New Album Review
Some say that “hair metal” (or “butt rock” or “mullet music” – take your pick) fizzled out when Nirvana topped the charts with Nevermind in 1991. But thankfully one band has repeatedly failed to get the message. This week, DeäthPänel releases a new album – their first since 2010’s masterpiece Spleen Crusher, and their 14th since 2009’s Your Fist or Mine? Their new offering, Hot Tube o’ Goo, represents a significant step forward on multiple fronts. For starters, they have added a third chord to their repertoire – probably A-minor – and it adds richness to epic guitar workouts like opening track “The Vagina Dialogues.” Lead guitarist Mick Simmons has reportedly been taking online lessons, and has nearly mastered the first eight bars of “Stairway to Heaven.” This dedication to his craft shines through during the intricate, almost touching, acoustic guitar break in first single “Touch My Left Nut with your Right Butt.”
But it’s not only the music that has reached a new level of sophistication. The lyrics have improved immeasurably over previous albums. Lead singer/lyricist Spike Vader recently married top pre-op transsexual model Danni Forrest, after a whirlwind courtship, but had the marriage annulled the next day, citing “irreconcilable differences.” This experience clearly touched Vader deeply and his anguished cries can be heard in the lyrics to the tender ballad “Shafted by Surprise”:
You looked so good in your low-cut dress,
your husky voice in my ears.
Didn’t notice the stubble in each caress,
Guess I’d had too many beers.
Hot Tube represents a new clarity of purpose for DeäthPänel, and the real hero may be drummer Skins Murphy, who overcame a crippling heroin habit prior to the start of recording. While not exactly clean and sober (he still huffs a mixture of kerosene and Portland cement) his devotion to maintaining a consistent, heavy beat almost all the way through every song brings life to what could have descended into a stagnant pool of metal sludge. Instead, the album reaches new heights of three-ish chord metal splendor. Highly recommended.