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Atkins May Project - Anthology (CD)

Genre: Pop/Rock
Release Date: 6th April 2015

Label: Gonzo
Catalogue Number: HST295CD
Price: $14.29
Available: In Stock


 
Atkins May Project - Anthology
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For the last four years the rock world has been buzzing with proof that good and evil can in fact work together in the form of former Judas Priest vocal legend and Holy Rage heavy metal frontman Al Atkins and Christian guitarist and music artist Paul May. Together these extreme opposites combine creating three excellent records available on Gonzo Multimedia.

There are enough doses of melody and metal madness to entice all fans of the genre, and while it is solid, honest, working-class heavy metal, it also has its roots in contemporary metal with some fine axe-work and killer choruses.

Al Atkins: More noted for forming UK’s Judas Priest and fronting them for four years, and laying down the foundations that would see them eventually selling 40 million albums worldwide. He also wrote songs for them that went gold like Dreamer Deceiver, Never Satisfied, Winter, Caviar and Meths, andPriest’s all time classic Victim of Changes. Al’s unique powerful vocal style sites influences by noted rock singers Roger Daltrey, Paul Rodgers and longtime friend Robert Plant. Al has done countless radio and TV interviews worldwide and recently was filmed for BBC TV British Heritage and Banger Films Canada for the metal evolution series on VH1. He has even written a book on his musical life about growing up in Birmingham, UK, alongside Robert Plant and Black Sabbath, called Dawn of the Metal Gods. Al has released 6 solo albums to date, toured the US twice, and has worked with Brian Tatler (Diamond Head), Dave Holland (Judas Priest), Dennis Stratton (Iron Maiden) and Bernie Torme (Ozzy/Gillan).

Paul May: Some people learn to play guitar, Paul was born (again) to play guitar! Paul has become respected for his passionate, soulful guitar work and noted for his explosive and exciting solos. As a world-class professional guitarist and songwriter, Paul has played and recorded sessions across the globe, touring and playing throughout the UK, Europe, USA and the Eastern block. Paul appears on around 50 albums to date, featured in both the secular and Christian arenas. Paul is also a record producer and has covered the entire spectrum of musical tastes in production. Paul has played, recorded with and produced alongside the bands and members of: Al Atkins (Judas Priest), Dave Holland (Judas Priest), Roy Wood (MoveELOWizard), Jon Brooks (The Charlatans), Smokin Roadie/Tempest, MC5V-RatsJanusA.N.DDave Rowley Band, Larry Norman and many others. Along with working with Al Atkins, Paul currently plays guitar with A.N.D and Temple Dogs.

Now there is an anthology of the work of this remarkable band……so far! Here’s looking forward to the next half decade.

REVIEW

Original Judas Priest founder / vocalist Alan Atkins may have long qualified for his pensioner bus pass, but physically and more importantly vocally, he sings as good as a man half his age! Quitting Priest in 1973 in order to support his family, Rob Halford would go onto to sing many of the songs penned by Atkins including the classic 'Victim Of Changes'. Atkins could never leave the music business however, releasing a number of solo albums through the 90s with a young, virtuoso multi instrumentalist called Paul May playing guitar. 20 years on and that relationship has grown into The Atkins May Project, which to date have released 3 studio albums. "Anthology" is a compilation of cuts from those releases, along with a bonus DVD packed with 7 official videos and interviews with Alan Atkins and Paul May. Rooted in the style of the British heavy rock that came out've the Midlands, the sound is very much like early Priest but with a modern take answering the question of how Priest probably would've sounded with Atkins still singing! Vocally, Atkins may not be a screamer that Halford is, but his gravelly full blooded rock vocals take right from an era when men sounded like men, looked like men, and smelt like men. Easy to see why early Priest were managed by Tony Iommi as a band worthy to share the spoils along with Sabbath! With Atkins still having such a commanding presence, I'm really pleased that Paul May measures up in every aspect of the instrumental department from his full blooded pumping bass to his hard hitting drum work that occasionally rolls into double bass mode on the heavier tracks like 'A World At War'. Excelling in his guitar work, May provides virtuosity in his wailing solos and as well as the more staple twin chugging guitars more famed of KK Downing and Glenn Tipton on fast rockers like 'Harder They Fall' - except May piles in even more lead breaks as if to show one man can do better! With one of the best production sounds I've heard in a while truly bringing the material to life, the confidence of Atkins and May even allows them to cover Phil Collins's 'In The Air Tonight', given a new brooding metal take without losing the massive drum sound it comes with! Little wonder then that over the last four years, the rock world has been buzzing about these two, whose roots in British Steel still resonate true to this day as they did over 4 decades ago.

http://battlehelm.com/reviews/atkins-may-project-anthology/

This is quite a cool set. The group is Al Atkins (the original lead singer of Judas Priest) and Paul May (musician extraordinaire). They have released three albums together so far and all but one song (I’m ignoring the two unlisted tracks) here are taken from those discs. I’ve reviewed all three of them so the track reviews are copied from those or adapted for use here for the sake of consistency. I think this works well as a play from start to finish experience. Given that it’s a compilation, that says a lot. 

Track by Track Review
Act 1

 

  
Unlisted Track 1

Starting with the sound of a needle on a record, this comes in a bit like very old Judas Priest. It’s a short instrumental fanfare.

Here Comes the Rain
Basically a power ballad, this is quite proggy in a lot of ways. It’s also very classy. It does get quite heavy as it continues.
Enslaved To Love
The sounds that open this are quite mean and metallic. The cut is quite heavy, quite dark and yet very modern in texture.
The Shallowing
A killer metal jam opens this. Then it powers from there into an even more screaming arrangement. The vocals come in over this killer swirl of riffing.
Bitter Waters
Acoustic guitar starts this, and the vocals come in over the top of this sound. Then it powers out to a slow moving, and rather blues inspired hard rocking metal vibe. It drops back down the mellower territory for the next vocals. The cut alternates between mellower movements and harder rocking ones and is a killer number. The guitar solo section really shines.
World at War
There is a dramatic introduction that gives way to some pounding, powerful heavy metal. This is very much an epic metal styled piece, with the emphasis on the metal end of that equation. I love the vocal hooks and the guitar soloing. It’s a real stomper. The closing bit is dramatic and very potent.
Act 2
  
Dream Maker
This sounds so much like old school Judas Priest that it’s crazy. This is great. It’s got some more killer guitar soloing.
Valley of Shadows
This is a dramatic and powerful metal ballad. As cool as this tune is, though, it’s a bit overlong.
Harder They Fall
There’s a killer riff and metal groove driving this monster.
Theatre of Fools
There’s really no Priest in the mix here. Instead we get a great modern epic metal sound that’s incredibly cool. Without question this is the best track on the first album. It gets taken through several different sections and yet never crosses into Judas Priest like territory.
Whisper to the Wind
This starts with a dramatic and powerful ballad-like movement. That section holds it for a while with some great vocal work and tasty musical arrangements. It powers out into a rather progressive metal like movement for the more powered up section. This is just so cool. It’s also an epic length piece, landing at over twelve and a half minutes. It’s epic in scope, too, conveying a whole universe of sounds in one cohesive and coherent track. This is mellow through a lot of its time, but it also rocks out really well. It has some particularly meaty melodic metal guitar soloing. This one is worth the price of admission all by itself.
In the Air Tonight (bonus track)
I would have never thought of turning this Phil Collins tune into a metal track. Listening to this version, it seems so obvious, though. Don’t get me wrong, I prefer the stylistic atmosphere of the original. However, this is pretty amazing.
Unlisted Track 2
This is essentially a revisit of the first cut of the disc. It makes for a great bookend.

http://www.musicstreetjournal.com/index_cdreviews_display.cfm?id=104922

"...for anyone who has a collection bulging with NWOBHM stars of past and present, but who hasn't yet sampled Atkins May Project, Anthology really should be pretty high on your must hear scale."  www.seaoftranquility.org



Tracks: 

The Deep

Here Comes The Rain 

Bitter Waters

A World At War

Dream Maker

Whisper To The Wind

Harder They Fall

The Shallowing

Enslaved To Love

Theatre Of Fools

Valley Of Shadows

In the Air Tonight

The Deep (The Reprise)

 



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