel the steel… Steel Panther that is! The world’s greatest band are back in typical SP fashion and have gone balls out to add a standout release to their discography. They’ve given us an all you can eat buffet of musical goodness to digest, and with no need to lower the bar to enjoy this album, our favourite metalheads have once again proven that ‘‘Heavy Metal Rules’’.
Now, if you’re anything like me, you probably loved the absolute hell out of the first 2 Steel Panther albums. I’ll never forget being hooked by ‘Eyes Of The Panther’ and singing the chorus during my first listen, or laughing uncontrollably when I was introduced to ‘Death to All but Metal’, or trying to (unsuccessfully) pick up a total babe at karaoke with hits like ‘Weenie Ride’ or ‘Community Property’. Personally, the last 2 albums failed to invoke these same emotions whenever I had listened to them over the past few years. I still enjoyed them, just not as much.
With that said, I came into this worried that the novelty had worn off. How many songs can the same band put out about drugs, sex, strippers and partying before the gimmick wore too thin? Thankfully, my concerns were more wrong than my rock and roll fantasies of getting down with Steel Panther (and trust me, those are really wrong. One involves a blow torch, 7 grams of cocaine, a scuba mask and a giraffe) because, as these guys have shown time and time again, heavy metal does indeed rule and so does this album.
Opening the album with an excerpt from cult classic, ‘Heavy Metal Parking Lot’, ‘Zebraman’ lays down a life philosophy on all things metal and detests anything else, and before we know it, we’re thrust into the lead single ‘All I Wanna Do Is (Fuck Myself)’. When this anthem first dropped, I was very excited to see what the rest of the album was going to offer, this felt like the overdue Steel Panther track that I’ve been waiting for. Michael Starr is at his power metal, hook heavy best right out of the gate. And despite some obvious autotune scattered throughout, he still shows that he can go in multiple videos online so he gets an easy pass here. The songs continue to impress, with ‘Let’s Get High Tonight’ providing some fun riffage before we get a sweet taste of the band’s softer side in ‘You’re Always Gonna Be A Ho’ (which felt to me like an almost spiritual successor to ‘Why Can’t You Trust Me’ from “Balls Out”).
Personally, I feel as though the quality takes a little bit of a dip in the middle third of this album, while there are hooks and choruses aplenty, there was nothing overly standout about this portion to me. ‘Fuck Everybody’ is hilarious and provided a really funny music video to boot, with fan involvement planned for future, as Steel Panther requested everybody send in clips of them singing the chorus leading up to its release. But musically, it didn’t quite hit me in the dick like other songs can. The title track has some epic group chanting of ‘Heavy Metal Rules’ which, unfortunately at times, can drag on for a bit and doesn’t possess enough substance to make it stand out as I feel it should. The lyrics, however, will be incredibly relatable to anybody that has tried to chase the dream of being in a famous band. All things aside, despite these song's shortcomings, Satchel has provided us with guitar solos and riffs aplenty for everyone to enjoy. He has been a crux of this band since its inception, and this album is no exception. He also had plenty to say about being a musician, partying and future plans (upcoming Australian tour perhaps?) in our interview here.
I’d liken this album a lot to how I imagine a Steel Panther party would go down. An excellent, high octane start fueled by drugs, booze and babes, a lull period early the next morning when everyone is out of drugs before the saving grace of a late arrival who has enough narcotics to kick-start everyone’s hearts, again and again.
(Okay I’m totally lying, a Steel Panther party would NEVER run out of drugs!)
Rounding out the album, the hair metal heavyweights continue to playfully convey the topics of drugs and sex. Even going as far to claim that they are the ‘Gods of Pussy’ and, hell, I’m not going to tell them they’re wrong. That track in particular is surely going to be a hit if included in their live setlists moving forward, holding a classic Steel Panther chorus and hook that begs to be screamed back at the band on stage. And, reminiscent of their first 2 releases, the album is rounded off with a touching acoustic number that puts an exclamation point on the band’s musical diversity and talent. Whilst ‘I Ain’t Buying What You’re Selling’ doesn’t quite have me weeping from the tip like ‘Girl from Oklahoma’ or ‘Weenie Ride’ once did, it’s a standout track nonetheless and should make for some really fun singalongs down the line.
“Heavy Metal Rules” is exactly what it needed to be, hitting the right notes and reminding everybody how outright fun Steel Panther is. Despite a rather pedestrian middle bunch of tracks, there is something for all fans, old and new, to enjoy.
Don’t forget, Fanthers, DEATH TO ALL BUT METAL!
- Heavy Metal Rules Track List -
1. Zebraman 2. All I Wanna Do is Fuck (Myself Tonight) 3. Let's Get High Tonight 4. Always Gonna Be a Ho 5. I'm Not Your Bitch 6. Fuck Everybody 7. Heavy Metal Rules 8. Sneaky Little Bitch 9. Gods of Pussy 10. I Ain't Buying What You're Selling
Would You Go And See Them: 5/5
Personal Enjoyment: 9/10