Released: 2009, Universal
Music appreciation is a pretty subjective thing. Humour is even more subjective. What makes one person laugh may disgust someone else. In the case of Steel Panther, music and humour have combined just perfectly to suit my taste. This long-running parody act (formerly Metal Skool) has been slogging it out in the trenches for 10 years and after a few changes are suddenly on a major label with a high-profile album in the racks.
FEEL THE STEEL is a parody of the 80s L.A. Sunset strip scene and 80s melodic metal in general. This project spearheaded by ex-guys from Fight and L.A. Guns is extremely well done. The attention to detail is impressive, from the packaging, presentation, logo, production and execution, FEEL THE STEEL is a top-notch release. It even features a number of guest stars who were in on the joke on the ground floor.
The whole concept is outrageous lyrics, visual image, crazy characters and so on. Each character has a mini-bio full of jokes, the layout, photos and everything screams over-the-top. The lyrics are absolutely X-rated and sure to offend just about everyone, on purpose. Hence the clever spoof of the now familiar ‘Parental Warning’ stickers which is on the back.
Musically, Steel Panther is very clever and subtle which seems odd for a band that is outrageous on purpose. They obviously know their melodic hard rock history because almost every song has a different style itself making fun and/or paying tribute to a particular band. Above and beyond churning out some generic melodic metal with juvenile lyrics most of the songs are written in the style of another band. It was really fun to try to identify each song spoof, such as the ‘Poison’ song, the ‘Whitesnake’ song, the ‘Bon Jovi’ song, the ‘Van Halen’ song and so on. I even wonder if younger fans who didn’t grow up with the aforementioned style of bands, will even be able to pick out subtle musically in-jokes. Regardless as an older fan I felt is was fantastic and laughed out loud on many occasions. FEEL THE STEEL may have very limited appeal overall to most metal fans but it is so well done that I wouldn’t be surprised if we see this album sliding into a number of Top 10 lists this year.