With a career that dates back to 1970, the US hard rock band known as Cactus needs no introduction. Since the bands reunion in 2006, they've played plenty of live shows and even recorded a studio album titled V, and now a decade later, the follow-up is here in the form of Black Dawn. Led as always by drummer Carmine Appice and guitarist Jim McCarty, the current line-up also includes the talented vocalist Jimmy Kunes, bassist Pete Bremy, and harmonica player Randy Pratt. Black Dawn not only is a damn fine '70s styled heavy rock album, but here in 2016 it qualifies as a bona fide ferocious slab of molten hard rock no matter how you slice it.
From the opening riffs of the title track, it's clearly obvious that Cactus are out to kick some serious ass, as this thing is heavier than anything they have recorded to date. McCarty's riffs are metallic with a slight bluesy edge, Kunes' is firing off his vocals with plenty of attitude & grit, and the rhythm section of Appice and Bremy are thundering with a violent bottom end. "Mama Bring It Home" pulses with some great bluesy hard rock riffs and a confident vocal from Kunes, while "Dynamite" has all the raunchy blues rock 'n' boogie swagger of early '70s Cactus. Speaking of Kunes, he channels his inner Ian Gillan on the grinding "Juggernaut", screaming up a storm over some tasty riffing and deep grooves. Four songs in and Cactus are on their way to one of the best albums of their career, and it doesn't stop there, the raucous "Headed For a Fall", the Carmine-led thumper "You Need Love" (a must hear for Led Zeppelin fans), McCarty's searing blues licks on the slow burner "The Last Goodbye", and the atmospheric yet heavy hitting "Walk a Mile" all excellent tracks that see Cactus rocking as hard as ever. We even get two unearthed tracks from the vaults with the original line-up that included bassist Tim Bogert and vocalist Rusty Day, the instrumental "Another Way or Another" (a variation on their classic "One Way or Another") and the screaming, sizzling, fuzz drenched jam that is "C-70 Blues", complete with some scary guitar noise from McCarty and Day's emotional vocals.
Killer stuff all around with not one ounce of filler, Black Dawn is a tremendous new album from the legendary Cactus that shows they still have plenty of kick ass left in them. Highly recommended!
See more about this release on our recent YouTube show!
1) Black Dawn
2) Mama Bring It Home
5) Headed For a Fall
6) You Need Love
7) The Last Goodbye
8) Walk a Mile
9) Another Way or Another
10) C-70 Blues