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This album, the recorded debut of both Ron Keel and Yngwie Malmsteen, is truly a quality album. It's not going to be the best album of either of their catalogues, but it's solid melodic metal and hard rock that does not dissappoint.
One of the more interesting parts of how the record is constructed is where Yngwie is placed in the grand scheme of the album. The man, though being truly a six-string legend even here, seems a little bit unsure of himself and human. The riffs of the album of are fairly simplistic but very effective. They aren't the Yngwie fret-fests that we would come to expect from the man three or four years down the line, but is instead Yngwie truly playing WITH his band members, instead of in front of them. Having said that, the solos present are still top-notch and definitely in the man's signature style (More hard rock than classical though). The exception is the first three minutes of "Hot On Your Heels" which is a massive solo that is first played with what sounds like a spanish guitar and then moves to electric. Those three minutes wouldn't have sounded at all out of place on "Rising Force". Classic fret-burning.
Also, Ron Keel is very much in front and very much... human. his voice is far from perfect but that gives the delivery a certain campy, truly 80's metal charm. The lyrics are cliched cheese in it's best possible form and the delivery just makes it hat much more fun. Ron would be much more mature as a vocalist by the time he would release "Lay Down The Law", but here his lack of maturity gives the record both a sense of urgency and a sense of fun.
Rik Fox and Mark Edwards both od a solid job in the rythm section, keeping the whole enterprise together and cohesive. Fox truly proves how much he would come to deserve his later posting in the legendary W.A.S.P.
Ultimately, if you like urgent, catchy, fun 80's metal, you can't go wrong with this one. Highly Recommended.
Best cuts: Backseat Driver, On The Rox, Down To The Wire
As we all know, the important Steeler self titled album was a landmark, notsomuch as in the music as in the start of the legendary Shrapnel label and the debut of a Scandinavian guitar virtuoso we'll just call Yngwie.
The album itself is interesting, with future country musician Ron ("Lee") Keel as the frontman and unheralded Mark Edwards on drums and Rik Fox on bass. The music is decent, performed in a style that would become more popular in the mainstream as the decade unfolded. The songs aren't quite AS light as the diet metal fare that dominated the airwaves (and tainted heavy metal music with an image it is still desperately trying to shake) but it's a starting reference point.
A definite highlight is the song "Hot On Your Heels", which is mostly notable for an extended Malmsteen solo that I consider among his best, and the rest of the song being one of the stronger tracks on display here. The songwriting is decent, but the major detriment being Ron Keel's mediocre and unmemorable vocal performance.
For a band named after a famous Judas Priest song, don't expect a similar sound here. Though the album is remembered more as a historical document than a metal record, it's worth picking up for Malmsteen diehards and people looking for an enjoyable lite-metal romp. Headbang away, just as long as your metalhead friends aren't watching.
This record is a true landmark record- it started Ron Keel off his way on Keel, and certainly gave Yngwie Malmsteen a way to become recognized as the neo-classical genious he was. Only a year after the record came out, Yngwie released his own titled album "Rising Force" and Ron Keel had gotten off to his band Keel, which sounds like Steeler only with alittle less agressiveness on song topics and guitar parts. The vocals are high strung and very agressive, perfect for the band. The guitar playing is fast, loud and agressive. The song "No Way Out" and "Cold Day in Hell" are probibly the landmark songs of this album, and any songs written by Malmsteen you can tell, they were written by Malmsteen- this record has a little bit of Neo-Classical influence to it, with a mix of 80s agressive metal. The song "Hot on Your Heels" has possibly one of the fastest guitar pieces Yngwie has ever played, even if you are only a fan of Malmsteen and Neo-Classical this record will please you. And If you are a fan of bands like Hexx, Keel, Dokken, Yngwie Malmsteen or just straight up 80s metal, this record will certainly not dissapoint. Hard to find, and Hard not to crank in your car.