The Haarp Machine – Disclosure

How much further can metal really go? It’s an internal dialogue we must’ve had with ourselves a thousand times. It’s been fascinating to watch our beloved genre develop over the years, hasn’t it? No matter how unreasonably heavy, inexplicably technical or utterly deranged it gets, just when we think metal has reached its plateau and has nowhere left to go, there is always that one band waiting around the corner to flip it on its head and reinvigorate our love for it. Now, let us not set expectations too high: The Haarp Machine, though fantastic, are not going to change the face of heavy music in the same way a Rage Against The Machine or a Tool have done, but they’ve rather popped their heads around the corner as we sit sullen-faced in a heap of derivative “djent” acts and the flailing careers of metalcore bands and said “Wait a minute, give THIS a go”. For while The Haarp Machine are at their core a technical death metal band of the highest order, their debut album Disclosure offers far more depth than most of their contemporaries can attest to.

For starters, the first sound you hear out of album opener ‘Esoteric Agenda’ is a sitar. That’s right, a sitar. And not in the pastiche kind of way that Metallica famously utilised it on ‘Wherever I May Roam’. Once the band kicks in a few moments later, this new, slightly unnerving Middle-Eastern flavour blends seamlessly into their striking barrage of progressive technicality and sheer brutality. Across the next four minutes, The Haarp Machine unveil just how much weaponry they have in their vast arsenal, with vocalist Michael Semesky revealing himself to have one of the best voices in modern metal as he delivers an impassioned clean vocal over one of the best breakdowns you’ll have heard this year before the band fall into a demented piano passage. Please bear in mind that this is all within less than FOUR minutes (just to give you a sense of the kind of band you’re dealing with here). Elsewhere, ‘From Vanity To Utility’ has flashes of Mr. Bungle amongst the standard death metal, while the stunning title track provides some much-appreciated respite from the endless flurry of notes and blast-beats with a broader focus on soundscapes and euphoria. That’s not to say that Disclosure is always right on the money, however. The likes of ‘The Escapist Notion’ and ‘Pleiadian Keys’ incite a distinct sense of déjà vu, for despite The Haarp Machine’s obvious strengths, they generally stick a little too staunchly to a brand of technical metal long-since trodden on Disclosure. Their songs are there and the performances are both exciting and professional, but if you’re a lover of all things metal, there is virtually no chance you haven’t heard something more or less exactly like this before. That being said, the band at least know how to effectively bookend an album, with album closer ‘Machine Over’ playing to the more epic side of the band, only occasionally foraying back into their heavier nature.

All in all, Disclosure is a fine debut for The Haarp Machine, showcasing their obvious potential with a sense of impending progression. But in the sense of making a genuine impact on the modern metal scene, the vast majority of what the band have come up with here is just a tad too unoriginal, and frankly, if it weren’t for the aforementioned usage of foreign instruments and the odd dabble with piano’s, The Haarp Machine would be barely distinguishable next to most of their peers. But the very fact that they HAVE found something to make them even the slightest bit unique can only be a good thing, and even with something of lack in originality, the best parts of Disclosure spell out great things for The Haarp Machine’s future.

Disclosure is out now via Sumerian Records

7/10

Track Listing:

1. Esoteric Agenda

2. Lower The Populace

3. Pleiadian Keys

4. From Vanity To Utility

5. Disclosure

6. The Escapist Notion

7. Extension To One

8. Machine Over

The Haarp Machine are:

Al Mu’min – Guitars

Michael Semesky – Vocals

Oliver Rooney – Bass

Alex Rüdinger – Drums


Band links:

http://youtube.com/THEHAARPMACHINE
http://twitter.com/THEHAARPMACHINE
http://soundcloud.com/THEHAARPMACHINE
http://myspace.com/THEHAARPMACHINE
http://THEHAARPMACHINE.bigcartel.com

About Del Preston

So there I am, in Sri Lanka, formerly Ceylon, at about 3 o'clock in the morning, looking for one thousand brown M&Ms to fill a brandy glass, or Ozzy wouldn't go on stage that night. So, Jeff Beck pops his head 'round the door, and mentions there's a little sweet shop on the edge of town. So - we go. And - it's closed. So there's me and Keith Moon and David Crosby, breaking into that little sweet shop, eh. Well, instead of a guard dog, they've got this bloody great big Bengal tiger. I managed to take out the tiger with a can of mace, but the shop owner and his son, that's a different story altogether. I had to beat them to death with their own shoes. Nasty business really. But sure enough, I got the M&Ms and Ozzy went on stage and did a great show.
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