(This review was originally Published on September 29, 2023, at 10:40am)
Hard rock singer-songwriter Paul Maged has hit a crossroads with his latest EP, Crossroads. Paul wrote his first pieces of music when he was 10. His father would put him on the road to a music career by getting him a Casio keyboard and then enrolling him into the Boston Conservatory of Music. There he would learn music theory and opera. In 2007, he released his 12-track debut In My Time, where you can hear the fusion of rock and opera; think Meatloaf. 2014 would see the release of Diamonds & Demons, followed by Light Years Away in 2017 and then Culture Wars during the 2020 election.
What's clear from his catalog is that Paul really throws himself into his work. I've said it before, which means that I'll say it again, if you're complaining about writer's block, you throw something down and get to work. Much of the time, you'll turn it into something. Going through the process, Paul has become a seasoned composer and his Crossroads EP is released during the right time.
"I titled this album, ‘Crossroads’ because I’m at one personally and our country is at one as well. I wanted to explore the relationship between the internal struggle of every human and the external struggles of our society."
Paul Maged Rocks The 'Crossroads' Hard
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This track starts on a build that he holds back when he comes in with his vocals. It's because it resets, which looks like he's constructing three parts from the get go that is going to be the structure of the song for the eventual build. We've got '80s style hair metal, stand out guitar solo and self-harmonizing.
Paul has said in an interview that is new album is the tightest he's writing he's ever done.
"I think my current album is the tightest and most melodic and realized piece of work I’ve achieved."
"Burn It To The Ground"
We're too much under attack in this culture wars, and now it's time to burn the hate to the ground. I also love how this track, compared to "Martyr War", has its build right from the beginning. It's got good flow, which says two things to me. When Paul says that he's got a melody in his head that he can't escape, this had to be one of the tracks that came from.
Second, is that we've seen what could be the other form where we see the bones of the previous track, answering any question a songwriter needs to know of how to set up that foundation to a song.
"A Sudden Contrast"
"It will harm you, for years to come", the change in the notes that establish the ascension of those notes, establish an epic-sized emotion, especially when the cello comes in. His vocals are also great here. This has to be his strongest song on this album, as it's another melody he couldn't escape from. I can't get away from this song and its embrace won't let me, but I also don't want to escape it.
"Under My Tree"
The rock guitar to tell the story of a loner. The go is at 2:18 with that metal guitar wail. Right before the wail, however, is my favorite part of this song. It's a David Bowie move every time! This track starts rocking out from the beginning, but the structure I was talking about being established at the beginning of the album happens a little later after the first verse. This track moves!
With this one, I go back to Meat Loaf as the only reference I have for what this resembles. I also make references to hair metal, and at one point, I even thought about Mercyful Fate. Where? I couldn't tell you. Just a feeling. There are other rock references here that say just how much rock Paul Maged has in his blood. If he's ever donated blood before, that entire donor floor might have been rocking out!
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Interview with Paul Maged