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Review: Q5 - Steel the Light
Steel the Light

Label: Music For Nations
Year released: 1985
Originally released in: 1984
Duration: 37:00
Tracks: 9
Genre: Heavy Metal

Rating: 4/5

Review online: July 31, 2016
Reviewed by: MetalMike
Readers Rating
Steel the Light

Rated 4.5/5 (90%) (8 Votes)

Q5 is a Seattle, WA.-based Hard Rock/Heavy Metal band that started in the early 80s with a bit of a "leg up" on their peers. Most of the members arrived via the short-lived band TKO, but one of the founding guitarists was Floyd Rose, the man who invented the "Floyd Rose locking tremolo," a device that allows a guitarist to really lay into the whammy bar during a solo without putting the instrument out of tune. Rock and Metal may have sounded much different today without this invention, but enough of the history lesson. Q5 was one of my initial "discoveries" back in the day and since they haven't been reviewed for The Metal Crypt yet, here goes.

The band's debut, Steel the Light, was originally released by the band's Albatross Productions label back in 1984, a time when the genres we know today were just starting to evolve and the distinction between "Heavy Metal" and "Hard Rock" was not clear. A lot of the things that would define Metal are present including the high, screaming vocals, crunchy riffs and a fair amount of speed. Also present is some bright and bluesy songwriting as well as "lighter" lyrics that are more in line with the Hard Rock of the early 80s. The "A" side of the album (or, in my case, cassette) kicks far more ass than the "B" side with the speedy, pre-Power Metal anthem "Missing in Action" greeting your ears first. "Lonely Lady" has an almost Crimson Glory feel despite the lyrics while the title track is cut from the early Dio cloth with its slow, simmering tempo. The highlight of the album is clearly "Pull the Trigger," a song about dueling hit men, with a tremendous riff and piercing vocal lines. This is easily one of the best Heavy Metal songs of the 80s, if not of all time. The quality of the second half of the album drops considerably, though "Ain't No Way to Treat a Lady" and "Teenage Runaway" are fun, pre-glam U.S. Metal rockers and the ballad has its moments.

All in all, Steel the Light is an imperfect yet worthy "classic" from the early 80s that has been reissued many times over the years and can be found quite easily. I am reviewing the version re-released by Music for Nations in 1985, which I bought on cassette in that year, using the dubiously legitimate Old Metal Records CD reissue (one that is woefully devoid of extras). Regardless of which version you can lay your hands on, any fan of the early output from bands like Dio, Krokus, Helix, etc. should have this in their collection and with a new album out in 2016, here's hoping for more songs like "Pull the Trigger."

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