Steel Panther is back! Their newest album Lower the Bar has finally arrived. March 24th, 2017 is a date that has been circled on my calendar for a long time. It’s been three years since their last studio album, All You Can Eat, and a year since their live album, Live From Lexxi’s Mom’s Garage. As the torch bearers for the best kind of music ever made (80’s heavy metal), Steel Panther have a lot to live up to.
Kicking things off with “Goin’ in the Back Door” and “Anything Goes”, these pair of opening tracks light the fire and bring the thunder with catchy riffs and trademark Satchel guitar solos, setting the stage for the rest of the album. With 11 songs on the disc, Lower the Bar is no pale offering to the heavy metal Gods. Now on their fourth studio album, Steel Panther show they are not afraid to continue to push the boundaries of the genre and improve their sound.
One thing that is apparent early on is the sound quality, especially apparent in the guitar and bass tones of Satchel and Lexxi. The bass feels big and punchy, while the guitar has satisfying amount of saturation, without being too clipped, which several bands have suffered from recently. Ok, enough nerd stuff, back to the music.
“Poontang Boomerang” was the first single to be released, and several weeks into listening, it still holds its own. This track stands out due to its groovy feel, and completely ridiculous music video. “That’s When You Came In” was the new track on Live from Lexxi’s Mom’s Garage, and is even better on this album, benefiting from some layering in the acoustic section and more electric guitar work from Satchel. This is also one of the songs that proves just how talented the members of the band are as musicians. Vocal harmonies and guitar parts reminiscent of bands like Mr. Big add great depth to this possibly radio friendly track.
“Now The Fun Stars” might be my favorite song on this album. Lexxi nails an amazingly melodic bassline as Michael comes in to blow away listeners with his powerful vocals, this track has shades of Steelheart’s “We All Die Young.” “Walk of Shame” is a great way to end the album, showing off Satchel’s ability to play some heavy metal blues, Michael Star’s ability to write hilarious a catchy lyrics, and Stix’s tight grooves.
All in all, Lower the Bar is well worth the price. This band is more than simple homage to a decade of bitchin’ music. They are truly talented musicians putting out phenomenal music album after album, continuing to carry the mantle of ’80s heavy metal into the current era. The lyrics have returned to a more fun, subtle level, rather than the extremely explicit content on Balls Out, which I think is a plus. I give this album a 10/10, and I can’t wait to see them for the 10th time at Starland Ballroom on April 8th. I’ll be the guy dressed in snake skin tights trying to guitar battle Satchel.
Rating: 10 out of 10