ATKINS/MAY PROJECT - ANTHOLOGY
It was good to receive this double-disc package of music featuring the early singer for Judas Priest, Al Atkins. He had originally left Judas Priest in 1973. Not having heard his output, an anthology of his albums was a welcome chance to hear the music and conduct a review.
If an Anthology is either handpicked to comprise of representative songs or the favourites of a band then the Atkins/May Project is indeed a hard rock band, albeit focused on slower and melodious songs. It is not as if Atkins/May has a plethora of releases in its history, but such is the title for the double-disc at hand.
Firstly, Atkins' voice is gritty a la a gruff Udo Dirkschneider or more accurately Faithful Breath's Heinz Mikus. However, since no one remembers the latter man one should say Atkins sounds like the Teutonic metal singers of the '80s. Whatever the case, the albums lives off the slower and grandiose songs that are often punctuated by heavy or faster tracks as interludes. The songs are book ended by instrumental so first track proper Here Comes The Rain is one of those quieter songs. Bitter Wars cruises along and comes with a solo, which is reminiscent of Priest's Touch Of Evil. May is an accomplished guitarist all around. He solos often, and in a melodious and accessible manner. He is advertised as being Christian. The Shallowing is where the album gets upbeat and heavier. The backing bass is full on. Atkins cruises on. The soloing continues. The next song is all guitars and is reminiscent of the '80s.
The guitars are more modern and fuzzy. It is more aggressive here. The drums are pounding now and the question you have been waiting for an answer to is that, yes, it is a little Judas Priestish. Indeed, Atkins is recording an album worth of Priest songs himself. Atkins loves to enunciate his words and to do so in long songs. Amidst the positives and the not-so is one negative, which is the very artificial sounding toms. The drum machine was not cooperating in a musical manner it seems. Nonetheless, along comes track ten and the thundering bass and the speed so it is mostly good again. Sadly, a cover version of Phil Collins’ In the Air Tonight takes up some space here. The Anthology features a DVD disc featuring several videos and an interview with the two men conducted by a Jonathan Downes. - Ali "The Metallian"
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