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Articles Home » 2012 Articles » Atkins/May Project - 2012 Valley Of Shadows
Atkins/May Project - 2012 Valley Of Shadows

ARTIST: Atkins/May Project
ALBUM: Valley Of Shadows
LABEL: Gonzo Multimedia
YEAR: 2012
SPONSOR: Gonzo Multimedia


LINEUP: Al Atkins - vocals * Paul May - guitars

TRACK LISTING: 01 Welcome To The Nightmare * 02 No Ordinary Man * 03 Bitter Waters * 04 Enslaved To Love * 05 Stronger Is The Grace * 06 Harder They Fall * 07 Not Ready To Die Today * 08 Messiah (Prelude) * 09 Valley Of Shadows * 10 The Shallowing (Return)



We were caught by surprise when the first Atkins May Project CD 'Serpents Kiss' landed on my doorstep back in 2011. The duo of Al Atkins (formerly of Judas Priest) and guitarist come instrumentalist Paul May seemed like an unlikely union at first, but the combination has gathered steam thanks to the good reception given to that debut album. Al and Paul returned late in 2012 for CD number 2.. 'Valley Of Shadows'. The riffs are still as thick as a fuII head of English beer while the back-beat is as demanding as a plate of full English Breakfast. Definitely an album to consume on a full stomach. There's not too much difference between the two albums, Atkins and May preferring to keep to the same formula.

The Songs
The backbeat is uptempo and relentless for the album's opener 'Welcome To The Nightmare', Atkin's doom-laden voice offset by the tremendous melodic guitar work of May. 'No Ordinary Man' features a wickedly good riff/motif throughout, with vocals and guitar solos/fills competing for the empty space. 'Bitter Waters' is one of two longer songs on the album. An acoustic entrance is hardened up by some tough guitar passages, while both acoustic and electric guitars intermingle on some parts. The song opens up for Paul to let loose with a spacious solo. 'Enslaved To Love' is a hard grafting track, which operates in mid-tempo but is thick and dense all the way through. 'Stronger Is The Grace' could be Judas Priest on steroids, such is the double-bass attack and speedy guitars given license to let fly. This is really cool. 'Harder They Fall' chugs along with great intensity. There's ample power on display, accelerated tempo and some interesting guitar parts. One of my favourites so far. 'Not Ready To Die Today' is another one of the more rocking moments. Atkin's is on fire here, the whole song slam-dunking in all departments. 'Messiah (Prelude)' is the album's instrumental piece, soon followed by the graceful title track 'Valley Of Shadows'. It's a smooth atmospheric track, that never reaches top-speed, intent to sit back and glide along peacefully during its 8 minute run-time. Finishing up with the 'The Shallowing', this is another track that sits back in the pocket, reminding me of really early Judas Priest material that has an acoustic feel.

In Summary
Another enjoyable effort, and it seems these blokes have struck a template that will serve them well into the future. The tracks are kept within the traditional classic heavy metal genre, but due to Paul May's guitar style, there is enough to suggest that this fits well in the modern metal category as well. For those who have an aversion to classic heavy metal done well, then look no further.

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#1 | Eric on February 10 2013 00:00:24
Loved 'Serpent's Kiss'. Another one for the want list!
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