Friday, 25 January 2013

ATKINS/MAY: American review

>> Atkins May Project: Valley of Shadows (2012)

Album: Valley of Shadows
Members: Paul MayAl Akins
Genre: MetalRock
Label: AIS
Tracks: 10
Type: LP
Release Date: November 13, 2012
Discs: 1
Rating: 3.79 (out of 4.00)
 The latest release from the band Atkins May Project is my first experience with the band so of course research went into who they are and where they came from. For those not in the know, here is the 411. For those that already know, bear with me.
Alan John (Al) Atkins is probably better known to fans of Judas Priest. Atkins was the founder of the band and the bands original singer/songwriter in the groups infancy. The band was successful but not as widely known as it would later become. Due to this Atkins was forced to take a job to support his family, he was later replaced by the bands better known front man Rob Halford. It was with Halford and Atkin’s contributions as covered by the newly fronted Halford Judas Priest that the band gained its popularity and fame.
Yeas later Atkins attempted a comeback with the band Lion to little fanfare and decided to go solo, creating several well recieved albums. Later, teaming with guitarist Paul May, Atkins began co-creating music under the name Atkins May Project and released the bands first album Serpents Kiss. This album, Valley of Shadows, is the second release from the Atkins May Project.
I’ll be honest, Atkin’s vocal style instantly reminded me of those old metal bands such as Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, or Quiet Riot. In short, Atkin’s vocal style came off very dated. I had a tough time getting used to the operatic metal style that, for me, died out in the mid 80’s. Still, I trudged on.
As I dove deeper into the album I have to admit that I actually started to like it. Atkin’s vocal efforts on some of the mid to backend stuff reminded me of a very off Tom Waits. His voice is very gravelly and at times infused with a very natural sounding blues style (Atkin’s began his music career in a blues rock outfit). As the album rolled on and everything started to come into focus I really did enjoy the old school guitar work mixed with the hard rock sound that enveloped Atkin’s vocal work. It’s not revolutionary, and at times dips into that 80’s era sound, but it has a current flair to it with a good dose of nostalgia that takes me back to my youth. Over time I can see myself really enjoying this album, when all surprises are out of the figurative bag, but for now this album and I still have some kinks to work out.
For fans of the old school metal era, you probably aren’t going to need to much convincing that this is an album for you. For fans of the hard rock category, once you get passed the first couple of tracks you’ll find the path. Like I said, it takes getting used to the dated bits, but when all is said and done, you’re going to enjoy this album for what it is. Enjoy.

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