Dreams and goals manifest themselves in the strangest ways. In the case of the Hair Metal wizards Steel Panther, the long, hard road has been good to them. Starting out as a weekly Sunset Strip cover band called Metal Shop in 2000, then becoming Metal Skool, finally writing their first original album, Feel The Steel, in 2009 as Steel Panther, the rest, as they say, is history. A decade later, Vocalist Michael Starr, Drummer Stix Zadinia, Bassist Lexxi Foxx, and Guitarist Satchel are set to return on Friday, September 26th with their fifth studio album, Heavy Metal Rules.
A follow-up to 2017’s Lower The Bar, an album which featured a couple guest artists including Cheap Trick’s Robin Zander, Heavy Metal Rules has a lot to live up to. That in mind, the satirical ten track album starts off with the intro, titled “Zebraman,” featuring a little quirky commentary from the 1986 film Heavy Metal Parking Lot about how Heavy Metal rules and Punk belongs on Mars. Setting the vibe, it comes as no shock that the next few tracks explore in-your-face jams about just why Heavy Metal in fact rules.
Fortunately the guys put together a sonically superb Metal album that pulls out all the stops. For example, “All I Want To Do Is Fuck (Myself Tonight)” features some heavy Satchel solos that can’t be any more denied than the clear desire to be sexual with oneself because no one else is more appealing. Living up to the phrase ‘sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll,’ or in this case Heavy Metal, the track “Let’s Get High Tonight” enhances the mood with just the right elements. With more or less a lack of rhythm guitars, the solos sound more crisp which can be looked at in a positive or negative light, all depending on who you ask. On the positive end, the blending and harmonizing guitar solos is creative genius.
Moving up the ladder to the sluttiest top, the tune “Always Gonna Be A Ho” features a slightly more mellow acoustic interspersed ballad feel that is dedicated to that one special someone who can’t seem to keep her snatch out of the daylight. A cut that keeps up with some of the farcical wit that Steel Panther is known for lyrically, Heavy Metal Rules begins to take a turn towards the classic potty mouth lyrics with the next few songs. These include the wild octave levels “I’m Not Your Bitch,” as well as the modern cell phone dilemmas sung in “Fuck Everybody” which proves as an adorable little anthem of hatred. Not to be overpowered, “Sneaky Little Bitch” is a trendy number reaching basic bitch quality levels in its execution.
Now for the most wretched gem of all, “Heavy Metal Rules,” which is an interesting tune, however as lyrically predictable as Gene Simmons himself – which perhaps could be the point of it all. Not to worry though, Steel Panther return with rock star ego humor in “Gods Of Pussy.” Definitely anything but boring, it again features some exciting guitar solo work and vocal range that can charm a snake. In the end they wrap the album up with another acoustic number called “I Ain’t Buying What You’re Selling,” which seems to be a play on words in all its metaphorical implications. Would you expect anything less from these guys?
Political correctness aside, Steel Panther’s humor can be enjoyed by people from all walks of life, and their live show experiences are always unique and highly entertaining. As of late they have not been performing as many local Los Angeles strip shows, but hopefully with the release of Heavy Metal Rules they will once again remember that Heavy Metal also rules when Steel Panther takes over the stage. Humor is one of the best spices of life, and this new album is a bit like Scary Spice making out with Stix on a good day. Therefore, Cryptic Rock gives Steel Panther’s Heavy Metal Rules 4 out of 5 stars.