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DIAGONAL

Eclectic Prog • United Kingdom


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DIAGONAL surprisingly appears on the stage in 2008 like an insider's tip. This Brighton/UK-based band is consisting of seven musicians in the mid twenties who obviously have the preference on 1970s prog music.

Accompanied by a 7'' production the eponymous debut album was released by the Rise Above Records label. The songs are full of references to wellknown prog dinosaurs but not getting dusty though. Based on a rich instrumentation and a sophisticated songwriting DIAGONAL is blending nearly all styles the genre has to offer. Far away from any mainstream this band is recommend to prog gourmets.

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Buy DIAGONAL Music


Second MechanismSecond Mechanism
Metal Blade 2012
Audio CD$8.97
$12.99 (used)
DiagonalDiagonal
Candlelight 2009
Audio CD$19.99
$12.95 (used)
The Second Mechanism by Diagonal [Music CD]The Second Mechanism by Diagonal [Music CD]
Rise Above
Audio CD$38.84
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DIAGONAL discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

DIAGONAL top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.14 | 158 ratings
Diagonal
2008
3.97 | 104 ratings
The Second Mechanism
2012

DIAGONAL Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

DIAGONAL Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

DIAGONAL Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

DIAGONAL Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 3 ratings
Heavy Language (Black Sparkle)
2008

DIAGONAL Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Diagonal by DIAGONAL album cover Studio Album, 2008
4.14 | 158 ratings

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Diagonal
Diagonal Eclectic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

4 stars Seven-piece outfit from Brighton, UK with all members being multi-instrumentalists.These were David Wileman, Nicholas Whittaker, Nicholas Richards, Ross Hossack, Luke Foster, Alex Crispin and Daniel Pomlett, with Crispin being the lead singer but all members contribute on vocals.They recorded their debut at Toe Rag Studios in London and the album succeeded both CD and vinyl issues on Rise Above Records.

The aim of Diagonal was to interpret the Classic Prog years from the 70's and actually you will hardly believe the album was recorded that recently.The extremely vintage opener ''Semi-Permiable menbrain'' borrows the best moments of KING CRIMSON, dominated by heavy guitar workouts and powerful Mellotron washes, and mixes them with a certain Jazz-Rock attitude ala COLOSSEUM with pounding organs and jazzy solos.A great opener indeed, followed by the long intro of ''Child of the thundercloud'', which becomes fully KING CRIMSON-oriented in the process with beautiful vocals in the vein of GREG LAKE and an energetic ending section with nice breaks and a very good piano performance.''Deathwatch'' lies somewhere between CRESSIDA (in the vocal lines) and KING CRIMSON/VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR (in the instrumental parts), even having slight Post Rock moves, led by light saxes, mellow electric piano and atmospheric guitar lines.With ''Cannon misfire'' seems like ROBERT FRIPP meets on stage with DAVID JACKSON in a very complex track with inredible guitat runs, frenetic bass lines and psychedelic saxes, simply stunning!''Fact'' is a beautiful closer, opening with a great guitar/organ vibe, but soon being transformed in an early-KING CRIMSON/CRESSIDA-inspired piece with orchestral Mellotrons and crying vocal lines.The only stretched point of the album comes after.About six minutes of ethereal, Lounge soundscapes of a Post Rock approach with synths and Mellotron, which is very atmospheric but maybe a bit too long.

Definitely one of the best recent Retro Prog albums.Highly nostalgic, characterized by impressive performances, excellent instrumental skills and tight compositions.Highly recommended.

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 Diagonal by DIAGONAL album cover Studio Album, 2008
4.14 | 158 ratings

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Diagonal
Diagonal Eclectic Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Diagonal play a style of nostalgic progressive rock which, despite benefiting a little from modern recording standards, is aesthetically informed by the underground prog bands of the late 1960s and early 1970s - a time when the interweaving of early prog and the countercultural underground was still in place and classical music influences hadn't yet begun to outweigh the psychedelic roots of prog.

At points they are really quite excellent at recapturing the aesthetic of that period - just listen to that organ sound at the start of the opening track for a great example - but I feel the album is dragged down a little precisely because of the band's commitment to authentically vintage- sounding material: by not allowing themselves to learn the lessons of hindsight the band end up repeating mistakes of the era, such as allowing an uninspired drum solo to go on for way too long. In essence, the band spend a little too much time reinventing the wheel and not enough time trimming away the fat for this debut to be anything other than a pleasant but inessential nostalgia trip.

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 The Second Mechanism by DIAGONAL album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.97 | 104 ratings

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The Second Mechanism
Diagonal Eclectic Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 4.5 stars. DIAGONAL's debut blew a lot of people away including myself with that late sixties / early seventies style. There was plenty of space for the instruments to breathe and the sax / clarinet and mellotron were certainly welcomed sounds along with the other vintage instruments. Here we are four years later and with a bit different lineup as the bass player and organist have left making this a five piece band now. The organ is now gone but we still get mellotron it's just not as easy to hear as this band has completely changed it's style. The space to breathe that I mentioned about the debut is gone as we get a full and thick sound almost constantly. So imagine the horns as being part of the sound now instead of being seperate like all of the instruments. This is more of a "rock" album and much more modern sounding while it comes across like they are jamming a lot with repetitive melodies. Way less vocals too when compared to the debut. And all of this is not a bad thing as this is a great album. Just different.

"Voyage / Paralysis" opens with spacey and bubbly sounds and the album will end this way as well. The band then kicks in with horns outfront. Spacey synths join in after 3 minutes as the horns stop then the guitar comes to the fore. Horns are back as they continue to jam. "These Yellow Sands" is more laid back with horns helping out. This is such a great track. I like the way the tempo shifts at times in this one too. Love the guitar 6 minutes in. "Mitochondria" opens quietly with bass and then the piano joins in followed by laid back horns. A change after 2 minutes as the song kicks in heavier. Check out the guitar 5 1/2 minutes in.

"Hulks" is the only track with vocals on it but they are brief. Drums and horns lead early then it settles back as the vocals join in around a minute.They don't stay long. A change before 3 minutes as it turns darker. It becomes intense after 4 minutes and this intensity is building. Nice. I like the vocal melodies late as the guitar rips it up. "Capsizing" is spacey to start with plenty of atmosphere. It starts to pick up before 1 1/2 minutes. So good. Horns play over the fast beat. The guitar replaces the horns before 5 1/2 minutes but the horns re-join quickly and eventually lead again. It ends with those bubbly synths.

There are some guest trumpet and flugelhorn this time around besides the sax and clarinet. This is a fantastic album but I can see many being disappointed because they want a repeat of the debut. It just shows how incredibly talented these guys are that they can change styles and still hit one out of the park.

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 The Second Mechanism by DIAGONAL album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.97 | 104 ratings

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The Second Mechanism
Diagonal Eclectic Prog

Review by BrufordFreak

4 stars A bit disappointing since I LOVED their debut. This one is not so classic, not so raw, and it's more syrupy and slow--not bad, just never as great or fresh or driving as the first one. Also, I rather liked the "dirty" production of the first album, this one is so clean and pristine (which is nice, I must admit, for the spacious, softer [more KARDA ESTRA/CAMEL-like] parts). Favorite songs: the ANEKDOTEN-like "These Yellow Sands" (7:59) (8/10), "Mitochondria" (9:41) (9/10), and "Hulks" (10:35) (8/10) (horns and fem b vox), and the eerily mood-capturing, CURE-ish "Capsizing" (9:10) (9/10).

An excellent prog album, just not up to the pace set forth by their first one. Still, recommended. (Just try to take it on its own terms--forget the dynamism of the first release.)

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 The Second Mechanism by DIAGONAL album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.97 | 104 ratings

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The Second Mechanism
Diagonal Eclectic Prog

Review by stefro
Prog Reviewer

4 stars After shedding two members and allegedly scrapping almost an album's worth of new material, Brighton's Diagonal have finally returned. A full four years have passed since the group released their outstanding self- titled debut of 2008, an album informed by the epic art-rock dynamics of King Crimson, the fusion-toned force of Return To Forever, Van Graaf Generator's darkly-wrought heart and surely one of the contenders for this current century's great modern prog records. The fact that Diagonal's original seven-man line-up were all barely out of their teens made the achievement all the more spectacular. However, four years is a long time in rock. For a while it seemed like the youthful outfit would go the same way as so many of their prog-rock cohorts past-and-present by making a great album before subsequently and inexplicably disappearing into the big dark hole of rock 'n' roll obscurity, home to the likes of Arcadium, Grannie, Bakerloo, Maxophone, The Norman Haines Band and many, many others. Thankfully, though, Diagonal's unique sound has proved simply too impressive to squander. The recently-ended four-year hiatus has seen changes, both in personel and in the group's overall style, yet for the most the five-pieces difficult-second-album 'The Second Mechanism' proves a welcome return, even if it doesn't quite live up to the sky high expectations set by its predecessor. Here, we have a darker-sounding record, one with heavier beats, less Crimson-influenced exotica and an electronic edge that lends 'The Second Mechanism' a more immediate feel. The production, too, seems more streamlined, with the abrasive complexity that underpinned 'Diagonal' replaced by a fuzzy ambience that brings to mind such post-rock acts as Battles and Russian Circles. Opening track 'Voyage / Paralysis' is a prime example of this new approach, the warped beats and droning keyboards hitching a futuristic quality onto the group's richly-textured art-prog mixture. The album's key piece, however, proves to be its longest. Coming in at just over the ten-minute mark, the full-blown, psychedelic, heavy jazz-drone odyssey 'Hulks' proves to be the moment worth waiting four years for. This is Diagonal in full, glorious flow, weaving a dense tapestry of grilled guitars, skittering beats and dancing synthesizers into a brooding and cinematic multi-part epic. Occasionally, as found in closer 'Capsizing', 'The Second Mechanism' threatens to slip into murky proto-dance territory, yet the group's decision to polish and update their sound makes for mostly fascinating listening. Its not quite the spectacular experience that is 2008's 'Diagonal', yet it comes close. And at its very best this is a highly-mature and ever impressive statement from one of Britain's outstanding young prog groups. We excitedly await album number three. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2012

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 Diagonal by DIAGONAL album cover Studio Album, 2008
4.14 | 158 ratings

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Diagonal
Diagonal Eclectic Prog

Review by Starhammer
Prog Reviewer

4 stars From a different angle...

This eponymous debut was one of the best albums of 2008 and with a second release on the horizon, now seems a good time to write a quick review.

Diagonal are a five piece outfit from Brighton that play an intriguing style of eclectic prog. At times it falls somewhere between Camel and Deep Purple but for the most part it fells quite original. The first few times I listened to the album the almost tuneless alto sax was a major deal-breaker, but now I love it and seems part of their signature.

The opening two tracks are truly excellent and and compliment each other well. The general tranquillity of Child of the Thundercloud provides a stark contrast to the bombastic Semi Permeable Men-Brain. The standard of musicianship is superb and the arrangements both engaging and tasteful. However, for me one of the stand-out points is the production. Too often great compositions get ruined by unbalanced levels or poor clarity, but the sound here is pretty much perfection, and this is particularly admirable for such a dynamic album.

Diagonal's only real short coming is a bit of a lull towards the middle. Deathwatch does nothing for me, and the opening to Cannon Misfire just sounds like outtakes from the SPM-B breakdown. This leaves me thinking they might have peaked to early, but thankfully it is recovered with a hypnotic bass riff, and the psychedelic finale on Pact provides the perfect ending.

The Verdict: Whilst the centre might be a little under-baked, the album as a whole remains a delicious slice of prog.

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 Diagonal by DIAGONAL album cover Studio Album, 2008
4.14 | 158 ratings

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Diagonal
Diagonal Eclectic Prog

Review by Rune2000
Special Collaborator Prog Metal Team

3 stars Allow me to be frank with you from the start, I don't understand the hype surrounding this highly praised full-length album by Diagonal.

This 2008 release has been praised by pretty much everyone so far, which is the reason why I didn't waste my time and got this album in early 2010. Since then, this album have received around 10 sporadic revisits where I, each and every time, wanted to believe that there was a clear growth in the material. We're now approaching the end of May 2011 and I'll just have to admit my failure of comprehending the magic of this record.

It's not that the band members are necessarily bad at what they're doing. Writing original vintage Prog music is something that I wish that many more would actually attempt wholeheartedly, without relying on all those old clichés. My main concern comes from the fact that this music feels bland and never reaches either the highest heights nor the lowest lows. This might just be the reason why so many actually enjoy this record as much as they do, combined with some atmospheric jams added to the mix. Most of these compositions drag on for way too long and have little to offer in return for the invested time. The biggest sinner in this category is the 7+ minute atmospheric interlude called Deathwatch. I call it an interlude since the composition really goes nowhere and therefore shouldn't have even been longer than 2-3 minutes!

Semi Permeable Men-Brain and Pact feature some memorable arrangements but I neither enjoy the very laid back vocals nor the extremely long jam sections. At times, I almost get the feeling that the band had around 20-25 minutes worth of album material which they decided to stretch out into this 45+ minute record. The only truly spectacular moment here is the 5+ minute instrumental Cannon Misfire, which returns me to the great energy that I experienced on Heavy Language, from the band's short two-track debut release.

One might assume that I really hate this record after reading this review, but this is not true. I might be a bit more demanding on this material considering that it's such a highly praised recording, which I expected a lot more out of. I simply find it lacking on a broader level in order to award it anything higher than the good, but non-essential rating.

***** star songs: Cannon Misfire (5:32)

**** star songs: Semi Permeable Men-Brain (10:54) Child Of The Thunder-Cloud (8:49) Pact (14:00)

*** star songs: Deathwatch (7:18)

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 Heavy Language (Black Sparkle) by DIAGONAL album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2008
4.00 | 3 ratings

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Heavy Language (Black Sparkle)
Diagonal Eclectic Prog

Review by Rune2000
Special Collaborator Prog Metal Team

4 stars Heavy Language (Black Sparkle) is a debut release from the Brighton-based band Diagonal which I managed to come across on Spotify while searching for the band's self-titled studio album. Unfortunately the studio album was not there, but it definitely didn't stop me from getting just the right dosage of Diagonal!

This short release consists of two non-album composition, which together clock at a total of less than 7 minutes worth of material. It is quite surprising that the band managed to keep things relatively short here since this is really not the case with their full-length release, but I'll talk more about that in my next review. Heavy Language and Milankovitch Cycles depict completely opposite sides of the band's repertoire which is something that Diagonal prefers to mix together into all of their lengthier pieces.

Heavy Language is all about the crazy heavy rock arrangements which come out of nowhere and just gets things off to an excellent start. I will go as far as to say that this is actually my favorite track out of all the material that the band has released up until now. The arrangements are highly influenced by Jazz Rock/Fusion, even though there is a definite leaning towards Heavy Prog approach. Milankovitch Cycles, on the other hand, is all about the atmosphere! This is a very smooth piece that does tease of the things that Diagonal would display on their full length release but at a much shorter time span.

Overall, this is a great instrumental introduction to Diagonal that may not be entirely representable of the things to come, but I honestly wouldn't want it any other way!

***** star songs: Heavy Language (3:13)

**** star songs: Milankovitch Cycles (3:31)

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 Diagonal by DIAGONAL album cover Studio Album, 2008
4.14 | 158 ratings

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Diagonal
Diagonal Eclectic Prog

Review by progrules
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Maybe I should have stayed away from this album in the end. I mean eclectic prog and progrules is not a succesful combination. Well, there is some eclectic prog I can appreciate and in fact Diagonal comes pretty close after all but still this is far away from my preferred styles of prog.

Where the references are concerned I totally agree with progaeopteryx and several other reviewers when they mention Deep Purple (in their 60's era), King Crimson and Pink Floyd (also early days). And yes, even a hint of Camel's debut is detecable indeed. Mellotron all over the place and variation is another feature of this debut by Diagonal.

But what I find somewhat disturbing is where neoprogbands and also symphonic progbands are often bashed because of their retrograde and their being derivative suddenly Diagonal is praised for the exact same thing. Ok, maybe the whole thing is done in a fresh and quite original way but it's still sheer retro what I'm hearing and it's also pretty derivative. So I will have to distract points for this fact if we are to be consistent. And in the end this album isn't really my cup of tea anyway. Let's say 2,5 stars subjectively and at least 3,5 objectively result in a downright 3 stars as far as I'm concerned. Great album but not for me.

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 Diagonal by DIAGONAL album cover Studio Album, 2008
4.14 | 158 ratings

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Diagonal
Diagonal Eclectic Prog

Review by omardiyejon

5 stars What an extraordinary surprise that is touched by the magical hands of 70s. Every single note that flows by, reminds you the gem of those amazing years. The recording, the tone of the drums and the even the sound of guitar are adorned by the contemporary insight of today's progressive rock standarts. With these in hands, we might say that Diagonal tried an incredibly hard thing to find the gem of 70s again, but since they did it magnificently, their great challenge ended with a huge victory.

Every song on the album is special in my opinion. But my special attention is Cannon Misfire since it carries the intensity of repetition. A Magma-ish but less experimental style of repetition and slower of course. This is what you'd like to hear when you want to listen a special album from 21st century.

In the instrumentation, guitar and drums are really impressive to me. Firstly, the guitar...I had not heard such sweet solos for a very long time. The guitarist is doing his job in a perfectly right way. And the drums, I think the drummer is the main factor behind the band to find the gem of 70s.

This album is a real treasure for the listener since it is both a contemporary piece of art and a classic gem of the times that this music was born.

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