As mesmeric as it is provocative and as brutal as it is emotively elegant, Disclosure from The HAARP Machine is magnificent, a stunning and enlightening storm which easily grabs the debut album of the year award. With their signing to Sumerian Records earlier in the year there has been a great buzz and anticipation surrounding the band but one wonders if any outside of the London quartet saw such a masterful release coming for their first true introduction to the world. It is an album which explores and explodes boundaries, a maelstrom of ideas, sounds, and textures which barge and impact on each other like an aural sandstorm yet are so skilfully conceived and realised the songs shine and radiate like sonic diamonds to ignite only the fullest captivation.
The HAARP Machine began in 2007 with Al Mu’min, the guitarist creating the project as an expressive outlet for his musical ideas and heart. The first couple of years saw struggling to find a solid line-up of musicians with the same drive and passion as himself. Creating demos and music which were drawing some attention without finding any true fire of interest, Mu’min contacted Dan Foord (Sikth) in the autumn of 2009 about doing a session on an EP. Though Foord could not commit beyond that moment the emerging music from their collaboration woke up a keener interest and intrigue within people. Many line-up changes ensued, including seeing Craig Reynolds (Viatrophy) involved, as Mu’min set about finding a settled line-up of musicians to capture the imagination, sound, and drive of the band. Now with vocalist Michael Semesky, bassist Oliver Rooney, and Alex Rüdinger on drums alongside Mu’min, Disclosure shows that the determination and patience was worthwhile in finding the right people, each member immense in their roles and invention within the band. After releasing a pre-production demo to keep some kind of momentum going in the interest towards the band, the band was approached by Ash Avildsen the owner of Sumerian Records with an offer of a deal to help complete the first part of what one can only expect to be a long journey for The HAARP Machine with the release of the album on October 15th.
Disclosure is a staggering intense weave of majestic progressive metal, destructive death metal, and disorientating tech metal, and that is simplifying it. The release is a perpetual tsunami of invention, imagination, and emotive intensity. It is magnetic and bruising, the songs an unrelenting surge of unpredictable but fluid creativity which you wonder if in the hands of any others would actually come together let alone sound as good. At times it can be overwhelming, the album never allowing the time to take a breath or contemplate what is before such its constantly shifting soundscape which at times flirts with chaos though it never comes close.
The album opens with the quite brilliant Esoteric Agenda, a track top and tailed with shimmering ethnic sounds and instrumentation. It is not long though before an opening crescendo of power barracks the ear with a furious onslaught of crippling rhythms, scything sonic manipulation and abrasive riffs. The track has body parts unleashing their energy in shifts, at times feet at one with the venomous drums, in others the head offering whiplash possibilities within the intensive assault. The vocals of Semesky are superb whether with a heated clean delivery or caustic rabid growls whilst the music shifts through all shades of violence into soothing piano touches It is an impressive start which is eagerly matched by the rest of the album.
Tracks like Lower The Populace and Pleiadian Keys sear flesh with the acute sonic blazes to then trample the wounds with a mix of corrosive malevolence and soothing whispers, the blend perfect. The senses are awestruck throughout and sent into meltdown with songs like From Vanity To Utility and the title track. The first of the pair is a furnace of melodic fire from guitars and the wonderful piano breath within the tempest of barbarous riffs and ravenous intense energies all fuelled by the abrasive passion of the song whilst Disclosure sirenades the imagination with further ethnic caresses and a barbed progressive grandeur so that even in its most enticing warmth the music is carnivorous in its intensity.
As mentioned there is so much going on it means with each play every song is a different creature, each subsequent engagement unveiling more and more of their riches, which songs like The Escapist Notion and Extension To One, well to be honest all tracks, have in abundance.
The HAARP Machine has in Disclosure created an album which stands right up there with the latest releases from Between The Buried And Me and The Faceless; a release which truly is songwriting and craft at its most imagination and skilled. This band is going to be huge.
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