|Bob Catley Immortal||Frontiers Records|
Charged with fronting yet another album, the man of the moment Magnus Karlsson has dug deep to deliver another album of classic melodic hard rock / metal songs that will do his reputation no harm whatsoever. But this time, Karlsson takes a back seat to Dennis Ward, who handles the majority of the guitars on the album - Magnus controls the keyboards. Interesting decision, as without investigation, the guitar sound is exactly that of Karlsson.|
This time Karlsson's muse is legendary British vocalist Bob Catley. Now Bob has recorded some great albums over the years since his solo debut The Tower in 1998. That album remains the one to beat as well as the fabulous When Empires Burn from 2003.
I think Immortal ranks up with those two albums as among Bob's best. Karlsson was an inspired choice to work with Bob, and despite the risk of writing overload, he delivers exactly what was expected with the material used.
If there was to be any negative in relation to this album it would be that there are no real surprises on offer – it is classic Catley vocal wise and trademark Karlsson songs. So no surprises and nothing we haven't heard from either artist before, but the pairing really works.
Immortal features a dozen great hard rocking songs with that vocal passion that Bob delivers and importantly, a huge production that does justice to the performances and compositions.
This is one of Catley's heaviest solo albums to date and I'm pleased to see Ward stepping in to deliver those monster riffs. Song wise, I think these tunes really suit Bob and some really heavy songs are given a big melodic twist.
Highlights from the album include the storming epic opener Dreamers Unite, with its thunderous rhythm section; the less intense, but equally catchy We Are Immortal; the utterly sensational melodic hard rocker End Of The World, which features one of Bob's great vocals and chorus hooks; Open Your Eyes, which features another great chorus and completes an opening twenty minute blast of class.
The metal ballad The Searcher continues the quality, with a soaring chorus and heartfelt vocal; Light Up My Way is classic Karlsson song with a ton of guitars and melodies; You Are My Star is pure melodic bliss and the more menacing Haunted provides a little extra grit late in the album when the last couple of tunes were beginning to sound a little too familiar.
The big orchestral ballad Heat Of Passion closes the album in fine style and is another killer Catley vocal.
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