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Bullets and Octane - Waking Up Dead

Bullets and Octane
Waking Up Dead
by Emmlayn Campbell at 17 June 2018, 3:30 PM

BULLETS AND OCTANE is a Hard Rock band based in Hollywood, California, USA. Formed in 1998, the group released “Waking Up Dead,” their eighth full-length album, on May 25th, 2018, which contains 10 tracks.

Opening track “Bad Mother Fucker” opens with the sound of an emergency siren before a heavy, speaker-blasting riff shows up. The song is high energy, with nice vocal harmonies and a punching bassline, but the chorus is a little lackluster, like it’s relying too much on the title of the song. Title track “Waking Up Dead” is next, and this gets the sound back on track with a powerful chorus and lasting hooks that I knew the group was capable of. The drumming is top-notch, and everything about this song makes me want to play it in a car stereo with the windows down and the volume cranked. I’m hesitant to call “When We Were Young” a soft song, but compared to the first two, the tone is optimistic yet introspective, the verses soothing and building to a beautiful, sing-along chorus. I really enjoy this track because it displays some diversity of sound, while some Hard Rock bands simply rely on a formula that they know can please average listeners.

Burning at Both Wicks” has opening drums that can wake the dead and a chorus that’s not as lights-out as the other tracks but is still just as pleasing. Felipe Rodrigo’s guitars take center stage here, which I think is a must-have if you want to set yourself apart from other groups in such an expansive genre. “Fires” opens slowly and a little eerily, the verses dark, full of emotion, and sort of theatrical. It reminds me of a soundtrack to a horror musical, and this makes the track stand out in a great way. It seems the group is experimenting with what people assume a Hard Rock band should be doing, and testing different formulas makes for a unique listening experience and makes me all the more excited for what’s to come. “Fuck You Song” is rather optimistic, a bit reminiscent of Pop-Punk, but for the building the verses do, the chorus falls flat and is a little repetitive.

Murder Me Baby” has almost a Country vibe in the riffs but is certainly a strong Rock tune with a driving extended guitar solo. “Rolling Stone” is short and sweet, a strong chorus and a unique bridge that crescendos into another impressive solo. The layered acoustic opening of “Hostage” reminds me of something off an old L.A. GUNS record, and the song is subtly beautiful in its solemn chorus and soft drums like a Civil War tune. It’s a contrast to the closing track “Heart Attack,” which is all energy, bass, and a chorus that throws punches.

This album pleasantly surprised me, and I think it sets itself apart from other modern Hard Rock endeavors because of the band’s willingness to experiment with different tones, tempos, and songwriting structures. It’s hard to believe that this is BULLETS AND OCTANE’S eighth album because of its freshness, and it should please old fans and Rock purists around the world.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Bad Mother Fucker
2. Waking Up Dead
3. When We Were Young
4. Burning at Both Wicks
5. Fires
6. Fuck You Song
7. Murder Me Baby
8. Rolling Stone
9. Hostage
10. Heart Attack
Gene Louis – Vocals
Felipe Rodrigo – Guitar, backing vocals
Zachary Kibbee – Bass, backing vocals
Jonny Udell – Drums
Record Label: Cargo Records UK


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Edited 02 April 2023

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