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www.therockpit.net Steel-Panther-Balls-Out-CD-review-Oct-2011

Steel Panther
BALLS OUT
Universal/Republic, 2011

 

 

By Shane Pinnegar

 

The bad boys of modern spandex-clad hair metal are back and they aren’t pulling their punches on this album any more than they did on their “Feel The Steel” debut. Steel Panther open their second opus with – quelle surprise - a smutty little intro, before tearing into an 80’s era Judas Priest-ish tarmac burner in ‘Supersonic Sex Machine’.

 

First single ’17 Girls In A Row’ follows ‘Just Like Tiger Woods’, both featuring fiery riffs and hard-to-shake melodies, and it’s clear that Michael Starr, Satchel, Lexxi Foxx and Stix Zadinia have honed their songwriting skills in the couple of years since their debut, and – tellingly – the jokes are better, not written at the expense of those super catchy, anthemic choruses and ultra-catchy melodies.

 

For proof, go no further than one of the album highlights ‘It Won’t Suck Itself’, featuring some tasty shredding from Nuno Bettencourt and a couple of verses from Nickelback mainman Chad Kroeger. With the band tapping into a Van Halen sound, once again Jay Ruston’s production comes to the fore – bright, warm and sparkly without sacrificing any of the meaty heaviness of these anthems-in-waiting.

 

There are still plenty of stylistically perfect referential nods to the big bands of the genre – bands like Van Halen and Def Leppard, who used to define “heavy metal” way back when (as impossible as it is to think of these bands as METAL now, I'm serious, I was there!). Lyrically of course, Steel Panther are not for the faint hearted: feminists especially will be horrified and offended by the lyrical content, and the PMRC might spontaneously combust if forced to listen from start to finish. But of course, it’s just a joke – right down to the gratuitous sex, drugs n’ rock n’ roll clichés, and a damn funny one in my book.

 

Closing the album out with quintessential smut-rocker ‘Let Me Come In’ and ‘Home Sweet Home’-ish uber-ballad ‘Weenie Ride’ provides an interesting ONE-TWO punch, and like the rest of “Balls Out”, it works really well.

 

The best part of “Balls Out” is that the jokes don’t detract from the fun - or the integrity - of the SONGS. I always skip two or three tunes when I play “Feel The Steel” nowadays, but after a few listens I can’t see myself doing that on this album.

 

In a nutshell, “Balls Out” does exactly what it says on the cover – this is Steel Panther going balls out with stronger songs, catchier melodies, funnier jokes, better performances, and y’all better watch out ‘cos I don’t think they’re gonna stop til they've seen a million faces, and rocked them all. Oh, and banged loads of chicks. Long may they go “Balls Out”!