Currently the whole progressive rock and metal scene seems to be drenched with a collective urge to dig up the ol’ Hammond and Mellotron age again. The latest releases by Storm Corrosion, Opeth and Pain Of Salvation all share the frenetic need to sound like King Crimson, Pink Floyd, Camel, Gentle Giant, Deep Purple and Yes again.
There’s a lot to say for it, since those bands are pretty much the cradle from where prog rock/metal originates. However, I personally draw the line when it goes from being inspired by to downright emulating and copying certain bands and that’s exactly my biggest grief with Diagonal and The Second Mechanism.
The long and often jazz-rock inspired tracks like “These Yellow Sands” and “Hulks” often remind me of Steven Wilson’s Grace For Drowning record. There’s one key difference though. Where Diagonal tries to emulate King Crimson and the lot as they best they can Steven Wilson really manages to put his own mark to the music.
Don’t get me wrong here, the Diagonal lads certainly have a knack for songwriting and they obviously know how to play their instruments, but I simply miss one key ingredient, namely their own take on things.
If you’re looking for an authentic and lovely trip down to seventies prog/jazz rock then Diagonal delivers all the goods on The Second Mechanism. If you’re looking for something a little more original I recommend the latest albums by Steven Wilson, Ulver and Opeth.
(released November 20, 2012 on Rise Above Records)