Product Reviews

Product: Atkins May Project - Valley of Shadows
Date: 2013-01-18 

Valley of Shadows

Fearing no evil and bearing no burden, an ex-JUDAS PRIEST screamer and a righteous axeman walk the crooked, yet adventurous, path the second time around. The initial congregation of Brummie metal god Atkins and reverend sessioner May proved to be the testing of their chemistry. Fortunately, the punchline our "Serpent's Kiss" review - "the project's next opus will exceed their debut's limitations" - turned out prophetic. Off with the obligatory genre conceptions, the two follow the songs' dictate here and do what the feeling, rather than expectations, suggests.

It's never more obvious than in "Bitter Waters", where the exquisite acoustic guitar sets off the epic beat and the tempered rage of the voice, and in the memorable chorus of "Enslaved To Love". Quite surprising, given that the scene-setter "Welcome To The Nightmare" caters to the singer's core fanbase who'll love this sharp salvo that wrap the vocals in the shiny foil of riffs and hooks, but the progressive sprawl of the eerily atmospheric title cut, preceded with an almost orchestral instrumental "Messiah", opens a new dimension to the duo's talent pool. In the same fashion, "Not Ready To Die" and "Harder They Fall" are sleek slabs of monumental, memorable rock 'n' roll, while "No Ordinary Man" builds a small classic on the arresting blues foundation, and "The Shallowing" may be the best ballad Atkins's ever served up - penned, as are the rest of the songs - by May. A solid statement from the masters of their trade. ****2/3


Valley of Shadows
CD - £9.99


The Serpents Kiss
CD - £9.99

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