Extreme progressive metal with sharp political and social commentary. That’s what London-based The Haarp Machine is all about. An interesting combination and it sure beats the typical metal cliches like skulls and bones, dungeons and dragons and the ludicrous satanic imagery that some bands like to indulge themselves in. Let’s see what these left wingers bring to the (discussion) table with their latest outing, entitled “Disclosure”.
The album is full with neatly constructed songs which seldom exceed the five minute mark. Their secret weapon is the use of Oriental and Asian influences, reminiscent of Chthonic, but lacking in ideas to really make it work in their music. The progressive elements in their music consists of the usual share of odd tempo signatures, intricate riffage and some well executed guitar solos here and there, but it’s all very much text book work without the slightest desire to bend the rules a bit or to give it some spunk of their own. The Haarp Machine simply misses the originality of bands like The Human Abstract, Between The Buried And Me, The Faceless and The Contortionist. Subsequently “Disclosure” suffers from this.
In defence of the band, it has to be said that they bring their music and message with conviction and passion. This is aptly demonstrated in tracks like ‘Esoteric Agenda’, ‘From Vanity To Utility’ and ‘Extension To One’. They also know how to write compact and solid songs, but it’s the complete lack of fresh and innovative ideas that is “Disclosure”’s undoing. The slick production doesn’t help a single bit either.
“Disclosure” by The Haarp Machine isn’t such a bad album. In fact, it’s quite solid. However, I’m afraid it doesn’t stand out enough in the monthly ocean of metal releases. This record is just another unremarkable face in the proverbial crowd…