Atkins May Project - Empire of Destruction

Atkins May Project Empire of Destruction cover
Atkins May Project
Empire of Destruction
Gonzo MultiMedia
Sometimes reading all that Al Atkins has to say about how he, created Judas Priest, can become a little overbearing and tiresome. It might technically and historically be true, but on the other hand, it was the well-known line up of the band that made the band worldwide household names… and on the backs of whom Atkins these days has a career to lean back on as a “singer”.
Actually, with the years, he has developed his somewhat limited range and learned to utilize his voice rather effectively. “Empire...” features actually some of his better singing even if it’s his latest work. In Paul May, he’s found a worthwhile collaborator, that writes him some tasteful, riffy heavy metal, that might be somewhat predictable and lacking the choruses that would elevate it to bona fide material, but then again, is classic British metal, unapologetic and imperishable – stainless as steel.
There are quite a few interesting songs, like the opening salvo of “World at War” which is based around a promising riff, the dark and melancholic “Here Comes the Rain” or the rocking, groovy “The Darkness Within” for which even a video has been made, which is included as part of a bonus DVD, included on the first thousand copies of the album... there are more songs that might be of some interest, including a pretty standard version of Thin Lizzy’s “Are You Ready” but what’s a little underwhelming is the persistence of the duo to mid or slow tempos, that seems to kill any momentum that tends to be generated by some good melodies ie on the overtly long and very downtrodden “Whisper to the Wind” and the somewhat bad sound, the mix on this album is rather muddy and if I recall the previous one, was somewhat better, so in that respect, that's also a bit of a letdown right there. What also is very odd is the decision to have a female singer who’s a lot more consistent in the delivery an pitch/timbre wise quite different sounding than Al, singing in tandem with him, on the last song “End of the Earth”. It just sounds like a big mess.
This release, pretty much appeals to a select audience that probably consists either of Priest completists, or Al fanatics and is unlikely to really interest anybody else than the aforementioned. Even by those standards, it falls kinda short of what this duo has shown that is capable of, by the merit and the strength of their sophomore effort. A pity.