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Diagonal: The Second Mechanism

Totally bonkers and yet utterly captivating.

You could be fooled into believing that Diagonal are so daft that they exist in their own parallel musical universe. But this is to unfairly criticise a band who offer an extraordinary range of styles and timbres here, on an album that starts and ends with the sound of water.

In between, there are five tracks, each of which is lengthy and full of twists. So, you can get enchanted by some jazzy pilgrimages before they turn to more psychedelic and folky passages, as Diagonal comfortably jump across the genres.

At no point do they allow you to relax into the music, though, because there’s a restive sense of progression. Occasionally, it borders on being perplexing, and there are times when you expect everything to shudder to a halt, but miraculously, the band always remain on track.

Mostly an instrumental record, The Second Mechanism owes something to Gong, a little more to The Soft Machine and even a nod to Return To Forever. Ultimately, though, it’s fascinatingly surreal.

Malcolm Dome had an illustrious and celebrated career which stretched back to working for Record Mirror magazine in the late 70s and Metal Fury in the early 80s before joining Kerrang! at its launch in 1981. His first book, Encyclopedia Metallica (opens in new tab), published in 1981, may have been the inspiration for the name of a certain band formed that same year. Dome is also credited with inventing the term "thrash metal" while writing about the Anthrax song Metal Thrashing Mad in 1984. He would later become a founding member of RAW rock magazine in 1988.

In the early 90s, Malcolm Dome was the Editor of Metal Forces magazine, and also involved in the horror film magazine Terror, before returning to Kerrang! for a spell. With the launch of Classic Rock magazine in 1998 he became involved with that title, sister magazine Metal Hammer, and was a contributor to Prog magazine since its inception in 2009. He was actively involved in Total Rock Radio (opens in new tab), which launched as Rock Radio Network in 1997, changing its name to Total Rock in 2000. In 2014 he joined the TeamRock online team as Archive Editor, uploading stories from all of our print titles and helping lay the foundation for what became Louder.

Dome was the author of many books on a host of bands from AC/DC to Led Zeppelin and Metallica, some of which he co-wrote with Prog Editor Jerry Ewing.