Parody: a body of work that pokes fun at another piece of work or shine it in a humorous light.
Satire: a stinging comment on a body of work whilst portraying it in a humorous or sarcastic tone.
With that said (and stretching too far for a reach-around), how do you make glam metal relevant again when it’s 30 years past its heyday? You take all the excess and hedonistic allure associated with the scene and transform it into something so ridiculously over the top, so tongue-in-cheek that it puts the ‘shock’ back into ‘shock rock’. The parody band from Los Angeles – the proverbial home of the ’80s glam metal scene and hedonistic culture – has produced yet another album full of the smut and overindulgence, as the untamed masses demanded.
What catches you off guard about Steel Panther is how straight-forward and consistent they are about having fun and just being unapologetically goofy whilst being entertaining with their brand of satirical cock rock. Sure, there’s not much that can be taken away from a song using several colourful euphemisms about anal sex (the first song on ‘Lower The Bar’) but it must be said that Steel Panther is something of a significant novelty band: a group that is blatant, but without being deliberately political, whilst presenting a level of amusement that squeals ‘shock value’, not unlike a yuppie doing lines off a tattoo of Mr T on the pert rear of a hooker from Hong Kong (you get the general idea).
Listening to ‘Lower The Bar’ you instantly recognize who is playing; it’s not a case of that there’s a lack of glam metal bands out there but simply that Steel Panther plays to their strengths and they know their demographic well; they play a style of glam that has you remembering bands like Mötley Crüe, Poison and Whitesnake, with a little Warrant jammed in there like an overly enthusiastic dwarf with an unbirthing fetish (do NOT google this).
What can be expected from ‘Lower The Bar’ you ask? You will hear a little more polish than heard on previous albums, less guitar solos but some clever lyrics (the word “clever” is used generously in the context of this review). This album is nothing new from the band that adores talking about its drug usage, sexual exploits and asshattery – the stuff you read in all those gutter rags? All true.
Steel Panther belt out the meta-irony like an attorney with a speed problem, and then some, as the riffs stumble and sprint between hard rock and power ballads; there’s a comfortable mix of elements on the album and it’s a safe bet to say that there’s something for everyone. Much like the album title implies, the bar has been lowered to the point that the only person that can get under it is a Russian gymnast who decided to pick up limbo dancing and enjoyed oiling her shins.
‘Lower The Bar’ – released through Kobalt Music Recordings – continues the melodic bonehead antics of metal’s most obnoxious glam act that persists in drawing crowds. Their cover of Cheap Trick’s “She’s Tight” is a stroke of genius as the song fits snugly into their arsenal of not-so-subtle songs that contribute to their image whilst not being too obvious (lyrics-wise). Steel Panther remain as fun and energetic, and their latest output is as annoying as it is catchy. The only part of the album you will regret is the walk of shame at the end of the night after exposing your taste in music to friends.
‘Lower the Bar’ track listing:
Steel Panther are:
Michael Starr – Lead vocals, backing vocals
Satchel – Lead, rhythm and acoustic guitars, backing vocals
Lexxi Foxx – Bass guitar, backing vocals
Stix Zadinia – Drums, percussion, backing vocals
Steel Panther online: