Paul Maged’s previous album, Diamonds & Demons, was a successfully nostalgic take on accessible alt-rock, inspired by influences like Pearl Jam, R.E.M., and Elvis Costello, all while exploring a “wide range of concepts, social issues and universal themes such as climate change, human warfare, religion and today’s ever evolving society.” Album highlight “Look At Me” was featured back in 2014, when the album released, and stood out for its infectious piano and guitar-driven alt-rock approach. While hardly a stylistic revolution, it showed Maged as a quality songwriter with plenty to say.
New track “The Wild” shows many of the same strengths, with an even more refined and ferociously intense touch; riding initially on a minimalist guitar-and-kick-drum beginning, it quickly ascends into a distortion-friendly rocker with theatrical vocals that remind fondly of both Ozzy Osbourne and Josh Homme at points. The track in general has a style reminiscent of Queens of the Stone Age, alternating between grumbling verses and a fiercely infectious chorus with a sturdy distortion-heavy backbone. It’s the most impressive effort I’ve heard from Maged yet.