By Patrick Prince
With all the independent music releases out there, it can be hard to separate the good from the bad. Here are some recent releases that were sorted through.
Atkins May Project
Rough-and-tough quality hard rock (or traditional heavy metal) is the best way to describe the Atkins May Project — Al Atkins (the original vocalist of Judas Priest) with his distinct gruff vocal delivery and Christian musician Paul May delivering the blow-by-blows musically with sonic guitar. This CD presents the best of what the duo have to offer. Don't expect this to stand up to his old mates Judas Priest but, honestly, much of it is better than a lot of what '80s Priest had to offer (i.e., "Defenders of the Faith," "Turbo" "Ram It Down" and all that lackluster nonsense). "Anthology" also comes with bonus DVD.
The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
“Plays Prog Rock Classics”
(Purple Pyramid Records) CD
What possessed anyone to greenlight this concept? The Royal Philharmonic covering Prog classics? More like being trapped in an elevator for hours listening to a demented brand of muzak. How awful? Ever watch the movie “Devil”? Yes, that awful.
(DeadLine Music) CD/DVD combo set
Somewhere between “so bad it’s good” and “not too bad” is Thor’s music collective. This reissue of "Unchained," the 1983 LP, comes with bonus tracks and live footage on DVD and is a good representation of the music. If you had seen the Norse deity live back in the day you’d appreciate this heavy metal schlock more (the God becomes a mortal when he attempts to blow up a hot water bottle onstage) rather than the hit-or-miss production of Thor in the studio. Although, with the "Unchained" LP you might catch yourself laughing during the goofy "Lightning Strikes Again" or the ridiculous "Ride From Hell" (bonus track), there are also tracks that could be considered bearable (a little sing-song named "Anger") and even decent (the power metal of “When Gods Collide"). And you can salvage the KISS copycat “Rock the City” with some well-maneuvered air guitar. However, in the end, Spinal Tap isn't nearly as appealing when it's real.