Skip to main content

CD Review Paul Maged - Diamonds & Demons (Independent - September 23, 2014)

CD Review
Paul Maged - Diamonds & Demons
Independent - September 23, 2014

Buy the CD


If you're looking for intelligent alt rock with a tough edge, then Diamonds & Demons, the sophomore release by New York City based Paul Maged is probably your cup of tea.

Produced by multi-platinum producer Sean Gill, this release follows in the tradition of straight ahead rock from NYC and features high level musicianship in a variety of styles from punk, grunge, classic rock, indie pop to ballads. Maged studied music at the Boston Conservatory and then attended the American Musical & Dramatic Academy in New York. He has appeared in several independent films including festival award winner “Bobby G. Can’t Swim,” and has performed stand-up comedy throughout the Tri-state.  One of the songs from his debut record, "In My Time" appeared multiple times on MTV's long running show “Think Again Sex Myths Revealed.”

His second release offers a combination of radio friendly tracks and more idiosyncratic, oddball songs like Images, a meditation on society with a nice rhythmic complexity. His lyrics that talk about peace, haters, politicians and negative energy, freedom - a clearly contemporary sensibility, complete with nimble rock guitar licks and crashing cymbals.

Diamonds & Demons starts with a roar on Look At Me with tight harmonies and a catchy chorus. Paul has a voice that growls more easily than it croons but he does manage a nice, wavering soulful tone when it's required and also a strident tone for the politics and philosophy.

The title song is a favourite of mine with its kinetic energy and his voice at its raspy best. In the opening of Blind Faith he takes a piano-driven detour into a ballad that suits his plaintive tenor. Annastasia is a pretty acoustic guitar ballad, more standard singer/songwriter territory than most of the other tracks. Here his voice is expressive, backed up by string sounds in a slow country/folk vibe. From there the album goes straight into Human Warfare, a hard metalesque track with a nice harmony in the chorus that contrasts the snarly vocals.

Though he lists his influences primarily from the grunge/indie scene - Pearl Jam, R.E.M., Green Day - you can hear the Billy Joel in his vocals on occasion (notably Love & Loss in the Western World) and even flashes of prog rock here and there in the harmonic changes

He veers towards upbeat country rock on My Dear Love, a song that begins with an acoustic verse. Paradise Island is another stand out track with its upbeat energy. The appropriately titled Somber Song is a pretty piano ballad, an ode to loss. Paul goes through many moods and a range of styles through the tracks, from the definitely Billy Joel inspired piano track 64th and 1st to the stripped back punk attitude of Not Complicated. He can pull off the relentless energy of punk on other tracks like I'm Gone.

Along the great lawn in Central Park
What a beautiful day to forget who you are
Look into the sun for a fast resolve
That'll clear the spirit of its hazy thought


But it's the sound of punk without the nihilism - a more contemporary approach that's philosophical more than destructive. What is Peace is a choir-like exit refrain that seems a fitting closure to the New Age flavoured smorgasbord.

The first single released from the album called “Look At Me” has quickly found success, earning non-exclusive licensing on a UK television show that debuts in Winter 2014. Look At Me is a sarcastic view of ego and elitism in today’s ME society, encased in a punk rock/grunge skeleton.

Words & Music By Paul Maged
Electric, Acoustic, Bass Guitar: Ari Friedman; Drums: Marc Hoffman; Piano, Keyboard, Vocals: Paul Maged; Accordion (Annastasia): Sean Gill; Trumpet (Paradise Island): Ari Friedman

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company Spring 2013 Toronto Performances

From a media release:

The new season brings
Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company
to new heights and new audiences

March 20-24, 2013 - A Night in Madrid
April 25-28, 2013 - Annual Toronto Season - World Premiere of Portales

TORONTO : Following on the heels of Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company's (EESDC) 30th anniversary year where its production Aguas/Waters was named one of the top five dance shows of 2012 by NOW Magazine, the early months of 2013 are full of excitement and possibility for Esmeralda and the company, which brings the finest flamenco and Spanish Classical Dance to Toronto stages.

March 20-24, 2013 - A Night in Madrid
Company dancers Esmeralda Enrique and Paloma Cortés perform Spanish Classical dance with the celebrated Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir for A Night in Madrid featuring the Iberian flavoured music of composer Luigi Boccherini who made his home in Spain. His work is infused with the sounds of Spanish and gypsy folk music.

March 20-24 …

Film News - imagineNATIVE Embargo Collective at the Berlin Film Fest

Hot Off the Presses:
(and gosh, doesn't that expression sound quaint these days?)

imagineNATIVE’s EMBARGO COLLECTIVE
to have its European Premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival 2010
(Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin 11.-21.02.10)

(Toronto, February 3rd, 2010) The imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival is pleased to announce the official selection of the festival’s Embargo Collective programme for the Forum Expanded section of this year’s Berlin International Film Festival. This programme of works was commissioned by the imagineNATIVE festival for its 10th anniversary and will have its European premiere Monday, February 15th, 8.30pm at Cinema Arsenal 2 and a repeat screening Wednesday, February 17th, 4pm at CinemaxX 6.

Curated by imagineNATIVE’s Artistic Director Danis Goulet, the Embargo Collective is an international group of seven Indigenous artists at the forefront of the changing global landscape of Indigenous cinema. Inspired by Lars von Trier’s The Five Obstructi…

Guitar Rock | Happy Freuds - Echo Of Sounds Independent: May 31, 2019

Guitar Rock
Happy Freuds - Echo Of Sounds
Independent: May 31, 2019
Stream/Buy on Bandcamp
Stream it on Spotify

With tight musicians and intriguing lyrics, Happy Freuds delivers high energy guitar rock with stylistic flair on Echo Of Sounds, their debut release. Produced with a minimum of overdubs or fixes, the album consists of a mix of original material, rearrangements of works from others and selected, less known, classic rock.

A kinetic rhythm section is the bones of the music, offering interesting patterns that augment sometimes unexpected harmonic changes. It's brainy rock, in other words, meant for music lovers who can appreciate the quality. Teo's vocals are raspy and expressive, growly when necessary - perfect for the musical mode. Teo also covers lead guitar, adapt at ear worm leads, with a tone that can be clean or dirty as required

Their sound ranges from straight up hard rock in tracks like The Mountain to the pop-flavoured acoustic Background Noise and folky To …