Keel – “The Right To Rock” (1985)

keelKeel was part of the first wave of glam metal bands coming out of L.A. in the eighties to a nationwide audience.  That glam-style metal of those primitive years (about 1982-1985) was relatively unrefined, brash, and loud.  You can actually call the really early stuff from Great White, Ratt, Motley Crue “heavy metal” without having to put an asterisk next to the term.  W.A.S.P. was another heavy band that came out at the time.  This was before the “hair” metal formula had been fully perfected (for better or worse, depending on your taste).  Keel’s second album The Right To Rock is one of those albums that personifies that uncultivated glam metal sound of the first wave — before everything became much more polished and homogeneous.

Keel was under the tutelage of Gene Simmons at the time of The Right To Rock.  Gene and Keel had a sort of mentor-to-protege relationship.  It seems odd (in hindsight) that someone would trust Simmons to make decisions about anyone other than himself.  To me, putting Gene Simmons in charge of your career would be like putting a dog in charge of sausage, but I guess Keel needed all the help they could get.  Gene Simmons produced The Right To Rock and did so with all the nuance of a fart in the face.  The Right To Rock features nine tracks of low-brow, gravy-brained anthems delivered proudly but clumsily by Ron Keel and crew.  As a singer, Ron reminds me of a poor man’s Kevin DuBrow.  All these years later, it seems so damn cartoon-ish, but to an adolescent in 1985 Keel’s music probably seemed like a righteous call to arms.  The ham-fisted title track is the band’s calling card — welcome to the decline of western civilization (part 2).

The Right To Rock is a fun, but stupid album.  Yes, it has a certain charm, but I don’t think The Right To Rock has stood the test of time as well as some of the other early glam metal albums of the day.  My favorite song on here is Easier Said Than Done.  My score: C+

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