L.A.-based band Steel Panther bring back the fun of the 1980's Glam bands to a whole new generation with the look, sound and feel of the Sunset Strip days and in some ways just as good maybe even better. When Feel The Steel was released in 2009, I couldn't stop listening to it, the songs were catchy, fun and melodic and it was one of my favorite albums that year. Two years later Steel Panther release their follow up album, the promising Balls Out. I wouldn't say it's quite the same level as Feel The Steel but Balls Out continues with the same humor and elements that made love the band to begin with, so no sophomore slump here thankfully. A solid second album all the way through. I loved the first album so much I feared that the second time around the jokes would be tired or perhaps not as funny or maybe the music wouldn't be up to par with the debut but from the first listen my fears and doubts vanished completely. The Panther is back bringing metal to the masses. I already have a few favorites in songs like "17 Girls In A Row", "If You Really, Really Love Me", "Tomorrow Night" and "Let Me Come In".
"In The Future" is basically Balls Out's version of Motley Crue's "In The Beginning" piece which opened their classic Shout At The Devil album. When the voice says "In the year 6969..."you know where things are headed (no puns intended). "Supersonic Sex Machine" is album's first real song and it gets things off to a rocking start, a good fast and energetic rocker. Not a standout but still a pretty good and fun song. "17 Girls In A Row" is instantly catchy even with its at times absurd lyrics. This is a nominee for best song of the album, everything works for this song: the vocal delivery, the lyrics...and that riff!"If You Really, Really Love Me" is a slow rocker that borders power ballad territory and it may be the best song of the album. It's catchy and everything Steel Panther preaches and stands for, plus it's probably the one I play most. I love the gang vocals on "Gold Digging Whore". "Let Me Come In" is another favorite, I love the build up to the breakdown and the fury that is unleashed afterwards terrific energy I love it. Balls Out ends on soft yet high note with the closing ballad "Weenie Ride". It's a soft piano-driven ballad that's a highlight for its cleverly dirty lyrics ("All you gotta is ditch your boyfriend and give sexy Michael Starr a call...")Feel The Steel had some guest appearance from people like Scott Ian (Anthrax), Corey Taylor (Slipknot) and M Shadows (Avenged Sevenfold). Balls Out features less appearances but Chad Kroeger (Nickelback), love him or hate him has a pretty cool spot on "It Won't Suck Itself".
I'm amazed that Steel Panther managed to come up once again with a full album's worth of sexual humor, drug jokes and powerful music to back it up and that it all works out perfectly for the second time. Satchel's guitar work on the album is terrific, the riffs the solos he comes up with, he really shines on this album and is the key. Michael Starr's voice sounds better than on the first album, even if it already sounded great. Stixx Zadinia proves once more to be a very competent drummer with some excellent drum work and fills. Lexxxi Foxxxis just happy to look good and play bass.
Some of my friends aren't fans of the Glam/Hair bands like I am but they still find something to like in Steel Panther. Even Anthrax's Scott Ian said he hated all the Glam bands but he loves Steel Panther and thinks Feel The Steel is an amazing album (he contributed guitars on "Asian Hooker" too). There are people who call Steel Panther a joke band etc, saying that the band is immature and so on but the music is great and they're a fun band to listen to, although I will admit their kind of humor is not for everyone and some won't "get it". I get a lot more enjoyment out of this "joke" band than most of today's music to be honest. If you enjoyed their first album I really don't see why you wouldn't like this one, its once more great metal sprinkled with some fun crude humor done quite well. Feel The Steel blew me away in 2009, I wasn't prepared. Balls Out is very close, a great album on its own and the band delivers the second time around with the songs still being funny and rockin', 4/5. NOT for the easily offended.