Steeler (Shrapnel Records) 1983
There are two well known bands with the Steeler name. This Steeler is from the U.S. and featured Ron Keel and Yngwie Malmsteen. The debut from Los Angeles heavy metal quartet Steeler was nothing short of spectacular for it's time. The song writing has that typical, early 80's, Los Angels heavy metal sound, but what makes it really stand out from the pack is the Swedish import that the band had on guitar. Steeler was Yngwie Malmsteen's official introduction to the U.S., and really the world. It opened up doors for the influential guitarist. I know it made of fan of me. Apparently Malmsteen was flown in at the last minute by producer Mike Varney to finish the album after the songs had already been written (by bandleader/lead singer Ron Keel) and recorded; Malmsteen quickly added his tracks and Steeler was released. Of particular note is Yngwie's stunning and unaccompanied guitar solo introduction to "Hot on Your Heels," which offers a survey of Malmsteen's Bach and Paganini-inspired soloing ideas. Steeler showcased a young Yngwie who was hungry for success and set on proving himself.
However, Steeler was not the Yngwie Malmsteen show. Ron Keel's song writing, while typical of the times, was also hook laden and well written. His vocals, while un-exceptional, fit the music well, with the possible exception of "Serenade" which never sat well with me. On bass was Rik Fox who had previously been W.A.S.P.'s bassist, and according to Rik ,even came up with the name Wasp for the band. Rik also performed with Hellion, among others. Drummer Mark Edwards moved on with Keel to perform with the band Keel. Having been a fan of this band early on, there is a lot of nostalgia attached to this album. In retrospect, Steeler may not have been a spectacular release, but for those of us who were there at the time and were part of the scene at the time, it was groundbreaking and our introduction to the Swedish guitar virtuoso.