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Band Name The HAARP Machine
Album Name Disclosure
Type Album
Erscheinungsdatum 15 Oktober 2012
Musik GenreProgressive Death
Mitglieder die dieses Album besitzen19


1. Esoteric Agenda 03:54
2. Lower the Populace 03:04
3. Pleiadian Keys 04:55
4. From Vanity to Utility 04:47
5. Disclosure 03:29
6. The Escapist Notion 03:34
7. Extension to One 04:03
8. Machine Over 06:11
Total playing time 33:57

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Review @ VesselsOfBlood

19 Oktober 2012

Breathtaking Tech Metal

High are the numbers of bands that follow the progressive and technical metal genre nowadays. Modern acts are really taking a crack at this artistic genre through rapid-fire blast beats, heavy “djent” grooves, or sloppy technical death metal blasting. With many bands such as these on the rise in today’s progressive metal scene, it’s about time for a fresh of breath air in that region. That is where The HAARP Machine plays its part in the expansive world of technical metal. Although they formed back in 2007, this British quartet only released a few pre-produced tracks before they truly made their debut. Even then, however, fans were already begging for more after listening to these raw songs, especially after the band was signed to Sumerian Records back in 2011. At last, The HAARP Machine has risen from the metal masses to release one of the most profound metal records of 2012 that is “Disclosure.” Consisting of only eight tracks, this album proves that The HAARP Machine is a band striving to be the most inventive and unique of their caliber.

To start off, the musicianship is grand and incredibly well showcased in “Disclosure.” The unclean vocals hoist a very nice range of low to high pitched growls, but that’s not even the half of what the lead vocalist, Michael Semesky, has to offer. The clean singing has a great tone to it, and it sounds as bold as it is very passionate and emotional. The guitarwork in this album is another excellent highlight, wielding powerful yet mathematical riffs and melodies throughout the listen. The drums are also extremely well done, and, like the guitars, while they are very complex at the right times, it never goes overboard or sloppy. This makes for incredibly tight instrumentation that shows the musicians’ talents’ true and vivid colors. Another thing that makes this band so interesting is the use of ethnic instruments played by Al Mu’min, who also happens to be the guitarist for this coldly calculating quartet. The koto and sitar generate ambience and great melody that make “Disclosure” all the more versatile and extraordinary. All in all, the musicianship is just incredible, and it truly comes across as one of the album’s greatest highlights that it has to offer to its audience.

One of the things that make “Disclosure” such a memorably versatile record is its ability to weave together technicality, melody, energy, atmosphere, and ferocity all into one seamless product. The music is loaded with pompous technical metal packed with transcendent guitar play, powerful vocals, and chaotically progressive drumming. The album bursts through the walls with “Esoteric Agenda,” which chimes in with a psychedelic sitar intro, and then begins to transition into its technical heaviness with a steady but complex metal track. Then it explodes into a violent storm of melodic and progressive death metal, loaded with rapid-fire drum blasts and destructive riffs. However, it doesn’t end there; about a minute into the song, this metallic explosion gracefully transitions into a segment of steadier-paced but even more potent instrumentation incorporated with the awesome clean singing. Other examples of this band’s unique metallic onslaught include “Pleiadian Keys,” a coldly calculating technical metal track laden with the passionate clean vocals, and “The Escapist Notion,” which boasts highly impressive progressive and melodic riffs throughout. The destructive nature of “Disclosure” is like that of no other release, and it’s just another reason why this album is a must.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that “Disclosure” is just a one-trick pony that relies on this progressive heaviness throughout. In fact, another aspect of this album that makes it so enjoyable is the integration of ambience into the songs. Not only does this make room for great diversity for this album, but it also doesn’t lose flow with the true heaviness of this record, and it’s just entrancing to listen to. This is where instruments such as the koto and the sitar come to play, and it doesn’t just make the album unique in terms of the technical metal genre. Rather, it also makes the ambience overall even more effective, such as in the ending to “Esoteric Agenda.” They’re just the icing on the cake, however; the clean singing and the euphoric synthesizer effects are what map out the basis of this melodic ambience, and the koto and the sitar truly bring this ambience to life. The last track, “Machine Over,” best displays this ambience out of the eight songs this album puts on the table. The swooning guitar melodies, the soothing and angelic clean vocals, and the cultural instruments all blend together seamlessly to create an epic and atmospheric masterpiece, and, as the last song of the album, it serves as an awesome conclusion to an awesomely crafted record. The ambience that “Disclosure” emits in its songs are wonderfully written and played out without flaw.

“Disclosure” is easily one of the best records that 2012 has seen the release of. It crashes into new and exciting heights for the technical and progressive metal genre, and everything about this record is simply groundbreaking. The musicianship is awesomely versatile, the sound production is nicely done, the explosions of progressive death metal are invigorating and extremely powerful, and the ambient moments are psychedelically stimulating. The music is incredibly well-structured and fantastically executed, the number of tracks and their lengths make the album easy to digest, and absolutely nothing falls apart. Not only does “Disclosure” serve as a wonderful debut, but it’s also a very creative approach to the modern progressive metal scene. It really is something else for the metal world. Anybody looking for some of the most innovative, unique, progressive, and powerful modern metal should check this out at all costs. This album was most certainly beyond worth the wait, and everything came out splendidly in this profound release. It’s a unique release from a superbly forward-thinking band. Do yourselves a favor, and give this spectacular album a listen.

7 Kommentare

4 Like


Crinn - 25 Oktober 2012: I love how the singing is out of tune sometimes. it really adds on to the mystical feeling the sitar gives the music.
VesselsOfBlood - 25 Oktober 2012: Yes, exactly! :D
Hacktivist - 04 November 2012: "Pleiadian Keys"
Waouh *-*
Martyrs - 15 November 2012: I find this band totally AMAZING, wait... It's normal, Sumerian Records... :p
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Review @ Crinn

30 Dezember 2012

The best progressive death album of 2012.

About half of the bands that make up the roster on Sumerian Records have been taking on a much more progressive direction lately. Although this is something that the extremely successful label has always been known for, the progressive elements seem stronger now than they ever have been before. Before I get into the progressive death act The HAARP Machine, let’s take two seconds and reflect back on the reality of what new innovative elements have been introduced by Sumerian Records. The first is the extremely progressive and almost experimental record, Autotheism by California technical death band The Faceless. Along with that, we have a progressive metal whose success has been obtained so fast that they headlined the tour supporting the release of their first album, Periphery. Now, there also seems to be more non-metal music on Sumerian Records than just Borgore. A really fucking weird, but absolutely amazing experimental rock quartet known as TRAM (featuring one of the greatest guitarists ever, Tosin Abasi). So after all that, a progressive deathcore band (Veil of Maya), a solo album by The Faceless bassist Evan Brewer, and a yet-to-be-released solo record by Animals as Leaders rhythm guitarist Javier Reyes, one would stop and say “wait, we need some good ol’ progressive death in this mix”. That’s when The HAARP Machine steps in.

There are a lot of progressive death albums that get released every year. But for me, I tend to be VERY picky when it comes to my beloved progressive death section in my library. The only truly great progressive death albums (that I’ve heard so far) from 2011 are Amorphis’ The Beginning of Times, Between the Buried and Me’s EP, Falluja’s The Harvest Wombs, and Mayan’s Quarterpast. That’s FOUR (I repeat) FOUR albums. Only FOUR out of however many progressive death albums were released that year. 2012 is even worse. So far, I’ve only got The Contortionist’s Intrinsic and Meshuggah’s Koloss (which only got a 14/20 score from me). The first reaction someone would have upon seeing this is the lowering of standards in case they’re too high (which happens to everybody, there’s nothing wrong with that). But there’s no need for that, The HAARP Machine debut with something that I’ve PERSONALLY witnessed amaze even the utmost critical reviewers.

My overall experience of repeatedly listening to Disclosure since about a week before its release has been like no other. There are several qualities of Disclosure that are extremely familiar to me and are things that I’ve heard before in several other bands. Of course, it’s ALWAYS a good idea to have there be at least SOME familiar sounds in your music so that the listener can have SOMETHING to be able to grab onto instantly so that they can then be pulled along through all of the new and unfamiliar sounds. The most familiar element that The HAARP Machine has in their music can be guessed easily by anyone who is at all familiar with Sumerian Records and the one thing that 90% of its bands have in common: those abstract and complex rhythmic patterns that were popularized by Meshuggah (often times referred to as “djent”). Of course, Sumerian Records isn’t the only place you’ll hear this kind of stuff, but it seems that almost all of the bands have this thing in common. And you know what? As stupid and “trendy” as it may seem, look at how much fucking success the bands are obtaining because of that! Because they have that one solid element that any metalhead can easily grasp onto because they’re already familiar with it, bands can then do literally whatever the fuck they want from there. For example, the screamo band I See Stars has that “djent” sound in their music (although it’s less profound than other bands out there), and then they switch back and forth between playing an energetic melodic screamo sound and really poppy techno while randomly throwing in some pop rock in here and there. Except the things that The HAARP Machine put on top of that “djent” style is nothing that I think has ever been done before.

The first thing that you hear when you press the “play” button is a sitar. Ok, where the hell did that come from? I don’t know, but obviously, I can tell just by looking at the band that one of the members has some sort of middle-eastern background. And when the fact that the sitars used today came out of 18th century India is put into place, it is easily seen that this guy known as Al Mu’min is not only Indian, but is also the core creative mechanism inside The HAARP Machine. I can understand that when you’re just reading this, it really doesn’t sound like anything all that special. But once you actually LISTEN to Esoteric Agenda, the mystical atmosphere that the sitar creates is something so alien to most metalheads. So what I’ve described so far is a very technical death metal record with complex rhythmic patterns and a sitar. The next thing that I should mention is the melodic death influence (as well as the synthesized bongos that appear at random about three or four times throughout the album).

Not only does the melodic death influence seep into the instrumental section, but also into the vocals; which then gives it away that there is singing present in almost every song on this record. Now I’m not aware of the specific influences that The HAARP Machine has listed, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Periphery was one of them. Why? Remember in Periphery’s self-titled debut where the singing purposefully went off-key every so often and how much impact it had on the whole flow of the music? Well, the singing on this album does that, except more than Periphery. In fact, it fits The HAARP Machine’s sound even MORE than Periphery’s because of the atmosphere created by the sitar and the unique guitar harmonizations. I should have mentioned a little bit before that we should still be focusing on Esoteric Agenda, because everything that I’m talking about is present and easily heard in this one song. So after the intro and the blasting death metal section and the…what seems to be something that COULD be a breakdown but doesn’t exactly sound like one, you get a deep crushing section with that really weird singing that sticks to the right key for about 87% of the time. What the fuck? Only that much? On first glance, that just sounds outright disgusting! Who the hell would want to hear out-of-key singing? Ok, now to repeat what I said before to make sure it sticks in your head: you will realize what I’m talking about once you LISTEN to the damn thing.

Because I’m a bassist, it’s almost a requirement for ANY progressive band to have at least a WAY better-than-average bassist. I don’t know why, but it’s just something that, if missing, the band just doesn’t sound as good as other people describe to me. That’s why I instantly gave my nod of approval when The HAARP Machine released that YouTube video of Pleiadian Keys. If you can’t hear what I’m talking about, replay THE FIRST TEN SECONDS of the fucking song before you continue reading what’s left of this review. The extremity of the bassist’s technicality is something that I hunger for, but don’t get very often outside of the technical death realms (i.e. Obscura, The Faceless, Atheist, Spawn of Possession, etc.). Not only is the bassist capable of phenomenal technicality, he also has a talent for playing with extremely bold colors and dynamics. When he takes the spotlight in songs like Pleiadian Keys and Extension to One, the bassist flows in-and-out of the complex harmonies created by the guitars while creating the structure for even further guitar harmonization and other possible innovations. The guitarists are just something completely off the board. Maybe that’s a SLIGHT exaggeration, but there are very few people that I would have to worry about giving me a hard time for saying that.

The HAARP Machine’s Disclosure is definitely the best progressive death record of 2012, with The Contortionist’s Intrinsic coming VERY close behind. So close, in fact, that Disclosure even has the same 18/20 score that I gave Intrinsic when I reviewed it in late August. I can’t imagine a type of extreme metal fan that I WOULDN’T recommend this album to. So look it up, watch the trippy video for Pleiadian Keys that’s on YouTube, and then once you’re done with that, demand that The HAARP Machine come to your city after you’ve bought the album.

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