In the four years since the last album of new material from the band, Julien-K has kept busy with several tours and the Time Capsule retrospective collection, all the while working on the highly anticipated Harmonic Disruptor. With this album, the electro/rockers have tapped into the more aggressive facets of their varied and dynamic style, opting for a harder edge sound that bears more a resemblance to the group’s first album, while still retaining the more melodic atmospheres of later releases. The scathing and distorted rhythms topped off by machine gun guitar riffs in the opening title track immediately set the stage as Ryan Shuck unleashes a screaming vocal the likes of which we’ve not heard from him since Death to Analog, offset only slightly by the rising melodic progression of the pre-chorus leading into shouts of “I’m a Harmonic Disruptor!” The same can be said for virtually every track on the record, from the danceable and anthemic “Burn the System” with its infectiously fluid leads and irresistibly catchy chorus, and the vicious mechanical fury and guttural synth and guitar riffs of “Shut Down Your Soul,” to the insidious and glassy pulses underscoring croaking bass grooves on “Stronger Without You,” and the blunt EBM force of “Undo Everything,” the distorted metallic howls against ominous and desperate chants of “Breaking the silence, creating the violence” making the closing track one of the album’s best. This writer has often noted Shuck’s impressive vocal range, and on Harmonic Disruptor, he pushes his abilities to the limit – he still sings and harmonizes with the same emotive flair he always has, while also screaming with the fervor of the angriest metalhead. Knowing the band’s longtime friendship and association with Chester Bennington, one could’ve easily presumed these to be long lost vocal takes of the late Linkin Park and Dead By Sunrise singer… what better tribute to pay to a departed friend? With Amir Derakh manning the production duties, Julien-K doesn’t so much reinvent itself on Harmonic Disruptor, nor is it strictly a return to the grittier sound of the band’s beginnings; no, this album is a vicious amalgam of all that we’ve heard from the group up to now – coldly abrasive and oppressive in its textures, yet warmly inviting and engaging in its melodic power.