Al Atkins wrote “Victim of Changes,” one of Judas Priest’s greatest songs. And then he left Priest to get a real job. In 1998, he released the album Victim of Changes which contained a number of early JP songs, primarily ones from Rocka Rolla, but also this title track.
This version is quite faithful to the JP version (which is interesting because the early notes say that “Victim of Changes” was a melding of two songs). It’s fascinating, in hindsight to wonder if this is how the song really sounded (there are a few differences in it) or he is now covering the JP version. But the big difference of course if Atkins’ voice. In the middle, slower section he sounds quite a bit like Rob Halford. But he just cannot hit any of the notes that Halford brought to the song. And there’s really just no way to compete with that (even with multitracked and over-processed vocals).
It’s really hard to compare this (and other songs from that album) to the original. I mean, he wrote them, after all. But man, the Priest version is just so much better. Atkins has a strong, gruff voice. It works well for the style of the songs, but it just isn’t anywhere near as compelling as Halford’s. The other problem is the music–the guitars are full of cheesy pyrotechnics that overshadow the songs (I like guitar pyrotechnics if that’s what the song is supposed to be about, but not when it’s meant to ”embellish” a song). It sounds like he is trying way too hard here. Atkins has his own solo career and his own band, he really needs to get past the JP thing, especially since he left of his own accord.
This is the version of “Victim of Changes” from Victim of Changes:
But for heaven’s sake, don’t listen to the more recently recorded version of “Victim of Changes” (yes a second recording–he’s got to let it go) from his 2007 release Demon Deceiver (available on Spotify!)–his voice is lower and gruffer (almost cookie monstery) and guitar solos are just covering all of the song.
[READ: September 12, 2011] The Viper’s Nest
When I finished the fantastic Book Six of the 39 Clues, I put it down and immediately picked up Book Seven. It opens with a dramatic rescue from an exploding volcano. When the ash settles, Dan and Amy find themselves on Irina Spasky’s boat. And in this boat they find Irina’s bag, which contains all kinds of spy stuff (like IDs for every one involved in the 39 Clues search and fake fingerprints and whatnot).
They also find a letter with what looks like lyrics. I have to credit Peter Lerangis with the wonderful work on this clue. The clue is a line from a song: “I’m with you and you’re with me and so we are all together.” Nellie (who is still under suspicion, but seems to have been given a free pass) says that she never guessed Irina would be so cool as to listen to the best song ever by Velvet Cesspool (on the album Amputation for Beginners). It’s track three, “The Tracks of My Spit” and it goes: ”I’m with you and you’re with me and so we are all together…. We are marching to Peoria!” The kids are all set to go to the exotic locale of Peoria, Illinois when, through a series of events, they realize that the song Irina was referring to was a traditional folk song called “Marching to Pretoria.” And that they are actually headed for South Africa. [Incidentally, I just learned that the opening line of "I am the Walrus," "I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together" is actually a reference to this folk song]. Check out this video of “Marching to Pretoria” by a guy who has not doubt gotten a lot of hits because of this book.
Anyhow, this book spends most of its time in South Africa. And Dan, the non-reader of the family, finally finds a book worth reading. It’s all about Shaka the warrior of the Zulu nation. Dan reads a lot of information about the man and his military techniques. Which is a good thing because the kids find themselves in the center of a Tomas family stronghold (the Holt family are the members, so you know their speciality is tough fighting). The details are quite fascinating. In the end, they are able to find a clue and to create some wonderful battle scenes in the process. (more…)