Panther's six-song EP begins with the sounds of a revving motorcycle and embodies depraved outlaw fantasy to the point of caricature. The band members sport stage names like Siberian Tigress and Chrome Bones, and the lyrics and song titles obsess over whiskey, speed and leather. But if the Madison metal band is just a gang of leather-clad oafs, you wouldn't know it from Speed Bitch Motor Fuck's lean, exhilarating execution.
Panther's distinctive attack borrows just enough from the right places. Tigress leads the title track with high-pitched vocal retches reminiscent of black metal, but the band avoids that genre's poetic fussiness. The record overall has the scuzzy feel of crust punk, but is way too incisive to be lumped in with that category, too. Bassist Nitro X, guitarist Bones and drummer Abrandon All Hope (since replaced by Nick Stix) drive the rhythms in the direction of Motörhead and '80s thrash.
Determined as they are to keep up the tempo and burn any potential fat off the songs, Panther find room for some gratuitous metal fun, from the billowing cymbal crashes of "Leather Rider" to the squiggly, squealing guitar leads of "Ride Fight Fuck." The band also reminds us that good hard rock is above all catchy, especially with the throttling riff of "Panther" and the Iron Maiden-like chug of "Whiskey Mama."