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Thursday, 25 June 2015

Atkins May Project: US Review



Atkins May Project: Anthology

If you've read the many positive reviews for the Atkins May Project but still not been quite convinced to take the plunge into the duo's trio of releases, Serpent's Kiss, Valley Of Shadows or Empire Of Destruction, then Anthology makes a for a good starting point. Al Atkins, as we probably all know by now, was there in the beginnings of Judas Priest and had a hand in some of the band's early, classic material, while Paul May is a guitarist of some renown; a position which bears out across all of the AMP output. As you'd expect, we're in the realms of traditional metal here, the likes of Saxon, Tygers of Pan Tang, or, in places, Judas Priest touched upon and yet across the three albums this pair have produced, they have also brought an element or two of their own to the table; a faint whiff of melancholy lurking under the powerful riffs and Atkins rasping spoken/sung vocals offering an unusual angle. The ability to resist simply slamming the foot to the floor on much of their output also offers up something a little different and while it's hard to suggest that there's much here that veers near pioneer status, it is also quite easy to tell AMP from the many sound-a-likes doing the rounds.

Frustratingly the track list on the back cover of the promo I received had a different running order than the CD itself. Although that certainly doesn't stop the blues infused stomp of "Bitter Waters" making a strong impression, or "Dream Maker" being incisive enough to burrow deep into the conscience through May's stinging guitar work as Atkins spits the lyrics out with real venom. Factor in the upbeat power-punch of "Harder They Fall" and atmospheric build into the all out metal assault of "The Shallowing" and all of this act's updated NWOBHM values meet with serious approval. Those looking for a "pure" vocalist may in truth struggle with Atkins attitude over acrobatics approach, however in May, the ex-Priester really has a foil worthy of any metalhead's attention.

For those who already have the three albums these tracks come from, it's up to you whether a metalised – and pretty decent, if unspectacular – cover of the Phil Collins standard "In The Air Tonight" (complete with the chukka-chukka-chukka-chukuk-kuk-kuk drum break) and a bonus DVD of videos and interviews (which duplicates much of the fare found on the extra disc that came with Empire Of Destruction) offers enough value to reinvest in a collection of songs you already own. However 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.


Track Listing 
1. Here Comes The Rain 
2. Bitter Waters 
3. A World At War 
4. Dream Maker 
5. Whisper To The Wind 
6. Harder They Fall 
7. The Shallowing 
8. Enslaved To Love 
9. Theatre Of Fools 
10. Valley Of Shadows 
11. In the Air Tonight (unreleased bonus track)

Added: June 12th 2015
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Score:
Related Link: Atkins May Project online

CURRENTLY AVAILABLE AT GONZO:
Anthology
CD - £9.99

Empire of Destruction
CD/DVD - £9.99

Valley of Shadows/The Serpents Kiss
2CD - £9.99

Valley of Shadows
CD - £9.99

The Serpents Kiss
CD - £9.99

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