A lot of people say that time periods repeat themselves, and Bullets and Octane is a perfect example of how this common thought could be true. Taking their cue from the 80's Sunset Strip scene and mixing it with punk, Bullets and Octane play a sleazed up, aggressive form of hard rock. Lead by singer Gene Louis, the band formed in 1998 has released four studio albums to date, the latest being Bullets and Octane probably their catchiest offering as of yet.
The songs on this CD all follow the same premise for the most part, but rarely ever get boring or repetitive. They abide by the same structure, but definitely not musical traits. Album opener Never Going Down see's singer Gene Louis spitting out lyrics at a rapid pace, while back by blazing power chords and punk drum beats. Songs like Bang and Thumb have immediately catchy chorus that will no doubt be stuck in head for days. Thumb is scarily reminiscent of Pirates from The Revelry, taking almost exactly from its song structure.The background vocals on this CD sound amazing. Even though the band has done them before in their previous songs and albums, this time around the harmonization is perfect, and it gives the songs new life. Devil on the Radio delves back more into the bands bluesy past while Black Painting and The Skull are downright punk songs, with a high tempo, background gang vocals and aggressive, attitude filled guitar. The Skull even features a blues influenced shredding guitar solo for added enjoyment. New lead guitarist Jack Tankersley does a good job on this CD, but his guitar technique is far more basic then former guitarist James Daniel. Even with this minor flaw though his work on this CD is still top-notch and his style meshes perfectly.
An improvement on the bands sound though is no doubt Gene Louis vocal abilities. Some might mistake the change for loss of conviction or heart when he sings, but really its not over extending his range. In previous records, his voice sounded gritty and rough (which is perfectly okay) but he would try to reach notes he had no chance of getting. A great example of his new vocal approach would be Alive which feature soaring vocals from Mr. Louis. (It's no coincidence that, that is probably the best song on the CD) Bass is a present force, though mostly lurking in the background as usual. The drumming on this album is exceptional, changing from hard rock, to hard core punk and always keep it fresh.
With a slightly more toned down and mainstream sound then previous released Bullets And Octane some fans might be turned off the bands newest direction. After one listen though, any fan would be able to see that this album fits in the perfectly with the previous sound of the band, and that it in fact might even be an improvement. With this album Bullets and Octane without a doubt proved that they have what it takes to perform A+ grade rock'n roll.