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Diagonal - The Second Mechanism CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

3.82 | 148 ratings

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4 stars With their debut in 2008, the British Diagonal presented a surprising work from the retro-prog area. The album was so retro that you almost wanted to believe in a lost original from the 70s. After that, however, it got pretty quiet around the band. That was probably because singer and keyboardist (and probably something like the head of the band) Alex Crispin and bassist Daniel Pomlett left the band. The boys first had to cope with this bloodletting. A small solution was chosen. The second guitarist Nicholas Richards switched to bass and from then on they made music as a quintet. So what is there to say about the style? Basically, Diagonal play a partly psychedelic, partly rocking retro sound. The pieces here are tangible and coherent. In terms of composition, it also turns out that Diagonal mainly uses jazzy means. Bass and drums form a solid, rhythmically versed foundation, above which guitar, wind instruments and numerous keyboards make up the melody.

And with this principle, very respectable pieces are made, which are coherently developed and are always nice to listen to. A good example of this is "These Yellow Sands", which begins with a slow tempo, melodies played in unison by clarinet and guitar against a wistful background of Mellotron-like sounds and suggested choirs, before a brisk part with driving drums after about 2:30 and funky wind accompaniment sets in, which is slightly reminiscent of Chicago. That lasts for another two minutes before a trickier passage with almost crimson-like, but also melancholy thumping of bass, guitar and winds takes over and leads to the end.

As far as the psychedelic component is concerned, there are still strange synthesizer cues over straight rhythms, such as towards the end of "Voyage / Paralysis" or at the beginning of "Hulks". That sounds like Spacerock standards, but in my opinion is less reminiscent of the old British Hawkwind school, but more of current Scandinavian representatives such as Hidria Spacefolk or Circle. This is supported not least by the loose rhythmic foundation underneath, which bypasses any stomping, as well as the colorful, patented instrumentation and, last but not least, the countless jazz rock cues.

So to conclude the overall feeling of the album - the organ is booming, analog synths are in abundance, the bass rumbling and grumbling, guitars sawing and scratching, all rounded off by powerful, variable drumming. Soft Mellotron choirs, flute sounds, squeaky, rough sax round off the sound experience. In between there are melancholy trumpet passages and strange electronic chatter at the beginning and end. Diagonal also conjure up the sound feeling of an era on their second album. The early 70s are very finely revived with this mixture of playful rock, canterburesque weirdness, rushing psychedelic and a dash of beat bliss. The final "Caspsizing" could also come from an early Van der Graaf Generator album. So if you want to indulge in well-played, almost authentic- sounding retro-prog, you've come to the right place.

I love it!!!!!

prog_traveller!! | 4/5 |


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