KEEL – Lay Down The Law [remastered CD reissue] digipak
When in the early 80s Steeler, fronted by Ron Keel, broke up after Swedish guitar phenom Yngwie Malmsteen left to join Alcatrazz, frontman Ron Keel began assembling KEEL, a hand-picked line-up of great playing
musicians that included guitarists Marc Ferrari and Bryan Jay, drummer Bobby Marks and bassist Kenny Chaisson. The band’s first album “Lay Down The Law” appeared via Shrapnel Records until Keel got signed by a major label.
“Lay Down The Law” never had a legitimate CD release and has been previously only been issued on cassette and vinyl, until Shrapnel put out this Digipak version few years ago with the album remastered from the original master tapes.
Holly cow, this record still sounds awesome today, dated with that huge reverb, but that’s the magic of it.
The album kicks off with cheap lightning sound effects followed by a cymbal count in and a badass riff. That’s when I first heard Ron Keel scream. Sure he’d sung on Steeler, but his voice had grown 1000x more effective in the short year in between that album and this one. Such an unholy wail could not come from the lungs of an ordinary, could it? That scream triggers something primal within you and makes you feel like the most powerful man on the world. The song has a nice chorus and some good soloing.
The next two tracks continue the intensity. Taking a hint from Judas Priest, Keel strengthens the riffs and ups the wailing on his band’s debut album, and it works tremendously.
The delivers the obligatory ballad in “Princess of Illusion” driven by a pleasant melody, but soon the album pick up the peace with the metallic “Born Ready” and the anthemic “Metal Generation”.
“‘Til Hell Freezes Over” is a fine midtempo rocker not exactly ballad, and the Roling Stones cover of “Let’s Spend The Night Together” is cool, fun.
“You’re The Victim (I’m The Crime)” – originally titled “Tonight Your Mine- kicks all kinds of ass, heavy and gore akin W.A.S.P sonic at the time.
Keel’s debut “Lay Down The Law” is a perfect showcase of early ’80s US Metal and how the genre was in terms of sound before develop in years to come. Keel’s wail, great riffs, and strong hooks to form the best ’80s metal bands had to offer.
01 – Thunder And Lightning
02 – Law Down The Law
03 – Speed Demon
04 – Princess Of Illusion
05 – Born Ready
06 – Metal Generation
07 – Till Hell Freezes Over
08 – You’re The Victim (I’m The Crime)
09 – Let’s Spend The Night Together
Ron Keel – vocals, guitar, producer
Marc Ferrari – lead guitar, backing vocals
Bryan Jay – lead guitar, backing vocals
Kenny Chaisson – bass, backing vocals
Bobby Marks – drums, backing vocals