Review Summary: Rock out with your cock out.
Remember The Darkness? They were (and now ARE, since they reformed recently) a British retro hard rock band with a tongue-in-cheek sense of humor about their music. They were essentially a modern-day Queen with more emphasis on laughs and quite a bit less on musical quality. One could be forgiven for initially thinking that Steel Panther is the American equivalent to The Darkness, but this band goes further. They don't just place subtle sexual references and mildly offensive lyrics... no, they are very upfront, with topics ranging from dicks, tits, hookers, cocaine, and the like.
And does the music have to suffer from any of this? Nope. Steel Panther may be parodying glam metal, but their modern production and extra-heavy edge makes them far more entertaining to listen to than any Poison or Warrant song I've ever listened to. Additionally, the band members seem more skillful at their instruments, particularly guitarist Satchel. It's also hard to believe that vocalist Michael Starr is still able to belt it out so well in his mid-to-late 40's. Lexxi Foxxx and Stix Zadania do a commendable job in the rhythm section as well.
What better opener could there be than "Death to All but Metal" for an album like this? The song sees the band yearning for the old days of 80's metal bands and basically deriding more modern acts like 50 Cent. The whole song is hilarious, and the double bass drumming and extra guitar distortion make this one of the heaviest songs on the album. It's not like "Asian Hooker" tones things down either... the song is exactly what the title says: going to Asia and fucking a bunch of hookers, all while getting high. Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian gives the song a nice heavy groove, while the Asian synthesizer effect makes the humor all the more present.
Unfortunately, there's a bit of a dull patch in the middle... "Fat Girl" and "Party All Day (Fuck All Night)" aren't bad songs, but they're not really as memorable. The former is a power ballad that is only funny in certain places before the joke wears thin, and at over 4 minutes, the "fat" premise gets a bit old. The latter, while it has Justin Hawkins making a cameo, is also a bit boring, following the Bon Jovi premise a little too closely. The solo is also a bit bland and could have brought more variety to the table.
Fortunately, the last four songs REALLY pick up the pace. "Turn Out the Lights", while quite morbid, is a fantastic rocker with surprisingly solid guest vocals from Avenged Sevenfold frontman M. Shadows. Also notable is album closer "Girl from Oklahoma", which is an all-acoustic ballad complete with a Latin-flavored solo from Satchel. However, the sentimental feel is obviously played for irony as Micheal sings about a groupie "sucking his balls all night". The song is a BRILLIANT way to finish the album.
There have been many sub-par comedy albums, mainly stemming from boring crude humor that's been played a thousand times. Thankfully, Steel Panther is willing to pick up the torch with something fresh... and for that, we should be very grateful.