All You Can Eat
Kobalt Music/Universal Music Australia
Reviewed By Simon Milburn
Party rockin’ on your face tonight
For all of the seriousness in music, particularly metal, it’s been a while since we’ve really been able to just sit back and have fun with it all. Whilst the hair metal acts of the ‘80s have been scoffed at as much as they’ve been praised, with the decline of that genre, things somewhere got really very serious. But a few years ago, a quartet of upstarts took the metal world by storm as they unleashed just about every cliché in the rock ‘n’ roll handbook cranked up to 11. Steel Panther bought the party back to metal with their in your face, unabashed sex-driven lyrics, sleazy guitar riffs, and rockin’ rhythms.
Steel Panther’s 2009 debut, Feel the Steel, is overloaded with raunchy riffs, fun, over the top lyrics and, most importantly, great songs. That last thing is what made the album such a hit with metal fans. Apart from the maxed out lyrics which are wilder than anything any ‘80s hair metal band could have lived let alone sung about at the time, the critical thing about Steel Panther’s debut is the songs themselves – catchy melodies, infectious choru,s and just flat out, top shelf arrangements. That is where things derailed slightly with their sophomore effort, Balls Out. The songs just weren’t as strong musically. The album was still very much every bit Steel Panther as you’d expect but the songs themselves weren’t as solid, which resulted in an album that didn’t match its predecessor in the slightest.
This made album number three even more important. After a slew of sold out shows worldwide over the next couple of years, Steel Panther has returned with another load of charming little ditties that will make you laugh ‘til it hurts, throw your fists in the air, and ultimately rock the fuck out to time and time again. Round three from these hard rockers and they’ve dropped one hell of a load on us all with All You Can Eat.
Putting the subtle and gentle strains aside that usher in the opening cut, soon enough Steel Panther are back, loud and proud and all over your face with their trademark over the top style. “Pussywhipped” kicks things off and right from the first thrusting rhythm, there’s no denying that Steel Panther have found their groove once more. As they unleash dirty riff after dirty riff underneath countless sexual clichés and innuendos that add colour to the direct nature of much of their lyrical content, All You Can Eat is quite possibly Steel Panther’s best work to date and if not then it’s at least on a par with their stellar debut.
From the infectious and utterly hilarious “Gloryhole” to the upbeat rocker “Ten Strikes You’re Out” and the outstanding “If I Was the King”, Steel Panther are on fire. Nothing is sacred, no innuendo left untouched. This quartet can do no wrong on album number three as they fire on all eight cylinders throughout the dozen tracks that make up the album. But you know, there’s a gentler side to Steel Panther. It’s not all about unashamedly fucking chicks left, right and centre. No sir. Just listen to the sappy, very feint, almost apologetic ballad “Bukakke Tears”. There’s some genuine remorse contained within this song without a doubt. On a different note, the band offer an insight into life as a part of Steel Panther via “The Burden of Being Wonderful” – truly eye opening even to the diehard Panther fan.
Looking back across the colourful, thoughtful and endearing soundscape that is All You Can Eat, it really shapes up as an album without a single bad track on it. Now before you start thinking that means this is a perfect ten album, well, it’s not. Why? Well, simply because perfect scores should be reserved for flawless, genre defining, in-time-will-be-undeniable-classic albums. They are not something that should be handed out willy-nilly. That would be irresponsible. It is safe to say that All You Can Eat is everything that Balls Out should have been, and then some. Lock up your girlfriends, your mothers, and your daughters because Steel Panther are back in a very big way.
More from Steel Panther
- Lower the Bar [review]