Review | Cactus – Temple Of Blues – Influences And Friends

Cleopatra Records

On this 15-track album legendary drummer Carmine Appice and his band Cactus have dived deep into their own musical history. Appice has gone back (mainly) to the first albums of the band that came out in the early seventies such as ‘Cactus’, ‘One Way…Or Another’ and ‘Restrictions’ and re-recorded a bunch of songs with the help of the current line-up of the group including singer/blues harp player/guitarist Jim Stapley, bass player Jimmy Caputo and new guitarist Artie Dillon. Their main aim was to re-discover these songs and give them a second lease of life with a better production.


Throughout the years and during his rich career that led Appice to adventures with Ozzy Osbourne, King Kobra, Rod Stewart, and Blue Murder (just to name a few…) Carmine met a lot of different musicians and quite often heard the same thing. Cactus was a huge influence for an awful lot of his co-rockers. Which led Carmine to the idea to invite a large selection of musicians to contribute guitar parts, basslines, keyboards, and vocals to these old tracks that mostly were written by several Cactus members such as co-founding guitarist Jim McCarty (who is still involved but no longer touring), Appice and original vocalist/harp player Rusty Day (he got murdered with his son in 1982 in his own house, a crime still unsolved it seems).


Carmine Appice has managed to put together a long and impressive guest list. Dee Snider, dUg Pinnick, Gov’t Mule duo Warren Haynes and Jorgen Carlsson, Joe Bonamassa, Ted Nugent, Doug Aldrich, Tony Franklin (together with Appice in Blue Murder), Bumblefoot, Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens, Phil Soussan. Rudy Sarzo, Mark Stein (Vanilla Fudge, also a band that Appice is involved with), Zebra’s Randy Jackson, Billy Sheehan, Pat Travers, Ty Tabor, Marco Mendoza, and Living Colour’s Vernon Reid. And I might have forgotten a few others guest here as well, but by the above list you can conclude that the crème de la crème has been gathered around here.


If you are familiar with the old Cactus-material you shall not be surprised that this album is an inspirational sounding mix of blues, heavy rock, boogie and rock and roll led by Appice’s strong drum fills and cymbal technique. All in all, it is a pretty hard-hitting album. What I find astonishing is how the bulk of the songs have stood the test of time such as ,,Big Mama Boogie’’, ,,Let Me Swim’’, ,,Evil’’, and ,,Guiltless Glider’’.

This is a release for people who like their vintage blues, boogie, and rock. It might not totally appeal to the modern-day rocker perhaps but nobody can deny that veteran Appice at the age of 77 still knows how to rock and roll and bring it across with his band. Ever since the band started recording new material in 2016, with the studio-albums, ‘V’, ‘Tightrope’ and ‘Black Dawn’ as results, Cactus has brought us a sheer flow of new material that did not disappoint. And the same goes for ‘Temple Of Blues – Influences And Friends’.

Release date: 7 June 2024



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