Heavy metal has always enjoyed a healthy streak of self-mocking humour, especially in its spandex-clad 1980s pomp. Steel Panther recognise this, much like Spinal Tap, Tenacious D and The Darkness before them. But this California quartet satirise their source material with more bite and accuracy than most, possibly because they are highly skilled musicians with roots in Sunset Strip bands such as LA Guns and Rob Halford’s Fight.
Their polished second album is certainly a musical match for any of the hard-rocking legends it affectionately spoofs, from the Motley Crue-style sleaze-porn fantasy of 17 Girls In A Row to Judas Priest-flavoured punk-metal slammers like the self-explanatory It Won’t Suck Itself.
Their hilarious lyrics also contain more brilliantly profane sexual innuendo than an entire year of Viz: ‘Your balls are gonna end up in the rough,’ goes a line in the golf-themed Just Like Tiger Woods, before reminding us ‘three holes are better than a hole in one’.
Most rock-parody albums wear out their one-joke welcome pretty quickly, but these beautifully observed pastiches conceal a darker Bret Easton Ellis-style narrative about a purgatorial LA, full of infantilised, drug-damaged, middle-aged rockers with grotesquely abusive attitudes to women.
Behind their filthy jokes and killer tunes, the Panther have surprisingly sharp teeth.