Oakland has quite a history when it comes to metal, familiar names include Defiance, Machine Head, Neurosis, High On Fire and now Psychic Hit a five-piece consisting of Andrea Genevieve – lead guitar/synth, vocalist/violinist Ariana Jade, bassist Melanie Burkett, drummer Justin Divver and newest member Jake Palladino on rhythm guitar and synth.
The band’s sole release until now was a 2018 promo, making this their full-length debut. The album was produced by Phil Becker whose recent credits include Big Business’ 2019 album The Beast You Are while the front cover photo by Rob Williamson has a bacchanalian and theatrical bent to it.
The band have released two singles from the album (for which videos have been made – see YouTube), the first of which is opener Livin’ On. The first thing to notice are the vocals, which remind me a little of both Laura Dolan of Electric Citizen and Fleetwood Mac legend Stevie Nicks. Musically there is a Zeppelin groovy swagger as well as some 70s period Judas Priest what with the Downing/Tipton style guitarwork, synths also feature that are tastefully interwoven into the track. An energetic introduction to the band/album.
Constellation, the longest track on Solutio at six and a half minutes, features some almighty riffage and has an energy that recalls very early Iron Maiden, Pentagram and Philadelphia proto metallers Bang. There are progressive tendencies present but these are laden both with energy and a lack of pretension. Orocovis is a slow burner that for the first two and a half minutes takes you on a trippy psychedelic cosmic journey, before finally exploding into a mass of Sabbath style goodness with a Fairies Wear Boots vibe and even traces of criminally underrated doom legends Witchfinder General, which is nice (to paraphrase Patrick Nice from The Fast Show).
there is a warmth and charm to Solutio that is positively infectious…
Left For Dead wastes no time at all and from the off is a raw punch to the gut that has a Bon Scott era AC/DC style exuberance (before they became a formulaic bore) along with some new wave of British heavy metal thrown into the mix; again think early Iron Maiden, Judas Priest (Hell Bent For Leather this time) and even Motörhead. It’s a fabulous number and if I drank alcohol I would definitely be downing a bottle or two in its honour.
A change of pace ensues with The Hand Of Fate that commences with beautiful acoustic guitar and violin work (the latter courtesy of Ariana). This makes it one of the most experimental tracks on the record, and as with Constellation one of the more progressive pieces. The galloping pace evokes once more classic Maiden and even appeals to someone like me who isn’t a particularly big fan of that band or the NWOBHM genre as a whole.
California Burnin’, the second single, bookends the album quite nicely and judging by the video touches on the chaos that has been erupting all over the state for the past year or so. Thematically it reminds me of The MC5’s Motor City Burning, while sonically it has a post-punk sheen, vocally reminding me more of the great Siouxsie Sioux, all of which make for a fantastically dark, if downbeat, conclusion to the record.
In the promo notes Lucifer, Hallas, and Kadavar are mentioned as modern day comparisons and there maybe a little truth to that. However, I believe Psychic Hit to be a lot more engaging and dare I say diverse than all of those outfits. Crucially there is a warmth and charm to Solutio that is positively infectious, and which will have you putting it on repeat, just as I have been.
Scribed by: Reza Mills