In case you're wondering, despite what VH1's Behind the Music might have you believe, hair metal is still alive and kicking. Unfortunately, it's more lowbrow than ever, thanks to L.A.'s Steel Panther. Taking debauchery to the next level for their debut, Feel the Steel, Steel Panther gather inspiration from Warrant, Poison, and Mötley Crüe as they pretend to be a metal group with two primal desires: rocking faces and scoring chicks. Metal satire is a well-traveled road, with Bad News, Spinal Tap, and Tenacious D all taking their respective turns portraying lunkheaded metalheads. Likewise, onetime L.A. Guns frontman Ralph Saenz (playing the part of "Michael Starr") does his best impression of an egotistical David Lee Roth/Bret Michaels type who dedicates 50 percent of his time on the microphone to objectifying women ("Fat Girl [Thar She Blows]") and the other half to boasting about his appendage. It's a convincing act, as is the performance by the rest of the band (drummer Stix Zadinia, bassist Lexxi Foxxx, and lead guitarist Satchel), with their textbook Hit Parader shredding and spot-on attention to '80s production details. Metal references fly out of every corner, with nods to the Def Leppard ultra-processed "whoa oh" sound, Richie Sambora's "Bad Medicine" guitar talk box intro, and a slapping acoustic ode to Extreme's definitive power ballad, "More Than Words." Steel Panther's ability to create songs that sound like they came from 1987 is commendable. That's about as close to clever as it gets, though. As David St. Hubbins said, "It's such a fine line between stupid and clever," and Saenz's locker-room humor wears thin quickly. Even cameos from Slipknot's Corey Taylor, Anthrax's Scott Ian, Nelson's Matt Nelson, the Donnas' Allison Robertson and Brett Anderson, and the Darkness' frontman Justin Hawkins can't keep the same dick joke interesting for 40 minutes straight.
Feel the Steel Review
by Jason Lymangrover