The HAARP Machine – Disclosure (2012)

The High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program is a research program centered in Gakona, Alaska. The United States government claims the initiative focuses on ionospheric research, but some say the program’s objective is far more sinister and subversive. While we may never known the true purpose of the program, The HAARP Machine’s objectives are much clearer. These virtuosos from the United Kingdom are here to provide the world with their own unique brand of progressive metal and to encourage their listeners to develop a greater sense of self-awareness and awareness of the world in which we live. Their highly-anticipated debut album, Discolsure, is due out on October 16th via Sumerian Records.

The HAARP Machine signed to Sumerian Records in mid-2011 and the news of the new deal was met with much excitement. Later in the year, “The Escapist Notion” was released and The HAARP Machine was set to release their debut album by the end of the year. Following the departure of their original vocalist and drummer, however, the band temporarily stepped out of the spotlight while they searched for replacements. They eventually recruited Mike Semesky and Alex Rüdinger (both members of Maryland, USA’s very own Ordinance) as their new vocalist and drummer, respectively. Now they’re finally set to unleash their debut album upon the world and the question that is most likely on a lot of minds is “was the wait worth it?” Well, Disclosure was more than worth the wait.

The HAARP Machine’s Disclosure is an absolutely amazing album and it is the best progressive album of the year thus far. That’s saying quite a bit, considering that Between the Buried and Me and The Faceless both released new albums this year as well. Autotheism was odd at times and The Parallax II was not as straightforward as I would have liked it to be, but The HAARP Machine does not suffer from either of these issues with Disclosure.

In addition to all of their talent, The HAARP Machine sets themselves apart from the rest of the pack by incorporating several non-conventional instruments into their formula. How often do you hear a sitar in metal? Not very often, if ever, and The HAARP Machine incorporates these instruments seamlessly. Add this on top of excellent musicianship and you’ve got a force to contend with. When Sumerian first announced that they had signed The HAARP Machine, they also released a video of guitarist Al Mu’min playing “The Escapist Notion.” Mu’min is an outstanding guitarist and it was this playthrough video that initially piqued my curiosity in The HAARP Machine. Mu’min’s talent is showcased nicely throughout Disclosure and his guitarwork is one of the high points of the album. Not only does Mu’min handle all of the guitar duties, but he also handles all of the non-conventional instruments that I discussed previously.

Another aspect that really helps The HAARP Machine stand out is vocalist Mike Semesky. I had first heard of Semesky through his other band, Ordinance. If you like The Faceless and Semesky’s work with The HAARP Machine, you should definitely pick up a copy of Ordinance’s album, Internal Monologues. Semesky’s growls are good, but it’s his clean vocals that really stand out. Semesky has an excellent singing voice that fits in quite well with the overall structure of The HAARP Machine’s music. The cleans dominate the vocal aspect of Disclosure, which was an excellent decision.

Despite the brief wait, The HAARP Machine’s Disclosure is an excellent album. Exceptional music like this cannot be rushed and I’m glad they took the time to find replacements that were even better than the members that left. Disclosure is my favorite progressive album of 2012 thus far and I anticipate many others to hold it in a similar regard after it is released.

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By Mike O’Hara ~ Me Gusta Reviews