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Steel The Light

Albatross Productions (1984)
Rating: 10/10

Yes, yet another band that was first brought to the attention of the world’s headbanging public by Metal Forces, delivers the goods with a storming debut album.

There’s been much praise in these pages recently for fellow Northwest rockers TKO, and Q5 certainly deserve as much if not more glorifying, because in my opinion Steel The Light is one of the best hard rock albums ever. Strong words, I hear you say, from a scribe who swears by the metallic bible of Metallica, Exciter, Slayer, Anthrax, Exodus and the like. Well, though I’ll admit my first love when it comes to metal is of the “thrash oriented” kind, I can still appreciate a good hard rock band when I hear one, and Seattle’s Q5 are certainly something special.

Musically, the band are in the same vein as TKO, which is none too surprising when you consider that Rick Pierce (guitar), Evan Sheeley (bass) and Gary Thompson (drums) have all served time in the TKO ranks. Guitarist extraordinaire, Floyd Rose and vocalist Jonathan K. complete the talented Q5 line-up. I wonder what happened to singer Scott Palmerton from the band’s demo? Or is he and J.K. one and the same person? They do sound similar, after all.

Anyway onto the album, which opens up with a real blaster in the shape of ‘Missing In Action’; heads down no nonsense assault with its catchy riff and harmony vocals that ooze true class. A classic? Well, of course; the album’s full of them. My personal faves are the boppy commercial ‘Lonely Lady’ and the title track, where the band sounds like a classier version of Survivor.

If it’s kick-ass rock you want, then look no further than ‘Teenage Runaway’ or ‘Pull The Trigger’, where Q5 match the aforementioned TKO punch for punch (and come out winners in my book), and piss all over the likes of the much hyped Quiet Riot.

The very commercial rocker ‘Ain’t No Way To Treat A Lady’ is the track with obvious single potential. While the ballad, ‘Come And Gone’, is just brilliant but strictly for romantics. ‘Rock On’ and the moody ‘In The Night’ complete the track listing for one of the best packages of hard rock ever assembled on vinyl.

“TKO are the kings of the whole fuckin’ universe,” proclaimed Dave Reynolds in Metal Forces #6. There can surely be no such boundaries for Q5.

Bernard Doe

Review taken from Metal Forces, Issue 7 (1984)

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