This review is from: The Tower (Audio CD)
Bob Catley has sang on many classic Magnum records, for his debut as a solo performer to at least equal some of Magnum's finest is quite an achievement.
It was obvious at this time that Catley was getting frustrated with the material he was being asked to sing in Hard Rain, and teamed up with hard rock band Ten's frontman Gary Hughes, who wrote this batch of songs especially for him.
'The Tower' has very much a 'Storyteller's Night', 'Wings Of Heaven' era Magnum feel to it, with a bit of folk thrown in for good measure. There's also a symphonic, gothy feel to some of the tracks that I think would find favour with fans of Nightwish and Within Temptation.
'Dreams', 'Scream' and 'Fire And Ice' are good slices of big, showstopping arena rock.
'Far Away' is a top notch crowd swaying anthem, and 'Fear Of The Dark' and the title track are deeper, darker numbers.
Two of my favourite tracks are the more immediate, simpler songs. 'Steel' is a real feelgood track with a top chorus, while 'Deep Winter' is a cracking, bitter sweet pop ballad, with an acoustic feel.
The production on 'The Tower' is nice, sleek and crisp, and the individual performances from all concerned are first rate.
Every song is well written and beautifully executed, and it's no surprise that Catley's first solo venture was such a success, even outselling his efforts with Hard Rain.
This success proved that there was still a market for Magnum music post 1995, and eventually, guitarist/songsmith, Tony Clarkin would eventually reform the band.
'The Tower' is a cracking record, and should sit proudly beside copies of 'Chase The Dragon', 'Storyteller's Night' and 'Wings Of Heaven' etc.