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Tag Archive: The HAARP Machine


Rest Among Ruins are now announcing the first “chapter” of a 14-song concept album in Fugue. “Beyond the Storm” is set to pave the way for the upcoming melodic death album, produced by Drewsift Stalin and features Mike Semesky (ex-Intervals, ex-The HAARP Machine, Raunchy) on vocals, rhythm guitar, and bass, Ben Schmitz on lead guitar, and Geoff Palmer on drums.

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Raunchy are an interesting band: melding cloyingly sweet pop melodies and heavier, metalcore like riffs in two one hazy elixir, their unique sound can definitely be said to have been ahead of its time. Long before metalcore and djent woke up to the interesting fusion between more mainstream music, Raunchy and perhaps Mercenary were already utilizing the bass heavy beats of pop culture. The band has come a long way, including several line up changes, but now stand before us with a rising name in tow: Mike Semesky, of The HAARP Machine and Intervals fame. Head on over the jump to see how his voice fits in.
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john browne of monuments

Today, September 12th, 2014, Monuments embark on their first ever US headlining tour, and they’re bringing in tow progressive upstarts Polyphia as well as Villains and Lionfight. In support of the group’s recent stints touring stateside for the first time ever and the release of their celebrated sophomore album The Amanuensis, Monuments mastermind John Browne opened up about finding new vocalist Chris Barretto, the conceptual story behind The Amanuensis, and more. Photo by Maclyn Bean Photography.

The Amanuensis by no means is a victim of the sophomore slump, and in our opinion, it trumps the debut. How do you feel going into its release compared to Gnosis?

I feel a lot more confident for sure. We sat on the Gnosis material for over 2 years, we’d been playing it live with other singers and generally the overall consensus from the fans that it was past it’s time. Although saying that, I still think that album is a great debut.

How did you come into bringing Chris Barretto into the fold?

We were having problems with our old singer, personally and on stage. We never really felt his live performance was consistent enough for where we wanted to go. On a personal level none of us really moulded with him. We were on tour with The Haarp Machine — Chris Barretto was filling in for them. Every night he was killing it and quite honestly, making us look bad. After the tour the guys asked him if he’d be interested in auditioning for the band, his audition ruled and we figured that overall, even though the cost of flights is another expense, being a flawless live band should come at no expense. We hired him immediately.

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Intervals – A Voice Within

Intervals - A Voice WithinIntervals

A Voice Within

01. Ephemeral
02. Moment Marauder
03. Automaton
04. The Self Surrendered
05. Breathe
06. The Escape
07. Atlas Hour
08. Siren Sound
09. A Voice Within


Lately, there has been a lot of talk about musical metamorphoses. Alcest completed their predictable evolution as a dream-rock act and dropped all shades of their former blackened shell. Tides of Man recently went from progressive rock-influenced post-hardcore group to instrumental post-rock maestros following the departure of vocalist Tilian Pearson. The most jarring and polarizing transformation we’ve seen recently though is the one taken by Toronto-based act Intervals; after making a name for themselves as an instrumental guitar-oriented project, touring bassist and former The HAARP Machine vocalist Mike Semesky graduated to full-time singer for their full-length debut, alienating many fans along the way.

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mike semesky lorde cover

Current Intervals and former The HAARP Machine frontman Mike Semesky has made no secret of his love of pop music. When he’s not making internet metal nerds mad for turning instrumental metal groups into non-instrumental groups, he can be seen on YouTube covering artists such as Lana Del Rey and Imogen Heap. The latest pop artist to get the Semsexy treatment is New Zealand’s Lorde in an on-point cover of ‘Tennis Court,’ below.

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intervals 2014

Toronto’s Intervals have garnered a growing buzz since their first EP, 2011’s The Space Between, which was recorded as a solo project from guitarist Aaron Marshall, formerly of Speak Of The Devil. Since then, the group has turned into a full touring band. Not content with just writing instrumental music, the group have angered a bunch of djent nerds by promoting bassist Mike Semesky (ex-Vestascension, ex-The HAARP Machine) to full-time vocalist. Yes, good.

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An interesting turn of events this one. As you’ll probably know, The HAARP Machine recently underwent huge line-up changes leaving three particularly great musicians without a proper place to call home. Drummer Alex Rudinger was quickly snapped up into The Faceless and bassist Ollie Rooney decided to go it alone, just leaving vocalist Mike Semesky left as a free agent.

However, with the recent announcement that long-time vocalist Kasper Thomsen has left the band, Raunchy have quickly announced Semesky as his replacement. You can read the statement from the band after the jump.

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HAARP machine teaser

By now you’re all probably aware of the fate of The HAARP Machine in recent weeks: 3/4 of the band (so basically everyone except Mu’min) left, right before a huge European tour with Born Of Osiris, After The Burial and Monuments, leaving the band, or Mu’min I should say, in quite the predicament. How could he possibly find 3 new band member in time or the tour, which is in a few weeks? Would he get people good enough to play his music? Well, we now have the answer.

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A lot has been happening over the last few days in The Faceless camp. So here’s the round up in the style of a news sandwich (good, bad, good):

After the recent departure of long time drummer Lyle Cooper (above, right of center), absolutely no one was left wondering about who would fill the drum stool. So in a move that will surprise no one, Alex Rudinger of the recently shaken up The HAARP Machine has been drafted to fill the space — the official announcement is as follows:

“To clear the air on a few details, The Faceless has decided to part ways with drummer Lyle Cooper due to a growing difference in the level of commitment to the project. We wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors and we’re sure he’ll continue to be successful with music. Having said that, we are very excited to announce that Alex Rudinger is our new full time drummer. We just played our first 3 shows with him in Mexico and what he brings to the band both musically and personally, is simply astounding. We are looking forward to a great future with Alex.”

Needless to say, Rudinger is an absolute beast behind the kit and is clearly more than talented enough to cope with the all the twists and turns Keene can throw at him, so here’s to hoping this is a long lasting tenure (for once).

For those of us in these grand ol’ isles of Britania, the news was tainted a little as it came with the announcement that the band’s upcoming UK tour alongside The Safety Fire has been cancelled due to visa issues:

Due to Visa issues with The Faceless, our forthcoming tour has unfortunately been cancelled. Refunds for tickets are available from your place of purchase.

Thank you to all of our fans who bought tickets for these shows. We will try to make it up to you as soon as possible – TSF

This statement was later echoed on The Faceless‘s page, also suggesting that the tour will be rescheduled at some point.

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We’ve tried to avoid persistent rumors surrounding The HAARP Machine guitarist Al Mu’min in the past. Ex-members of the band and people generally in the know came out about how not only was Al Mu’min hard to get along with (it was said that he threatened to burn someone’s house down), but he could barely even play his guitar parts, relying on studio magic and live backing tracks to get by. While the rumors seemed highly likely to be true, we’ve generally shied against this sort of thing, just as we did with the whole Rings of Saturn fiasco from last year. Again, these are rumors that should be taken with a grain of salt, and we do not claim to either confirm nor deny them.

However, these rumors have a little more weight, as everyone in the band who isn’t Al Mu’min has left. Vocalist Mike Semesky sent out the following press release early this morning and made it pretty clear that it was all because of Mu’min (below emphasis mine):

Vocalist, Mike Semesky; drummer, Alex Rudinger; and bassist, Ollie Rooney have parted ways with Sumerian Records’ progressive metal act, The|HAARP|Machine.

Mike Semesky comments

Due to irreconcilable personal differences with our guitarist Al Mu’min, the three of us (Alex, Ollie, and I) have decided to part ways with The|HAARP|Machine  This was in no way an easy decision to make but the three of us feel that it is in our best interest to pursue other musical endeavors at this time. We would like to thank all of our fans, our friends and families, Sumerian Records, and everyone else who supported our band along the way. Rest assured that the three of us are in no way giving up on our music careers and we’d encourage you all to follow our individual YouTube channels to keep up with our tunes while we are in pursuit of our new musical homes.

Take care and thank you for reading,

Mike, Alex, and Ollie
Mike Semesky’s YouTube channel:
Alex Rudinger’s YouTube channel:
Ollie Rooney’s YouTube channel:

Now it’s hard telling where The HAARP Machine will end up. Al Mu’min may say “fuck it” after this blow and just dissolve The HAARP Machine; after all, why go through the trouble of finding a whole new band? It’s also worth mentioning that Sumerian Records got pissed and dropped an even more successful band that did this sort of thing, so The HAARP Machine may just be done. If Mu’min is persistent, we could see him sticking to it as a DIY solo project. At any rate, this is a major blow to him, surely.

This also frees up drummer Alex Rudinger in joining The Faceless, as he’s already the fill-in for the vacant drummer spot. As far as I’m concerned, he traded up.

As of drafting this post, there’s been no statement or reaction from Mu’min or Sumerian Records. We’ll have more word on this as it comes in.

UPDATE: Al Mu’min appears to have commented below:

My qualms with my former bandmates are very little to do with my alleged dangerous nature and more to do with musical direction. Yes, whilst I concede to my ardent detractors that I’m not tightest of all players live I should add the songs on the album are quite difficult to pull off in a live context and I would honestly prefer a little support and positivity amongst my ‘metal’ brethren. I wish you all a good day. Evidently my day has been ruined by this loss but I wish not for myself not to wallow in self-doubt and sorrow.

– JR

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