Released: 2012, Sumerian Records
Reviewer: Peter Atkinson
Taking their name from the mysterious High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program - a military project to analyze the upper atmosphere as a means to improve radio communications and surveillance, or, if you're into conspiracy theories, manipulate the weather or unleash natural disasters - England's HAARP Machine, themselves, are an experiment in aural chaos.
Disclosure is one butt-clencher of a rollercoaster ride, with enough twists, turns, plummets and sudden stops to test the sturdiest constitution. Death/thrash metal fury meets djent complexity and chug with splashes of Middle Eastern instrumentation, hints of gothic drama, politically relevant commentary and ample clean vocals thrown in to make for a very busy – often too busy – mix.
The instrumental prowess of the quartet here is undeniable, with guitarist Al Mu'min, bassist Oliver Rooney and drummer Alex Rüdinger dodging and parrying, twirling and leaping like the Three Musketeers on crack. But, as a result, the song structures, such as they are, vary from free-form to almost no form, with vocalist Michael Semensky trading his typically rabid growl for soaring clean singing on many of the choruses to help tie things together. Elsewhere, some cool, Elton John-like piano passages provide a welcome break in the action, even if they seem somewhat out of place or unnecessary.
The overall effect of all the activity on Disclosure is near exhaustion, even though the album is barely 30 minutes long. A few hooky parts here and there, or a bit more melody outside of the clean vocal/piano parts, might have made for a more memorable, less frenetic listen.