With his sophomore album Diamonds & Demons, Paul Maged appears to want to channel all different types of rock. From early punk rock to 90s alternative rock and even 80s hair rock, he seems to have one musical message for listeners: rock. Through his lyrics, however, Maged expresses many other issues such as politics, poverty, religion and climate change. Using his powerful vehicle of rock, Diamonds & Demons seems to have a higher purpose for Maged, but the musical point is clear: rock rocks.
Paul Maged’s vocals are a bit of an acquired taste. Much like Neil Young or Bob Dylan, fans will either love or hate Maged’s forceful and brassy voice, but its potential to become the iconic tone to support his lyrical message and hard rock musical tracks is undeniable. The timbre of Maged’s voice is somewhat of a mix between Paul Stanley from Kiss and an off-key Paul Westerberg, and he seems intent on screaming all the lyrics but after the initial shock it goes quite well with most of the backing tracks on Diamonds & Demons.
It is clear that Paul Maged enjoys experimenting with different genres and sub-genres of rock. Diamonds & Demons is a 16-track epic which moves from early punk to 80s hair metal to more subtle 90s-inspired alternative rock. There is also a healthy dose of blues, the most consistent current which runs though Maged’s style, and he has even experimented with industrial and electronic music, though those styles do not appear on this album.
The other consistent vein in Maged’s music is that he seems very interested in telling a story with each of his tracks. He is passionate about the issues he highlights in Diamonds & Demons, and seems very deliberate about how he wants to explain his thoughts. Whether it is a culture commentary, such as in the opening track, Look at Me, a song about the prevailing sense of narcissism in today’s youth, or a well and true character sketch as in Anastasia, Maged fancies himself a sort of Elvis Costello-like yarn spinner. Though he has a ways to go before reaching that standard, it is clear Maged has a gift for using lyrics to tell a story or to make a point. Listeners will not be able to help but sit up and listen to what Maged is trying to tell them, a credit to both his songwriting style and his unique voice.
Paul Maged wrote and performed all the songs on Diamonds & Demons, but for live performances he often tours with The Strangers, who feature in most of his videos. Through the many sub-genres he explores on the album he is able to showcase his talent both for guitar-playing and drums, as well as composition and lyrical storytelling. The album has been the culmination of three years of work for Paul Maged, and since its release it is already earning a buzz both in the U.S. and abroad. Two of the singles, Look at Me and Last Days are available to stream on Maged’s Bandcamp page, and the whole album is available for purchase under the “name your own price” option.
Review by Layla Klamt
Press release, Paul Maged provided by Independent Music Promotions