Bullets and Octane – The Revelry (CD)

Starting off “The Revelry” with an Offspring-influenced opening, California’s Bullets and Octane seem immediately tagged for success alongside the aforementioned act, as well as Authority Zero and earlier hair-metal acts like Lizzy Borden and Twisted Sister. The mastering is perfect on this disc and as such saps Bullets and Octane’s fury, placing them entirely within a radio-friendly box, essentially neutering what could be an intense act. Finally reaching their full potential with “Fallen”, Bullets and Octane merge solid instrumentation with catchy hooks and poppy influences to make something exciting while not exclusionary. Recalling Samhain, Tiger Army, and Nekromantix with their follow-up to “Fallen”, Bullets and Octane change their style immensely for “Pirates”, a track which still maintains its sincerity. The strength most common in “The Revelry” is Bullets and Octane’s list of influences, heavily stocked with 70’s rock, which cause them to have a much more crunchy sound than many other of the pop-punk bands on the market.

The sizzling guitars found on tracks like “Professional Victim” are the most obvious nods to their hair-metal influences, and these licks aren’t arbitrary – rather, they further each track they are in. A track like “Places” is pretty much the only weak track on a CD that is abnormally solid. This is not a Simple Plan CD, where one or two tracks may be palatable; rather, Bullets and Octane have worked for four years consolidating and condensing their tracks to make the best possible product. Rarely losing the energy that began “The Revelry”, late tracks like “Bad Things To Bad People” incorporate the insane power that drove early Cali-punk bands like The Descendents with a lush mastering and full sound.

Something that keeps Bullets and Octane back from realizing their full potential for more than brief intervals on “The Revelry” is the relative blandness of the guitar lines that line the tracks between the hot solos and side-lines on each track. “The Revelry” is still one of the most impressive debut albums to come out in the period I’ve been reviewing music, and I believe it was through this maturity garnered from continual live shows that this album is so damned impressive. Sure, this album may not be perfect, but it is leaps and bounds ahead of the average fodder that is released by a band on their first go-around. Much is made to do about their “famous” drummer Ty, but truth be, it is every other part of Bullets and Octane that make this band something special. Ty is by and large a time-keeper, with the rest of the band being the most exciting part.

Top Tracks: Waste Away, Fallen

Rating: 6.6/10

Bullets and Octane – The Revelry / 2004 Criterion Records / 11 Tracks / http://www.bulletsandoctane.net / http://www.criterionrecords.com / Reviewed 14 January 2005

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