"The bad: the songs on this album are the typical "C" class metal that was out in the Los Angeles club scene in the early 80's. Yngwie's solos don't even fit the songwriting style. The songs are based on the typical power chords with neo-classical solos blazing through the progressions. The album does encapsulate that period of time though, and that alone might be of some interest.
The good: Yngwie's first studio album. Yngwie's amazing guitar work on the intro to "Hot on Your Heels". Yngwie gives us a glimpse of the runs that we eventually hear on his later work as well as some great runs that we never hear again.
In short, buy it if you're big Yngwie fan. Otherwise, it's not worth the $$. "
trebe | 05/27/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Before embarking on a solo career that would heavily influence technical guitar playing in the 80's, Sweedish guitar virtuoso, Yngwie Malmsteen broke into the American metal scene in a band called Steeler. Fronted by singer/guitarist Ron Keel, the band also included drummer Mark Edwards and bass player Rik Fox. This is a rare opportunity to hear a youthful Malmsteen play straight-ahead American style metal. Performing material primarily written by others, Malmsteen displays solid rhythm guitar chops, playing in a style very different from his future solo efforts. Only during his solos, or fills, do we recognize his singular playing style. Restrained, and trying to express himself within the context of the band, Malmsteen's playing is perhaps his most accessible, and memorable as well.While Yngwie's presence makes this recording significant, the material more than stands on its own musical merit. Solid songwriting is evident throughout. In arguably his finest recorded performance, vocalist Ron Keel shines, succeeding in keeping his high pitched screeches under control. Cold Day in Hell is a great opening tune, with Keel delivering a rock solid vocal. Yngwie is all over this tune, riffing over a solid backbeat. His solo is a deadly combination of rapid fire runs, vibrato, trilling and harmonics. Backseat Driver is another crunching rocker, with more soaring Keel vocals. Yngwie sounds terrific, playing some conventional riffs, until breaking loose at the end for some flash guitar.Malmsteen hits full stride on No Way Out. After a brief classical guitar intro, the song settles into a steady groove. Keel's menacing, somewhat muffled vocals, keep the mood somber, amid the power chords. Malmsteen's midsong solo is a classic example of his fluid streaming style, while his emotional outro solo, displays his melodic vibrato. While Ron Keel is given writing credits for Hot on Your Heels, there is no doubt that Yngwie Malmsteen is responsible for much of music in the composition. The instrumental intro section is definitely all Yngwie. Transitioning to the vocal part of the song, Keel's voice fuels the metal mayhem, on the album's fastest song. Malmsteen is unleashed fury on a killer solo just before the finish.The instrumental Abduction, serves as a transition piece to On the Rox, a solid in your face rocker. The main riff is simple but effective, though the solo section doesn't quite mesh with the rest of the song.Down to the Wire, is one the band's better efforts, with Keel's vocal delivery right on the mark. Malmsteen's guitar is tasteful, playing to the beat. His solo is clear, and cuts with speed that kills.The song quality dips with Born to Rock, a tune that sounds like it belongs on one of Ron Keel's post Steeler solo efforts. Even Yngwie can't save this one. Definitely the album's low point.The band finishes strong, with the moody finale, Serenade. The song opens with some beautiful acoustic guitar, and a restrained Ron Keel puts real passion into the number. Yngwie cuts loose for some heavy extended solos to close out the album.Steeler's lone recording, was a product of Mike Varney's Shrapnel Records. The label specialized in promoting progressive metal acts. For fans of Yngwie Malmsteen, this recording provides an interesting look at the guitarist, playing music in a style not of his own choosing. Altering his playing to fit, Malmsteen still displays some heavy-duty chops, and blazing guitar solos, delivered at a speed that had not been heard previously. After a brief stint with another band (Alcatrazz), Yngwie Malmsteen would then launch his solo career, with the groundbreaking release, Rising Force. Thus initiating the neo classical shred movement in the 80's. And the rest, as they say is history."
An early flex of the Yngwie stratocastor!
Paul Lawrence | Australia | 08/21/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Lets state the bleeding obvious from the word go. Only two types of people are going to think of buying this. Yngwie fans and Ron Keel devotees and methinks there ain't many of the latter. Anyhow as a sort of archive document of the young Yngwies career this isn't a bad curio for fans to pick up. A few pertinent points would be:
There are a few awesome solos here, Yngwie being able to blow so many others off the stage at the drop of a hat, the instrumental track being a case in point, as is the solo of On the Rox.
The actual bulk of the album is fairly numbskull stuff - as one reviewer remarked 'Keel has little to say except how ready to rock he is'.
Malmsteen gets a writing credit on only two tracks; No Way Out and Abduction, most of the rest being written by Keel and drummer Mark Edwards (both of whom presumably get royalties to this day due to Yngwies devotees buying this album).
As for an album to buy for historical value for Yngwie fans, hey jump in as the material is more mainstream rock than most of Malsteens solo stuff so it's a little different. But as a general album of hard rock, well it's great for playing on you car stereo down the highway but in the cold hard light of day this is only an average album. Formative tunes for both Keel and Malmsteen."
80's Metal Scene Steeler
cd-heaven | ROCK CITY | 03/02/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If tiny American record label Shrapnel records is ever remembered for anything, it is this album! This album smokes from first note to last! Yngwie Malmsteen sounds so fresh, lively, invigorated, and influential on this and his guitar playing and solos are among some of the best in his 20 plus year career. To set the record straight, Malmsteen rocks on this. Of course, Ron Keel is at the top of his game too! Boy could he sing. Sounding like a cross between Geoff Tate and Halford, he has a set of metal pipes, and easily blows away alot of early 80's metal singers. Speaking of which, this was released in 1983, just before glam hit, well does Quiet Riot count?, but easily up their with classic early Crue, Scorps, early 80's Priest, this should have be considered for a NWOAHM movement.
New Wave of American Heavy Hetal! Finally, thank you to Sharpnel for continuing to keep this in print!"
Heavy Metal at his best
Bruno A. Seidemann | Chile | 02/05/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a great heavy metal gem from the 80's. Don't be fooled by all the self called "true metalhead" that hate Ron Keel because his country phase. He was one of the greatest singers of the eighties, and this record proves it. This band should have been big. Just listen the record and you will undertand my point. The songs are great. This is straight heavy metal direct to your veins. The guitar riffs are amazing (great work Yngwie). The Album is pure history, you gotta have it. Check out the song "no way out"."