"V" (Escapi Music; 2006)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

It's been over thirty years ... yes, thirty years ... since the original members of Cactus released their last studio album and that's both a blessing and a curse for this legendary band.

It's a blessing because, on "V," it doesn't sound like Cactus has missed a lick. This band might as well have been recording together for the past three decades because "V" sounds tight, confident and fluid. Of course, the members of the band have each improved in their musicianship since the last Cactus album, and their songwriting has matured. But the bluesy riffs and solid melodies that issue forth from this CD sound more like a band that's been touring together for the last thirty years rather than a band that's virtually been apart since then.

It's a curse because, despite the fact that "V" is a hard-rocking, irresistibly-hooked CD, it sounds a bit dated. Of course, the heavy blues influence here, especially on songs like "Day For Night," could also give the CD it's almost vintage sound. And, really, does "Muscle and Soul" really have to sound so uncomfortably like Montrose's "Rock Candy"? At first, you're almost certain you're listening to a cover song.

Regardless, this is one great CD featuring truly great musicians who have proved themselves elsewhere in the years since Cactus split up. Fans of the band fans will be thrilled, seeing as their heroes have pretty much picked up where they left oh so long ago. Fans of blues rock will dig this CD, too, with guitarist Jim McCarty's fretwork being a highlight here.

Cactus: Carmine Appice, Tim Bogart, Jim McCarty, Jimmy Kunes.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2007 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 09 Dec 2018 12:03:11 -0500.