Age doesn't matter. Well, not if you're Bob Catley that is. The fact is that Sir Bob nowadays seems to be more active than ever. Apart from recording albums as a solo artist and together with Magnum he also has participated in numerous other projects (such as Avantasia, Ayreon etc.), always with a deliverance that breathes quality and uniqueness all over. As a solo artist he has been releasing albums since 1998. Since he's not a song writer himself he has been working together with a lot of other musicians during the years. His first cooperation, which lasted on three albums, was together with Ten's front man Gary Hughes. After that he teamed up with another member of Ten, keyboardist Paul Hodson, which resulted in the fantastic When Empires Burn. With his previous effort, entitled Spirit Of Man, he found new collaborators in the shape of Vince O'Regan, Dave Thompson and Paul Uttley but the record was a huge disappointment in my ears partly due to poor production.
On this new effort Bob yet again has recruited a new team for the job. Responsible for the song writing this time is Magnus Karlsson (Starbreaker, Allen/Lande, Last Tribe etc.). If you are familiar with Magnus' previous works you might have a clue of direction and quality, with the exception that these are the best set of tunes Magnus has written in a long time. Dennis Ward has done a fantastic job as a producer since the sound is fat, crystal clear and mighty! A huge improvement from the lame and wimpy production that sank Spirit Of Man completely.
I must admit that Immortal floored me instantly. This is most definitely on par with When Empires Burn which I previously looked upon as his masterpiece to date. Immortal is also the closest cousin to When Empires Burn in the discography since it's a bit heavier than his other releases. The songs on the first half of the album is nothing but sensational! Dreamers Unite opens the album in a mighty way; a melancholic intro builds up an epic feeling but after a while melodic guitars explodes and paves the way to a chorus you can't get rid of. We Are Immortal is even better with wonderful song melodies in the verse and the composition peaks with a tasteful and brilliant chorus. End Of The World continues on the beaten path with great melodies and a driven verse that smells 1985. Open Your Eyes is a bit heavier but opens up in an epic chorus that, even though penned by Magnus Karlsson, has the Catley trademark all over. I'm not a big fan of ballads, but up next is The Searcher and one of those worth writing home about. Epic, melodic and simply irresistible!
After these five crackers the quality is lowered a bit but still the album maintains on a high level without any sight of fillers until the end. This was a huge surprise to me, mostly because I think Magnus Karlsson's song writing has stagnated a bit the last years but on this album he proves that he still knows how to do it. And what can you say about Bob Catley that hasn't been said already? Yet again he shines with an utter brilliant performance and the conclusion is obvious; he is immortal!
also review of: When