Diagonal - s/t. 2008 Rise Above (CD; LP); 2008 Candlelight (USA CD)
Diagonal - The Second Mechanism. 2012 Rise Above (CD; LP)
Diagonal at the current time do not appear to be active, with no significant activity since 2014.
Diagonal are the first modern UK band, that I know of anyway, to truly capture the essence, atmosphere, and sound of the original progressive rock movement from 1970-1971 England. Many groups have come along and tried their hand at generating the sound of Yes, Genesis, ELP, Gentle Giant, Jethro Tull, Pink Floyd, Renaissance, King Crimson, and Van der Graaf Generator. And while all of those groups are worthy of imitation, they only represented a fraction of the original UK movement. Of course, they were the ones that made the big time, so it's more than understandable how they attracted more admirers than others. But Diagonal has clearly absorbed the record collections of the deep divers - in particular the Neon, Dawn, Transatlantic, Vertigo, and Deram labels and their stable of bands. With Diagonal you'll hear references to bands such as Cressida, Samurai, Raw Material, T2, Beggar's Opera, Gravy Train, Spring, Clear Blue Sky, Diabolus, East of Eden, and Indian Summer. But here's the most important part to understand: They have absorbed the influence, not copy it. And so you get an entirely new album within a familiar context. And because the band has clearly studied this era in depth, not to mention incorporating the period instrumentation (mellotron, Hammond organ, Fender Rhodes, fuzz bass/guitar, sax), they are able to create an extract of the genre. What that means for us modern buyers is an enhanced product - perhaps even exaggerated. For my tastes, Diagonal have created the perfect retro progressive rock album. An album to be held up as an example of how to do it right. If you're a student of the genre, then let Diagonal be your teacher.
----The Second Mechanism
If the debut laid down the premise that Diagonal were to be the retro progressive rock band to be reckoned with, then The Second Mechanism fulfills that conclusion. Perhaps more studied than their first opus, with even more twists and turns to keep the modern short-attention-spanned listener completely enthralled - ironic given Diagonal's 1971 disposition. But such was the state of that era - and ours. Diagonal are a band that have gone from great to greater, and I can only imagine what they will come up with next. Let's hope the group continues to explore these paths that were not as tread upon as many people might initially presume. Diagonal are walking the little known side trails from the main highway. And there are many aural treasures to be found.
Last update: August 19, 2016