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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Paul Maged

Diamonds and Demons

Review by Gary Hill

Punk and good old fashioned hard rock merge on this. It has a bit of a DIY vibe, but that’s not a bad thing. This is a strong set that’s accessible. It’s nothing Earth-shattering in terms of originality or quality, but it’s definitely respectable and solid.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2014  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Look at Me
Punk and power pop merge on this raw rocker. It’s a good song, but the chorus is a little weird. The melodic bridge, with piano and a mellower arrangement, is a nice touch.
Images

This makes me think of early Who. It’s got that sort of mod sound there. It’s catchy, fun and a cool tune.

Cause & Effect

More in line with the power pop sounds, there is some punk in this, too. It’s another catchy song that works quite well.

Last Days

Another power pop based rocker, this is strong, but not as strong as the last couple.

Diamonds & Demons

It was wise to make this the title track. It’s a smoking hot rocker. It’s got enough of a raw edge to add character, but the riffing and hooks are classic.

I'm OK

The guitar on this has moments of brilliance. The piece is another hard edged rocker that’s solid. It might not be the best thing here, but it’s definitely strong.

Blind Faith

One of the most mature and “different’ tracks here, piano features prominently. The song structure is among the most complex here. This is a great tune. In fact, it’s one of the highlights of the disc. It’s kind of a power ballad structure for the most part.

Annastasia

This is a mellower cut, but I just don’t think it works very well. It is a bit too rough around the edges for my tastes. Stylistically, it’s like a powered up folk song.

Human Warfare

Now, this is more like it! It’s a screaming hot tune that’s part metal, part punk and all fun. It’s angry (and gets a parental advisory on the lyrics), but also relatable.

Love & Loss in the Western World

A slower moving cut, this plods along a bit. The first half of it is pretty unremarkable. When it gets into the more powerful later section, though, it becomes a real screamer.

Paradise Island

Suitably, there is a bit of a tropical sound to this. That’s combined with the usual hard rocking sound that’s prevalent here. This is not bad, but not really a standout.

My Dear Love

A more pop rock oriented tune, this is one of the best of the album. It’s fast paced and catchy and just so tasty.

Not Complicated

This isn’t really complicated. It’s just a straightforward hard rocker.

Somber Song

The first section of this is based on piano. The song has a real 1960s styled pop rock sound to my ears. It’s a definite piece of variety. It’s also one of the highlights. I love the guitar solo on this, too.

I'm Gone

This is not bad, but not all that special either. It’s a standard hard rocker.

64th & 1st

A piano and voice tune ends the set. It wouldn’t normally be my choice for closer, but somehow it works well here.

 
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