Al Atkins – “Reloaded” (Gonzo)
Best known as the original vocalist for Judas Priest before Rob Halford, Alan Atkins quit to support his family prior to the recording of the band’s debut “Rocka Rolla”, despite contributing to its songs. Fast forward to 1990, and clearly ‘never satisfied’, Atkins – now aged 43, decided to launch his solo career, that went from strength to strength especially after hooking up with guitarist / producer Paul May. Now, aged 69, Atkins has decided to revisit his material over the last 4 decades and re-record it with range of guests including Judas Priest’s Ian Hill (who’s never recorded with anyone else outside of Priest!), John McCoy (Gillan), Ralf Scheepers (Primal Fear), Stu “Hammer” Marshall (Death Dealer), Chris Johnson (Holy Rage) and last but not least long time friend and collaborator Paul May! Together they produce one helluva racket like on ‘Heavy Thoughts’ very much in line with the british steel that came out’ve the midlands in the 70s – not to mention a ripping cover of ‘Victim of Changes’ – here with multiple vocals blending high and grittier rock vocals that give you a real idea of what Priest might’ve sounded like had Atkins continued with them. Of course, the real bonus has been saved till last in a previously never heard Judas Priest demo of ‘Mind Conception’ which Atkins wrote featuring Ian Hill on bass and KK Downing on guitar – check out the psych trip of wah and wailing vocals – showing that on “Reloaded” Al Atkins is still rocking when others are settling into retirement!