Atkins May Project: Valley Of Shadows

Metal stalwarts team up again for album number two.

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Unimaginative band name aside – and despite the fact it conjures up thoughts of fad diets – Atkins May Project deserves a namedrop as it consists of original Judas Priest vocalist Al Atkins and long-time collaborator, guitarist Paul May, who produce classic metal with a bite on the second album of their latest collaboration.

He may not have much of a range vocally, but Atkins’s pipes have ripened over the years into a rich, rasping growl that’s perfect for accompanying stomping grooves and dirty riffs, like those of Enslaved To Love and Bitter Waters. Unfortunately, when they slow it down several notches in ballads like Valley Of Shadows and The Shadowing (Return), cracks begin to show as his voice sounds strained.

The duo undoubtedly excel most when they bash out headband-worthy grooves of metal days gone by, and the songwriting – courtesy of May – is top-notch: consistently catchy and varied in tempo. Nothing groundbreaking, perhaps, but it’s certainly a solid piece of work.

Hannah May Kilroy

Hannah May Kilroy has been writing about music professionally for over a decade, covering everything from extreme metal to country. She was deputy editor at Prog magazine for over five years, and previously worked on the editorial teams at Terrorizer and Kerrang!. She currently works as the production editor for The Art Newspaper, and also writes for the Guardian, Classic Rock and Metal Hammer.