At the risk of stating the obvious, the debut is an example of where the rhythm section had a significant impact on the appeal of the songs, even though those songs were ultimately defined by strong melodies. I don't know how many of those bass lines were down to Mani, & how many were Squire's but I'm assuming that the drum patterns were Reni's own. Having said that, FG, the song of theirs that, arguably, was best known for its rhythm section, features a loop.
I doubt that a more dynamic rhythm section would've saved AFO from trite lyrics & a poor choice of guitar riff but I think it would've made a difference.
I agree about Squire's playing but I also think there were signs of creativity in the live shows from both him & Reni although creating around an established classic is much easier than plucking something out of thin air.
Both guitar solos from AFO & BT were great but guitar solos don't make songs & in that respect, & given the lack of cohesiveness of the band then, no, there wasn't sign of the level of creativity that would be required to produce a truly great song or album.