LA rock ‘n’ rollers Bullets And Octane follow up 2018’s ‘Waking Up Dead’ comeback album with a new 10 track affair entitled ‘Riot Riot Rock n Roll’. Long time frontman Gene Louis has behind him a stable and formidable line-up that has been destroying the pits and dives of the world for a couple of years now. With Felipe Rodrigo (guitar), Zachary Kibbee (bass) and Jonny Udell pounding the skins, it feels like the second coming for this band.
In the past Bullets And Octane have toured with Avenged Sevenfold and hit the festival circuits with the best of them. They have had albums produced by the likes of Gilby Clarke and Page Hamilton. But the music industry is a different beast to what it was 20 years ago and the crowds are also dwindling for everyone. It may seem like the glory days of live rock music are behind us, but Gene Louis has had to adapt to the times and Bullets And Octane have always been a band who thrive on being the underdog, and oh how we love an underdog here at RPM.
The roaring, meaty engine introduction leads into a title track full of trademark angst and rebellion with a catchy, anthemic chorus to shout from the rooftops. With a wall of distortion and a heavy, rhythmic beat, it carries a statement of intent that rings true through the entire album. Gang vocals have been a Bullets and Octane trademark for pretty much 20 years now, and ‘Riot Riot Rock n Roll’ shows no signs of the band changing that.
Gene spits and growls the vocals with the sleazy delivery of Lemmy meets Zodiac Mindwarp. Filipe peels off killer riffs and Slash inspired solos like his life depends on it, while the rhythm section pounds like a well-oiled beast keeping it all together.
The first single ‘Ain’t Gonna Be Your Dog’ was co-written by ex Buckcherry guitar player Keith Nelson and would not sound out of place on a Buckcherry record to be fair. A mid-paced radio-friendly rocker, the subdued vocals invite you in and then rage for the chorus. It comes on with guitars slung low and a middle finger raised in salute.
Bullets and Octane have always dealt in heavy, gritty rock ‘n’ roll and this album does not stray from that path. It’s the kinda music that has dirt under the fingernails and grease in the hair. Songs for the outcasts that reek of engine oil and have last night’s whiskey on the breath, but still retain melody and an anthemic quality.
With dark and foreboding melodies that skulk like Marilyn Manson is his prime and then morph into high octane choruses, the likes of ‘Addicted To Outrage’ and ‘Heaven Can Wait’ will always have me salivating. A shout out to Filipe’s inspired and inventive guitar riffs that just gives the likes of ‘The Devil’ an extra cool factor and makes ‘Give Me A Reason’ sound like a punk rock ‘Panama’ to these ears.
Then there’s the signature stand out anthems for troubled times and disenchanted minds. ‘Chaos’ is a timely anthem and one of the strongest tracks on offer. Riding on an overly familiar, yet killer guitar refrain, the verse pumps from the speakers. “What’s that? Let’s turn it up!” suggests the frontman, before the band blasts into yet another memorable chorus. Then closer ‘Lost Crazy Psycho’ has our illustrious singer almost rapping a diatribe before exploding into a glorious and volatile refrain that stays with you long after the (virtual) disc has stopped spinning.
Its 2020 and everything we know and take for granted in this world is fucked right now. If you are reading this, then music is your escape, and maybe a new Bullets And Octane album is just what you need. ‘Riot Riot Rock n Roll’ is 10 tracks of angst-ridden rock, choc-a-bloc with attitude and themes of escapism, rebellion and generally not giving two flying fucks!
It’s fair to say Gene Louis has not mellowed with age and Bullets And Octane are here to inject rock ‘n’ roll venom straight into the jugular.
Buy ‘Riot Riot Rock and Roll’ Here
Author: Ben Hughes