Everyone’s favourite comedy band returns with their 6th album “On The Prowl” due out February 24, and the first since the departure of founding member and bass player Lexxi Fox.
Steel Panther have been around and doing their thing long enough to see most metalheads either love them or hate them. They satirise the hard rock/glam metal scene of California in the mid to late 80s and their rise in popularity over the years has seen them basically become the thing that makes fun of, starting out as a band who lovingly laughs at the arena rock excesses of the time to playing the main stage at Download in front of 100,000 people.
The sixth album On The Prowl opens with the raucous It’s Never Too Late (to get some pussy tonight), which provides exactly what you’d expect from Steel Panther. Driving drums, catchy riffs, comedic lyrics, and a very corny, hair metal vibe overall after a very 80’s sounding synth intro. It’s not too long and hits all the bases on its way around.
Next up is Friends With Benefits which is a bit more Metal and less Hard Rock. It has a drums and vocals verse and a big loud chorus with harmonised vocals. There’s a ripping solo by Satchel halfway through. Some of the joke lyrics are hot but some fall flat here as it’s essentially the same joke repeated but you don’t listen to Steel Panther for biting social commentary so I don’t see that as a problem for long-time fans.
On Your Instagram is an acoustic ballad about the downside of Insta-Filters and the truth they hide, which is unintentionally ironic considering the amount of plastic surgery, Botox, and make up the band members themselves have partaken in and the almost five-minute run time drags on a bit by the halfway mark but this seems like an attempt to make a real song out of a funny line they came up with and not just a silly throwaway joke but might have been better had they cut it down to 2 1/2 min.
Put My Money Where Your Mouth Is follows and is a kid-paced, rock track. There are some genuinely funny Crypto references here and some nice lead guitar work to open it up and a catchy as fuck bass line through the chorus.
1987 is up next, another ballad, and while the wheels don’t quite fall off here things definitely begin to get a little shaky. It’s full of references to the big 80’s metal/rock bands, opens with the line “Appetite For Destruction, blowin’ us all away, and Poison lookin’ so damn good, I wondered if I was gay”, exactly the kind of schoolboy humour you came here for, but it doesn’t take long for them to start to show their age and sound like cranky Boomers shaking their fists at those damn kids riding their damn skateboards. They complain “this bullshit snappy chats” and mention how all new bands are shit and kids can’t play instruments anymore. This may be them playing up to their audience but a bunch of old people angry at kids didn’t land as comedy for me I started off liking this one but wholly disliked it by the end.
Teleporter brings back the rock and the riffs and is pretty funny, Michael Starr telling us about various times he wished he could teleport out of an embarrassing situation like a fart becoming a shart and being caught mid-wank by your parents and the cheesy hard rock matches the silly lyrical vibes really well.
Is My Dick Enough is a little slower and a little catchier and presents the age-old dilemma of Boat size versus the motion in the ocean and has a nice bluesy verse and Def Leppard-sounding chorus.
Up next is Magical Vagina. It’s an 80s pop throwback with a clean picked guitar riff on the verse, and some really nice Tom work on the drums from Stix Zidinia but after that catchy start it never really kicks off and each line of the chorus has the word Vagina in twice and the chorus repeats a lot in this song so by the end the joke well and truly worn out and the sheer number times they repeat themselves made this one sound like all filler and no killer.
All That And More is heavier than most of the tracks here but still sits on the Hard Rock side of the fence as opposed to Heavy Metal, as does pretty much the whole album, and while the lyrics aren’t particularly hilarious, it’s got a great chorus riff and quiet coda that builds back into the final chorus run.
One Pump Chump is appropriately short, fast, and loud and the biggest banger on the album. It’s got a catchy riff that reminds me of those jazzy mid-sections you get in old Sabbath songs. There’s a nice breakdown section about a minute in with some sick guitar leads and by far my favourite song of this album.
Pornstar and Ain’t Dead Yet both follow and show the strength and weaknesses of Steel Panther as a band. Pornstar repeats the same joke in different ways and hits all the marks you’d expect from a power ballad from a band with tight pants and big hair without really being memorable while Ain’t Dead Yet has a self-deprecating theme running through its acoustic verse, heavy chorus format and shows that Steel Panther is at their best when they look inwards and show awareness of how silly they are while being proud of that fact and waxing their flag high. Pornstar was forgettable and repetitive while Ain’t Dead Yet is funny and stays in your mind with its genuinely funny look at aging rockers.
Lastly, we get Sleeping On The Rollaway, a fun hook filler rocker that opens with a nice staccato drum and guitar fill which comes back for the chorus and has some funny lines about being mooching if your friends. I think this might have been better in between the previous two songs to break up the ballads and would have made the excellent Aint Dead Yet the closer but I think Steel Panther would want to go out Rockin’ rather than Rollin’.
The production job here is great, the drums sound huge, and the guitar leads are in front of the mix and have excellent note clarity. A couple of times it was hard to make out the lyrics but when you listen to Steep Panther you’re trying to hear every single word to see if it’s funny so that wouldn’t be an issue with other bands and isn’t a big problem here at all.
Overall there are a few songs that hit hard but also a few that miss the mark entirely. I think this is an album made for existing fans rather than trying to win over new ones and shows a band that has been around for a long time firmly yet comfortably staying in their lane. Maybe not be the best starting point for someone who isn’t familiar with these guys but has everything a fan would want from a new Steel Panther record. 6.5/10
On The Prowl was produced by Steel Panther and is now available for pre-order in multiple configurations including CD, Cassette, and 2 different color variant vinyl records here: https://lnk.to/Panther_OTP.