Artist: Steel Panther
Title: Heavy Metal Rules
Release Date: September 27th 2019
Reviewer: Curt Ubank
Heavy Metal Rules. Fuck yeah it does. That cry has been heard at gigs, in parking lots, from drunken uncles at the family Christmas party and most recently, as the kickass album title of the mighty Steel Panther’s latest studio offering.
By now, if you listen to music played on guitars and have a sense of humour, you’ve heard of Steel Panther. 4 dudes with bitchin’ hair, tight spandex and a stage show that turns the whole place into a party. It’s hard to believe they’re already on their 5th album, but How does it match up to their back catalog? It matches up fucking well!
We kick in with dialogue for an opening track called Zebraman, but it’s not just any dialogue, it’s from Heavy Metal Parking lot, the classic 80’s tailgate party turned documentary ahead of a Judas Priest/Dokken double billing. It’s peak 80’s, and immediately brings you back to the mullet and denim days that Michael Starr and co are famed for. The ACTUAL Panther party starts to roar with “All I wanna do is(Fuck Myself Tonight)” and fuck, doesn’t it start! This is the perfect track for an album opener, with a perfect synth and guitars riff, It will be surprising if this doesn’t open their next tour. You’ll find yourself singing the chorus at the most inappropriate moments for days after.
“Let’s Get High Tonight” would fit in perfectly to any previous Panther effort, with a brilliantly shredded solo, and some space age synth sprinkled in. It’s punchy and fun but really, what is heavy metal without a good power ballad, so the boys jam one right in, 4 tracks deep with “Always Gonna Be a Ho”. This almost feels like a sequel to “Community Property”, and it’s great fun, heartfelt and obscene, with a chorus that’s gonna go OFF live, hell there’s even a Bohemian Rhapsody inspired bridge, don’t believe me? Watch the video, it’s glorious.
Is that Warrant’s “Machine Gun”? Nope, it’s “I’m Not Your Bitch”. Musically this track is totally early 90’s hard rock heaven, lyrically it’s a hilarious complaint about not doing household chores, polar opposites that work so well. The irreverent fun continues with “Fuck Everybody”, and really, it’s the track we always needed. I dare you to try not singing along on a crappy day, it’s a new personal anthem for sure. The title track of “Heavy Metal Rules” is interesting, it’s chugging and almost heartfelt, even going as far to add a Gene Simmons quote, but for such a badass title, it feels a little less high energy than you expect. It’s more “Lighters In The Air” than windmilling headbanger, but sometimes that’s ok.
“Sneaky Little Bitch” and “Gods Of Pussy” are the classic sounds we’ve come to love from the band, sounding familiar but fresh, with catchy riffs and thundering bass, which is why the acoustic album closer is such an interesting twist. It’s significantly different to anything we’ve really heard from the band, almost a serious song, especially when you consider the guys who wrote it. “I Ain’t Buying What You’re Selling” is one of the rare times you get to truly appreciate Michael Starr’s voice. It’s a slow close but strangely works.
The 80’s are over, but thanks to the efforts of Michael, Lexxi, Satchel and Stix, the heavy metal party is just beginning. This album isn’t high art, but Steel Panther never claimed to be, but I can guarantee, every single song on this album is gonna be a riot live. Steel Panther have proved again, Heavy Metal Rules.
Steel Panther is
Michael Starr – Vocals
Satchel – Guitars
Lexxi Foxx – Bass
Stix Zadinia – Drums