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Atkins May Project - 'The Valley Of Shadows' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/77/79/ad/atkins-may-project-the-valley-of-shadows-45-1370823511.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     June 10, 2013    
 
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Classic British blue-collar metal.

This is the second CD from the project featuring ex-Judas Priest singer Al Atkins and Christian rocker Phil May. If you’re partial to classic British Heavy Metal that has its roots in NWOBHM (think Judas Priest meets Tank), then this disc has lots to recommend it. Atkins shares a similar fate to the likes of Dave Evans of AC/DC and Paul Di’Anno of Iron Maiden in that they were in hugely successful rock bands before they hit the big time. While his name will always appear with ex-Judas Priest next to it, he has created a body of work over the intervening forty-odd years since he left to prove he’s no also-ran.

A lot of the credit for this record must go to Phil May. May is an accomplished player. He mixes classic metal with the technical flair of 80s rock and also gives a brief nod to the heavier direction of present metal. He’s written the songs here and there are some strong riffs, fluid soloing and enough hooks here to show May as a writer of some class. Atkins’ voice might not be an instrument of great finesse but his rasp suggests a life lived to the fullest and it suits the material. The two men have an undeniable chemistry.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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‘Welcome To The Nightmare’ is classic metal and a fine start to the record, heavy yet melodic. ‘No Ordinary Man’ has a good hook (although a lot of the choruses go for the simple approach of repeating the title of the song numerous times so it’s not surprising that they soon become easy to remember). There are a couple of slower tracks which build up tension before turning up a gear. Both ‘Better Waves’ and ‘Enslaved To Love’ are good examples of this with fine solos from May and dramatic, potent performances from Atkins. The rhythm section is simple (not credited on the sleeve) but effective and the machine gun approach on the fast, heavy ‘Harder They Fall’ makes it one of the album highlights. Another is ‘Not Ready To Die’ where Atkins’ stoic vocal is wholly convincing. May proves he can hold your attention without Atkins’ vocals on the melodic instrumental ‘Messiah’ that has a slight Gary Moore flavour.

The production suggests they didn’t have the biggest budget but despite that this is classic British blue-collar metal.

Duncan Jamieson

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