- Lead vocals, guitar
Randy Koontz - Bass, vocals
Tony Russo - Vocals, Keys
Lee Kix - Drums
Soundbytes coming up.
STEALER was an American band with one release in the early 80s. The same titled album contained typical early 80s AOR/Radiorock. The album reminds me quite a lot of the debut of STRANGER from the same year. Both albums are full with hit-potential polished AOR/Radiorock, very suitable for the American radiostations back then. The difference between STRANGER's debut and STEALER's only album is that this STEALER is better and has many more keyboards to offer.
Right from the start you can hear that the sound and production as well as the songs are from a high level and the band could easily have been one of those top acts in the USA, but that never happened. However, we can still enjoy 10 great songs. For example, opener "On my own again" is fantastic uptempo polished AOR/Radiorock from a very high class with some lovely harmonyvocals and great keys. The song is in the same direction as STEEL BREEZE, AIRRACE and 38 SPECIAL. Next track "E.S.P." is a nice Radiorocker with some Pomp influences.
"If you want me" is taking us back to the times when AOR/Radiorock had it's peak in the early 80s. This classy early 80s AOR styled rocker has some references to the first FRANKE AND THE KNOCKOUTS and the late STARZ. Following track "Ready or not" has a very slow tempo and is a bluesy AOR rocker a la FOREIGNER.
"Never again" on the other hand is again classic early 80s AOR/Radiorock a la 707, STEEL BREEZE, 38 SPECIAL and some early SURVIVOR. Side-B is even better than the 5 mentioned tracks of side-A. Side-B opens with "I've got to fight", a nice melodic rocker that has surprising piano-keys during the middle of the song.
Then we get to hear the best track of the LP, namely the track "Hold tight". This is superb classic AOR/Radiorock with some Pomp influences. The song sounds like a cross between the last ROADMASTER and SURIVOR. There are some great keys and harmonyvocals in this classic song. Also the following track "Your heart will burn" is classic AOR rock with some splendid harmonyvocals, the lead vocals though remind me of BILLY SQUIER.
The last two tracks ("Tell me it's love" and "Johnny") are not so good as the previous tracks, but still great AOR reminding me of VAN ZANT (circa his 1985 release).
This release of STEALER is
not a pure classic, but pretty close sometimes. If you want to hear some
pure early 80s AOR, then this STEALER is your band. However, I can imagine
that today's melodic rockfan will find this a bit dated. But for me this
STEALER plays one of the best AOR styles there is and even after so many
years this album sounds fantastic. A shame it never got the attention of
both the popular and AOR press.
(Points: 9.0 out of 10)