• blakeedwardhall

Wasteland (Year Of October)

Year Of October is a Nashville, TN based band who redefines an edge of pure rock and roll. Consisting of Phlecia Sullivan (vocals), Josh Sullivan (guitar) and James Varner (drums), they are a band that achieves a wonderful sound of hard rock with elements of funk and grunge incorporated. Phlecia and Josh met at the University of Kentucky in 2010. Phlecia and Josh got married and moved to Nashville the following year. Having gone through numerous band line ups over the years, James Varner ended up joining the band as a drummer in 2019. "Wastelands" is an album the band had spent the past decade building up towards. It’s an album which takes you through a world of its own as it wrestles with themes such as depression and anger.

“Black Widow” kicks the album off with a fuzzy rocker. This instantly sets the tone for the album. Josh’s crunchy guitar work, Phlecia's distinctive vocals and Varner’s smooth drumming are instantly striking. “Greevil” is a wonderfully menacing song with a stunning guitar riff! The wavy guitar work in the verse makes for a strong alternative contrast to this powerhouse of a riff. That is a great song title too, which I’m going to guess is a Pokemon reference. “Venom” slows things down a bit in tempo, but is none the less impactful with its dynamic of loud/soft alternative guitar work. This is another incredible moment on the album. “My Soul” features the wavy guitar work once again, which does a wonderful job at supporting Phlecia’s vocals. This is a strong highlight for her, as the singing is highly evocative and the lyrics seem personable.

“Wastelands Pt. 1” is a slower song in tempo, which builds up to the high speed and energy of Pt. 2. Both of these songs are inspired by the Stephen King novel “Dark Tower”. “Out To Dry” is another great fuzzy rocker. “Cut Me Open” slows things down a bit with some clean guitar work. This is the ballad of the album, and it’s a powerful one with its gradual build up. “Fade Away” reintroduces the wavy guitar sound with great style. I’m a huge fan of Varner’s drumming on this one, especially in the verse. The album concludes with “Buried”, a high voltage alternative rocker.

From start to finish, I fell in love with Year Of October and their sound! It’s a perfect sound for good and pure hard rock energy with many interesting themes and layers behind it. You can’t miss these guys. The pure rock spirit reminds me of Knoxville based band Mass Driver (which would make for a perfect double billing). They will be performing at the Preservation Pub in Knoxville on August 7th, fans of pure hard rock will not want to miss it!

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