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Diagonal 4 album cover
4.06 | 58 ratings | 5 reviews | 22% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2021

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Amon (8:23)
2. Chroma (4:47)
3. Spinning Array (5:05)
4. Stellate (6:29)
5. Totem (11:47)

Total Time 36:31

Line-up / Musicians

- David Wileman / acoustic & electric guitars
- Alex Crispin / organ, electric piano, vocals, producer
- Ross Hossack / synthesizer
- Nicholas Whittaker / alto & soprano saxophones, vocals
- Daniel Pomlett / bass
- Luke Foster / drums & percussion

Releases information

Label: Cobblers Records
Formats: CD & Digital (October 1, 2021), Vinyl (December 1, 2021)

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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DIAGONAL 4 ratings distribution

(58 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(22%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(52%)
Good, but non-essential (26%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

DIAGONAL 4 reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Ever since hearing their debut back when I first joined PA in 2008 I've been interested in this band--have collected and listened to their albums with great interest. While none have really lived up to the stunning of the debut, the band continues to explore its raunchy, dirty sound that seems to pay homage to the raw and minimally-processed/effected sounds of the bands from the 1960s that they seem to revere (the early "Krautrock" bands). This new album sees the band continue to explore and perfect that sound.

1. "Amon" (8:23) great sound engineering: dirty and raunchy where it's wanted (guitars and vocals), clear and distinct everywhere else, all recorded lovingly in a 1960s way. Nice groove with hand percussion supplementing the drums and a fantastic use of saxophone (an instrument I usually do not like). At the 5-minute mark we turn the speedometer down quite a bit for a hauntingly spacious organ and picked-guitar-supported vocal section which then turns into a synth-solo space soundscape at the end of the seventh minute--which plays out till the song's end. Unusual, almost odd song. (17/20)

2. "Chroma" (4:47) opens with a little weave that, when the saxes enter, remind me of Norway's SEVEN IMPALE. Choral vocalise is added in the second minute as saxes and bass repeat a riff over and over. Then, at the end of the second minute, there is a pause for a reset, after which the cohesive band reenters with a pleasant groove for a bit. Another break serves to allow another restart, this time in support of a sensitive sax solo--one that continues in the lead for the final two minutes while several continuous instrumental riffs are woven together behind. Nice (8.5/10)

3. "Spinning Array" (5:05) opens with bass line and drum play sounding like the start of some 1970s R&B-funk tune. The rest of the band joins in with vocals--doubled leads and background harmonizing tracks. Nothing exceptional here in terms of instrumental expositions other than some traditional sounding Celtic flutes and pipes. It's actually quite a simple arrangement but always interesting as instrumental and vocal licks sneak in and out of the listener's attention. I like it! (8.75/10)

4. "Stellate" (6:29) an instrumental with a Krautrock sound that is some of the most CAN-like stuff I've heard in years (though I also hear the foundational music for Annette Peacock's great "Real and Defined Androgens" as well as the bass and drum lines of Ted Nugent's "Stranglehold"). The boys really groove here--like a long entrained expression of a drug trip. They are tight! Saxes and synths really feel like they're giving their full power to a fanfare-like royal procession. Guitar strays from his key rhythmic contribution to deliver some great little lead flourishes in the second half. Reminds me of Samsara Blues Project or Hypnos 69. The second best song on the album. (8.75/10)

5. "Totem" (11:47) opens with a gentle slow electric guitar arpeggio repeated over and over while other instruments slowly add their minimal support to the trance-inducing weave. Choral vocalise enters in the second minute with ethereal, angelic "aahs"; bluesy sax in the background in the fifth. At 5:10 we restart as a structured slow song with lyrics being sung as reflection of the guitar notes and, in the choruses, as more angelic chants--which then prompt the addition of multiple other voices in support as well as more spacey sounds (coming from guitar?) filling more of the background. This section reminds me so much of Prog Folk legends, MIDLAKE, and particularly their 2013 post-Tim Smith masterpiece, Antiphon. Great Neil Young-like guitar solo in the ninth minute. Great drumming. This section is drawn out a little longer than is really necessary--it could have been accomplished with the same effect in half the time, but it's still great. Best song on the album. More of this, please! (22.25/25)

Total Time 36:31

Though this isn't exceptionally difficult instrumental play--no Yes-like noodling or jazzy solos--the band members are all competent and confident on their instruments and they play so tightly! The music here just grows on you--I like it more with each listening. This is now my second favorite Diagonal album, just ahead of Arc.

B/four stars; though the album feels pretty short, it measures out the same as any single-disc vinyl album from the 1960s or 1970s. Recommended as an excellent addition to any prog lover's music.

Review by Rivertree
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Band Submissions
4 stars Don't care much about an imaginative album title ... when your music is appealing ... simple as that. At least it's quite a subtle reference that we have the band's fourth album in consideration here. With every instance they are going for a more multi-dimensional attitude. Some significant trademarks are stable, let it be Alex Crispin's unmatchable vocal part for example, or the jazzy and partially Middle East flavoured wind instruments contributed by Nicholas Whittaker. This exemplarily proves the track Chroma. Line up and overall feel have remained over the course of time. Nevertheless they fortunately are trying to avoid standstill, always want to go further in composition and sound.

Thus being motivated by many positive reactions regarding the previous 'Arc' album the DIAGONAL crew intended to take advantage of the momentum, and went into the studio for some new recordings very soon. That's the main reason that it solely took a two year gap for a new one this time. A good move in any case. As for the global impression, on this occasion you will detect more psychedelic elements within the sound. Where the title taken for the opening song Amon actually appears as a reference to the German krautrock band Amon Düül II. Must admit, I (yet?) don't really can get it, this is a bit of a stretch. Nevertheless here we have a fine and typical DIAGONAL song, though featuring a rather kosmische ambient finishing anyhow.

And then the instrumental Stellate mutates to another excellent heavy psychedelic tinged tune, provided with a proper jamming attitude. The closing Totem makes the long track. Showcasing an extended relaxed period at first, underlaid with a looping guitar figure and ethereal vocals. But this is gradually evolving into a somewhat thunderous finale. 36 minutes playing time, eh, due to the extraordinary entertaining compositions that passes so quickly. Hopefully there will come more soon. Why not taking advantage of the positive flow again? On the other hand, if needed please take your time DIAGONAL, in order to offer something substantial once more. By the way, if this meets your taste, I strongly recommend to check out the side project BARON, headed by Crispin and drummer Luke Foster, soundwise a tad more mainstream rock oriented.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Diagonal had a quick turnaround between this album and their previous release, 2019's Arc. Compare that timeline to the five-year gap between their self-titled debut and their sophomore album, or to the seven-year hiatus following that. Needless to say, I'm glad they're putting out music at a briske ... (read more)

Report this review (#2904524) | Posted by TheEliteExtremophile | Tuesday, April 4, 2023 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Review #4: 4 It's normal to be surprised at how little known a record that deserves so much more recognition can be, but this... completely blew me away. 4, Diagonal's fourth release (a bit obvious), is an eclectic prog album that fuses instruments like saxophone, percussion and complements t ... (read more)

Report this review (#2637654) | Posted by Saimon | Saturday, November 27, 2021 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Two years passed after "Arc" and thirteen after their eponymous debut album. Regarding its fourth release, DIAGONAL wanted to keep it simple by introducing their last opus "4" as SOFT MACHINE and LED ZEPELLIN at their time. You don't change a winning team by taking over the same troop made up of the ... (read more)

Report this review (#2634874) | Posted by RelayerFr | Wednesday, November 17, 2021 | Review Permanlink

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