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Catley, Bob: Spirit of Man

After a somewhat successful series of solo albums with Gary Hughes (Ten) in the production/writing seat and having more recently toured a reformed Magnum in Europe, Bob has opted once again for a heavier classic metal sound on this, his fifth solo release. The first three solo releases and the recent Magnum tour were in fact geared totally toward cashing in on the classic symphonic prog rock aura established by the one true landmark Magnum album On a Storyteller's Night. It would appear that a combination of prior commitments by previous participants and Bob's desire to do something different led to the decision to have long time keyboard collaborator Paul Hodson head up the writing for his fourth release When Empires Burn, which Bob himself described as "my heavy metal album". Changing horses again, but once again attempting to achieve the generally harder edged "epic hard rock" sound of Rainbow and Dio, songwriting duties have been passed to another frequent collaborator Vince O'Regan (also featured on all guitars), as well as Dave Thompson and Paul Uttley, all of whom crafted tunes specifically for Bob and this project.

The result is not quite the epic hard rock album envisaged but an album substantially less heavy than its predecessor and a release that is in fact much more closely aligned to the keyboard riff driven hard rock sound of the mid eighties. There are hints of early Europe and the softer side of Dio on the tunes "Moment Of Truth" and "In The Name Of The Cause" respectively albeit with the usual pleasant strains of Bob's classic, typically never overstressed vocal contribution. On some of the harder edged tunes however, the vocal track does occasionally seem to be a little low and lost in the mix. This is ultimately a competent yet unremarkable mid eighties classic rock album that will appeal primarily to fans of that genre. Based on the critical acclaim accorded the recent shows by the reformed Magnum, and more specifically to the performance of Storyteller's in its entirety in concert, I predict a hasty return to that style.

Track Listing
1. Heart Of Stone
2. Moment Of Truth
3. In The Name Of The Cause
4. Blinded By A Lie
5. Last Snows Of Winter
6. Spirit Of Man
7. The Fire Within Me
8. Judgement Day
9. Lost To The Night
10. Beautiful Mind
11. Walk On Water
12. End Of The Story.

Added: February 2nd 2006
Reviewer: Mike Blackburn
Related Link: Bob Catley Website
Hits: 2344
Language: english

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