Over the last year or so, I’ve noticed a small but growing contingent that pushes the envelope of what us metalheads consider our sonic domain. Outfits like Astra, Trioscapes, Ihsahn and others have put out music that contains examples of the proggy rhythms and virtuosic instrumental flurries that call to mind some of my favorite metal bands. But this aural stew is ladled over a soft, warm bed of psychedelic rice that puts it on another level of musical extravagance.
More energetic than stoner metal, but more freeform than progressive conventions, UK-based Diagonal’s latest work, The Second Mechanism, is a unique and interesting album for metalheads of the aforementioned leanings. Like last year’s Separate Realities from Trioscapes, Diagonal plays in the sound space between jazz fusion, metal, and post punk without alienating any one group with too much of the unusual. I’m beginning to refer to these as Venn groups (as in Venn diagram). And I’m liking them a lot.
That being said, I should point out that while it has its moments, this music is actually more progressive rock than progressive metal. So, don’t be misled into thinking you’re going to bang your head much, it’s more like The Mars Volta without vocals and more jazzy, or maybe if Rush went with horns instead of synthesizers on Subdivisions.
The Bottom Line: If you’re into the prog scene, but favor a little experimentation with some jazzy flavor, this may just scratch your itch.
Tracks to Rock Your Next Sunday Jazz Brunch: The whole damn album
- Genghis really did dig this groovy, kooky stuff…