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Diagonal - Diagonal CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

4.13 | 215 ratings

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Andy Webb
Special Collaborator
Retired Admin
5 stars Eclectic: selecting or choosing from various sources. I'd say so.

Diagonal is my favorite 70s psych band that isn't from the 70s. 30 years after psychedelic rock really took its roots, Diagonal has grown into a magnificent 7 piece of talented musicians who care about what they are doing. But, made obvious by the band's genre, Floyd and Jefferson Airplane aren't the only things they listen to before jamming. Hints of everything good about music pops up in their songs: prog metal, symphonic stuff, ambient passages, odd instruments and odd time signatures, lengthy instrumental sections, generally good melodies, and so, so, so much more. The whole album is a blast from the past of dusty old styles, from odd combo with distorted guitars and organ with a hint of sax, to wind, bass and synthesizer solos. Their singer is sub-par, but not only can you get used to his accented vocals and learn to like them, but the band slips his voice in only at strategic points between lengthy and amazing instrumental sections. What a good album.

Semi-Permeable Men-Brain opens with a slowly crescendoing organ-guitar intro, a creative section that really sets you up for the dynamic song. A more metallic section ensues, before breaking into a trisector with keys, sax, and guitar, before vocals enter. The melody is nice, as is the rhythm of the entire track. After the melody ends, yet another fantastic instrumental section opens, changing the dynamic of the song yet again. The whole track has a catchy under-melody, one of those catchy kind of jazz melodies that doesn't seem to leave your head. After even more amazing soloing, a catchy Yes-sounding instrumental sections opens with a Wakeman-like synth solo. These guys know when to rip out a fantastic opener. Overall, this track is easily one of the better ones, and it really opens the album up. With this band, you have to expect the unexpected.

Child of the Thunder Cloud is a great track, but in the beginning. This softer track takes a while to open up and really chug along. A quiet piano piece slowly (very very slowly) builds up to what will become an amazing guitar riff. It takes nearly 3 minutes, but its like an antique car: it takes a while to start but once it does you don't want it to stop riding around town. Crushingly great riffs, some nice melody, fantastic rhythm, it's just a good song.

Deathwatch is a second song that takes a little while to start up. The melody that it begins with really isn't very good, but it ends in less than a minute. A slow jazz sax solo opens up again, and once the song starts to pick up a little, the singing seems to improve. That accented, odd sounded voice seems to really have something really unique that sticks. Some nice Genesis-inspired rhythms can be heard throughout the song. The long instrumental section after the singer finished is very melodic and beautiful. The song continues this album's great "track" record. (haha)

Cannon Misfire is probably the best track on the record. The instrumental track has some of the most amazing riffing and musical writing ability I've ever heard. I'm not saying that the guys are shredding their guitars to ribbons or anything at all, just some of the stuff those musicians play is so damn creative I don't even have anything to say. It's like they sat down and combined Van Der Graaf Generator, Yes, King Crimson, Genesis, Opeth, Emerson Lake and Palmer, and every other classic and fantastic band and produced a song so magnanimous in it's spectacularity that I just had to create an adjective to describe it. What a great song. I would have bought this album if only this song was on it.

Pact, the longest song on the album, at 14:00, is also one of the better tracks. It opens with a catchy organ-guitar duo, and breaks into a sweeping symphonic bit that breaks into a more jazz-fusion like riff. It's a great intro. After some great melody section, an absolutely fantastic ambient section opens and amazes me for about 3 or 4 minutes before prominent guitar work opens up. The ambient section is extremely relaxing and serene. The guitar re- entry is very calm and really brings you out of a spectacular trance of beauty that Diagonal has layered for your listening enjoyment.

ALBUM OVERALL: What a great album. The recording quality isn't top notch, but it gives the music a more organic sound. The vocals are sub-par but not only can you learn to like his accented, odd pitched voice, he is used sparingly and with great effect. The instrumental sections are creative, fun, beautiful, and just genius all together. If you see this album anywhere, get it. And get it quickly.

Andy Webb | 5/5 |


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