THE HAARP MACHINE – DISCLOSURE
Label: Sumerian Records
Release Date: October 15, 2012
Roughly one year back, the deathcore/math metal reigning record label, Sumerian Records, released a song that took the fans of progressive metal by storm. That song boasted of some intricate, and magnificent riffage which seemed a class apart. That song was by the technical death/progressive/metalcore band, The HAARP Machine, that hail from the UK. This band emphasizes conspiracy related lyrics, just as the band’s name suggests. “Disclosure“ is their debut studio album released on October 15th. Does it meet the fans’ expectations? Lets have a deeper look into this record.
The album begins with the song, “Estoteric Agenda”, which surprised me with an Indian sounding sitar intro. Yes, you heard it right, the multi-faceted Al Mu’min can not only play the guitar well, but he also plays the Indian traditional, classical instrument, the Sitar, and the traditional Japanese instrument, Koto! So keep an eye out for a lot of endearing fills and intros that will leave you baffled. The beautiful intro advances to some technical guitaring, insane double kicks by Alex Rudinger, and some commendable extreme vocals by Michael Semesky, who sprouts out to be a very talented vocalist throughout the album. I’m saying this because you’ll then hear some quality metalcore-ish clean vocals with a trippy, clean guitar bridge. When it gets back to the heavier side of the track, there is a mind-blowing duel of clean and extreme vocals which is knocked off by a beautiful clean lead outro and classical sounds from the popular Indian percussion instrument, the Tabla.
The second song, “Lower The Populace” hits you with impressive technical guitar riffs that vary throughout the song, just to end with a folk tune. The whole album is one of those records that aren’t overflowing with sweep picking and constant double kicks. It pretty much revolves around three sub-genres, progressive metal, technical death metal, and metalcore. It might be a bit too over-produced and in fact does lose emphasis on the drumming over the mixing. There’s really nothing to talk about the bass since it is totally watered down and you just tend to forget that somebody called Oliver Rooney is actually playing the bass guitar, except in one part in the song “Disclosure”, where they finally seemed to “disclose” the bass sound with a heavy bass guitar bridge! The HAARP Machine turns into a burp machine as they seem to have eaten up all that bass.
The album also has a math metal feel to it, yes, it’s a bit “djenty”, but I saw it coming, come on, it is Sumerian after all (jokes)! The top three songs would be -“Pleiadian Keys”, that starts off with an insane flight of intricate riffs and double bass drumming to overpower each other. It gives you a Blotted Science-like feel and then a Periphery feel but still sounds different and original. It then amuses you with a good solo, something which lacked in this progressive piece! Michael Semesky excels with his high-pitched clean vocals and occasional growls. The song then ends with a clean guitar outro, a bit too repetitive and long, but a good end to the track, never-the-less.“From Vanity To Utility”, begins with a decent technical death metal intro with the usual growls and the race between each member to sound better, which was great to hear. The tempo slows changes to a bit slower speed and clean vocals just to end with a possibly Koto, blues outro with a tacky fusion of metal. Lastly, “Machine Over” starts off with a moderately paced melodic intro, backed up by a thrash intro whilst remaining slow-paced. It unexpectedly rises to fast double kicks, slow, but technical riffs and reaches midway with a bluesy feel. The song transforms to some poly-rhythmic drumming with a haunting background. It ends with a beautiful solo.
Ultimately, this album is great for a debut release, but frankly, doesn’t match up to the hyped expectations. The lyrics are also a major put-off as it consists of unnecessary conspiracy theories, and so on. Needless to say though, with the “brimming with talent” Mu’min and Semesky, who boasts of a commendable vocal range, this band can produce something more original and unique. Their potential is sky-high, as compared to this record and I sure do hope that next time, they give Rooney, his share of contribution too!