Bob CATLEY: Middle Earth CD Magnum singer + Gary Hughes. Inspired by J. R. R. Tolkien. Hard Rock similar to Magnum. Check audio (whole album)


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Inspired by J. R. R. Tolkien’s fantasy world of Middle Earth (best known from the “”Lord Of The Rings”” saga), Bob Catley’s “”Middle Earth”” is a magnificent return for the ex-Magnum singer and his composer/partner, Ten mainman Gary Hughes. Melodic, dramatic, and endearingly resonant, the album shines with a remarkable thematic consistency, reflecting both the ethereal mysticism and the towering majesty that any successful Tolkien-based set should possess. As with other Catley/Hughes creations, its music fits somewhere between Ten and Magnum, with its classic pomp depth and intensity clearly based in Hughes’ trademark sound. “”Middle Earth”” is slightly less immediate than past Catley albums, however, requiring more of a listener’s attention (and more repeat listens) to fully grasp it. In addition, its atmospheric, moody depth gives it a less Ten-like feel than other recent Catley efforts, which is a welcome step toward establishing truly distinct personalities for the two Hughes projects. But the differences between “”Middle Earth”” and other Catley records are less important than the similarities: Hughes’ epic compositional grandeur, Catley’s masterfully tempered vocals, and outstanding backing performances (including superior axe work from Ten guitarist Vinny Burns). It is another brilliant addition to the legendary Catley catalogue, and fans can rejoice in the glow of yet another marvellous triumph.

1. The Wraith of the Rings 07:05
2. (i)The Fields That I Recall, (ii) Emisary, (iii) The Fields That I Recall (Reprise) 08:02
3. City Walls 06:11
4. Against the Wind 05:15
5. (i)Where You Lead I Follow, (ii) Stormcrow and Pilgrim, (iii) Where You Lead I Follow (Repirse) 08:47
6. Return of the Mountain King 06:40
7. The End of the Summer (Galadriel’s Theme) 05:51
8. This Gallant Band Of Manic Strangers 03:46
9. The Fellowship 04:23
Total playing time 56:00

Another Catley Gem.,
Another strong effort from Magnum, Hard Rain vocalist Bob Catley. This Tolkien inspired album is a worthy follower of Bob’s great “”Legends”” album. The collaboration between Catley and brilliant songwriter Glenn Hughes have again proven successful. The only reason I don’t give this album five stars is that nothing can top Bob’s “”The Tower”” which is a simply unbelievably good album. If the rating scale would go to six, “”Tower”” would be a “”6″” and “”Middle Earth”” a “”5″”. Bob Catley is one of the world’s most underrated singers.

Catley and Hughes journey to Middle Earth,
Released in 2001, Middle Earth is the third solo album from Magnum vocalist Bob Catley. Once again, the songs on this album were written for Catley by none other than Ten singer/songwriter Gary Hughes. In fact, most of the band Ten makes a contribution to Middle Earth.

If you hadn’t guessed, the songs on this album are inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic The Lord of the Rings saga. Gary Hughes has a real flair for this kind of pomp epic songwriting, and tailors each song to fit perfectly with Catley’s unique vocal style. As a melodic rock album, Middle Earth succeeds greatly. As a Tolkien adaptation, it falls short of Blind Guardian’s masterpiece Nightfall in Middle-Earth, which I’d consider the gold standard for Tolkien-based concept albums. Hughes and Catley still manage to capture a Tolkien-esque “feel” to the songs though.

Overall, Middle Earth is a very strong album that rivals The Tower as Catley’s best solo release. It may be a bit heavier than what we’re used to hearing from Catley in Magnum, but the melodies are gorgeous and he seems quite comfortable with the change of pace. The whole album is great, but the song “”City Walls”” is one of my absolute favorite Bob Catley solo songs. Middle Earth is exciting and powerful music, and is sure to appeal to fans of Magnum, Ten, and melodic rock in general.

NOTE: Bob Catley also contributed to a pair of other Gary Hughes concept albums called Once and Future King Parts I & II. This melodic rock project is simply amazing, and is well worth checking out if you like what you hear on Middle Earth.
Great lyrics and the song writing.
In the eighties i went through a phase in which the only music i would listen to was Magnum.My favourite albums then were On a storytellers night and Goodnight L.A.In the nineties i forgot a little bit about them but recently i saw Middle Earth by Bob Catley in a record shop.Being as i am an admirer of Tolkien’s Lord of the rings and having also previously been a fan of Magnum i decided to give this CD a try.
I am glad i did this.This album has great lyrics and the song writing is also of a high calibre.This is a concept album and it tells the story of the fellowship of the ring.The music is not eighties style rock as Magnum in Vigilante but more similar to On a storytellers night.Those who enjoyed Magnum before will like this album although the softer acoustic guitar playing by Tony Clarkin will be missed.Overall a good rock album by a rock singing great.”

A Worthy Tribute To Another Realm – 96%

Uncle Bob is nobody to toy around with in an opinionated matter. Subjectively, Middle Earth is what is. It’s a transcendental and inspired work of melodic fantasy. The lyrics are directly about what is arguably the most renowned fantasy epic in literature. As for theory, the music is done just right for this type of palette- joyfully, mournfully, and emotive; calling upon the right chord sequences and minor notes that travel seamlessly with the sentiment of the stories contained. Whether one enjoys this kind of thing relies entirely on the listener’s taste. If approached by a person who appreciates fiction, saccharine melodicism, and AOR-flavoured vocals; then this album will be appreciated. If approached by someone who deflowered his teen girlfriend to the bludgeoning of Pantera in the background, well then…it won’t be received kindly. One must be appreciative of a more cerebral and surreal experience than that of mere animal instinct. This is for the dreamers.

Having said that, I will attempt to describe some of the intangible realities of this wonderful tribute to Sir Tolkien. The dramatic cymbal swells and keyboards opening the album are an immediate indication of the type of vastness those that care to go on Bob’s (and Gary Hughes’, respectively) journey are in for, crescendoing with building tom-work and flamboyant guitar squeals. No emotion is held back by anyone on this inspired concept album. It’s obvious that every performer knows and feels high fantasy.

As a shameless fanatic for this album and artist (I know, I know…I somewhat blew my attempt at ‘subjective’), I feel the cornerstone, the heart, the timeless classic of this work is “Where You Lead, I’ll Follow”, a touchingly tender song about the one and only Gandalf. Bob’s aching, caring voice calls to this walking allegory of a character, amongst some of the most easily-treasured melodies ever recorded. That sounds like a stretch, but, believe you me, if you’ve read thus far; there’s a good chance you are interested enough to find out.

There are numerous other highlights on Middle Earth. Finding your own golden moments should not prove to be a difficult task. The musicianship is top-notch, Mr. Catley’s inimitable voice shines with the passion many singers lack (in favor of soulless technique or worse- laziness), and the story is- well- *epic* in the true sense of the word, and the songwriting is so well-done that I can almost hear Bob and Gary in their rehearsal room discussing how they can’t mess up something as important as an album with Tolkien as the subject matter. Maybe they just didn’t want to be snubbed off for Blind Guardian…Whatever the case, Middle Earth is a triumph.

Additional information

Weight 0.1 kg


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