There was a time when I used to like Steel Panther, which seemed increasingly strange to me the more I listened to All You Can Eat. When I was 14, admittedly, I probably used to find dick jokes funny, and there was probably something crudely interesting about Steel Panther and their authentic yet twisted take on hard rock. I’m only five years older now, but the time when music like this would evoke a snicker or a smile feels like a lifetime ago. Maybe that’s because I’ve grown up and Steel Panther have continued to refuse to do the same.
If you’ve listened to the band before, regardless of whether you enjoyed it or not, then you already know what to expect from All You Can Eat, a record that somehow manages to sink even further into depravity and only suffers because of it. It doesn’t differ massively from past work; in fact it doesn’t differ at all, so if you’re a fan of the band already then you’ll probably like their third record. However, if you were hoping All You Can Eat would mark a turning point, hang your head in shame, because this is Steel Panther and they only know vulgarity.
I bought Feel The Steel five years ago, I paid for it with real money that I earned from delivering papers, and in some way All You Can Eat and Steel Panther is partly my fault. I’m technically 0.000000001% (approx.) responsible for the bands continuation, and 99.99999999% of my being hates myself for it. I used to think it was cool that Eyes Of The Panther was featured on Skate 3, but if the weak Ten Strikes You’re Out was featured on Skate 4 I’d probably turn it off and listen to my avatar eat dirt instead, because it’d be massively preferable. It’s not that Steel Panther are bad musicians, they aren’t – in fact they’re pretty good, it’s just that their sound has grown stale very quickly. It’s a shame, because they know what they’re doing when it comes to writing and playing music. They also know how to put up a show, and their live reputation speaks for itself, but when it comes to putting out records, it all falls apart a bit because a live atmosphere differs massively from a studio one. Live, songs like Gloryhole are playful and sound huge, but on record they sound cheap and sleazy. Live, Steel Panther are a different beast entirely, but here they’re a bunch of 40-something dudes playing risque songs about dicks and vaginas. Take final track She’s On The Rag, which features the chorus lines ‘Now there’s blood on my hands, blood on my face, blood on my dick, all over the place, now I know she’s on the rag’. These are actually some of the mildest lyrics on the record, but see what I mean? All You Can Eat does have it’s moments though, and third track Gloryhole is cringeworthy yet strangely anthemic, whilst If I Was The King is as good as the record gets, even though it is self-indulgent twaddle for the most part.
Instrumentally, All You Can Eat is actually pretty good, with meaty riffs, guitar solos and head banging drums, but the lyrical content almost always detracts from any ounce of quality, and instead coats it all in a layer of filth that Michael Starr and co. seem more than willing to spew, and that makes me immensely sad. It means that the only appeal Steel Panther carry is their taboo factor, the knowledge that someone somewhere might take enjoyment from songs about jizz and prostitutes, and that also makes me immensely sad, because the ability the band have seems wasted. If Steel Panther tried to make a serious hard rock album it might actually turn out quite well, and hell, that’d an idea I can get behind, partly because I’d probably have nicer things to say if they did. If Steel Panther didn’t spend so much time writing about getting behind girls they could bring out something great. But they haven’t, and All You Can Eat falls flat. For a ‘comedy’ record it also isn’t particularly funny. It’s funny in the way that an old person falling over is funny, in that it’s only funny to those who find comedy in things that aren’t particularly funny. Admittedly, all comedy is subjective – some people hate Frankie Boyle’s Harvey Price jokes and some don’t. I don’t really mind them, and to an extent I don’t mind a lot of All You Can Eat - it just passed me by. However, I can’t help but wonder why people are still so willing to lap up this crap. I could somewhat tolerate Feel The Steel, but I’ve no time for All You Can Eat. In contrast it sounds forced, almost as if the band are trying to stoop to new lows. There was a weird sort of charm to their debut, but their third record is laughably childish. I listen to Feel The Steel in the same way that I listen to Hooray For Boobies, The Bloodhound Gang’s third record. That band were fairly enjoyable when they started out, but if they were to release a Hooray For Boobies Pt.2 tomorrow I’d probably hate it, because it would be almost impossible to take seriously. Steel Panther are The Bloodhound Gang’s creepier older brothers, which is odd for a group that came into fruition a few years after under the alias Metal Skool. With each new record Steel Panther lose even more credibility, and songs like Bukakke Tears and B.V.S are comedic for all the wrong reasons, meaning the only comedy a listener gets from the record is the opportunity to laugh at those who made it.
Steel Panther aren’t an important band, and they never really were. They were intriguing initially but now they’re irritable, and their music holds very little enjoyment at all because the gimmick is up. The band plays songs about sex in a way that few others (if any) do, and it’s become fairly pitiful. Sure, Steel Panther couldn’t care less (they wouldn’t still be a band if they did), but there’s no substantial reason to All You Can Eat, because it’s incredibly forgettable. Then again, Steel Panther also couldn’t care less about negative reviews, and by all accounts this has been a negative review that was mostly a rant. If you still like Steel Panther you’ll like this record. But for me, well, I couldn’t care less.
Rating – 3/10