Hello again fellow progheads! Been spending a lot of time stateside recently in my search for all things prog.
If you have been traveling with the concert closet since its inception, you know there have been several twists, turns, and changes along the way. Last week I tilled new soil in the prog garden yet again, completing my first album review. This week I continue on that course...and have been immersed for seven days in the newest release from Fire Garden, "Sound of Majestic Colors."
Fire Garden hails from Chicago, billing themselves as "...a modern progressive metal band with classic sounds...soulful melodies, skull crushing riffs..." And just like the reigning World Series of Poker Champion, I am all in. Having reviewed Fire Garden earlier in my prog blogging career, I am extremely anxious to fill the concert closet with their latest skull crushing riffs...
Dashing eagerly to the buffet this week, I start at the beginning with "The Joker." Fire Garden runs right up to the glass door between your mind and your brain--and proceeds to crash right through. The intro is dark and eerie and I suddenly realize why there are no clowns in my house. The guitars pound their way through and hit you from all sides until the drums drive a spike into the back of your head. Fire Garden seems to be releasing a lot of pent up energy in this first cut; I can feel the emotion coming through the headphones.
Imagine Dream Theater and Atomic Rooster sharing a stage and you start to get the feel for what type of vibe Fire Garden is putting out on this song...skull crushing riffs--check.
My second choice from the menu is a tune called "Redemption." Sounding as if they are under water, Fire Garden comes out of the gate slow, cautious, and methodical--for about 30 seconds. The vocals on this cut are deep and strong as the music expands into a four-act play; time and tempo changes come quick and sudden and I feel as if I might be flung from an out-of-control carousel. The sound is extremely tight; these guys feed off each other as though they are telepathic. Everything works as the song goes from ballad to metal frenzy to hard hitting rock 'n' roll and back again...Fire Garden channels some early Be Bop Deluxe on this cut...soulful melodies--check.
Liner Notes...Fire Garden leaps off the map from the Chicago area and is led by their founder Zeeshan (Zee) Baig on guitars, music, and lyrics. Fire Garden rounds out the quintet with Kevin Pollack on vocals and lyrics, Frank Lucas on keyboards, Barry Kleiber on bass, and Chuck White on drums. Those of you with long memories will remember in my original review of Fire Garden Chase Carter was singing vocals...with no disrespect to Chase, Kevin has taken the vocals on this album to a new level. His voice carries with confidence up, over, and around all the guitars, drums, and keyboards the rest of the band relentlessly hurls at him.
"Sound of Majestic Colors" is Fire Garden's second release, on the heels of their 2012 debut EP "The Prelude." Extra credit for the mixing on Majestic Colors--this sounds more like a release from a band with ten years under their collective belts rather than their first full length album. Fire Garden has definite hints of Dream Theater and Porcupine Tree...but there are subtle aromas of Transatlantic, Opeth and Spock's Beard mixed in as well. While Fire Garden enjoys challenging the listener's pallet and pushing the boundaries of prog, the life blood of the band is progressive metal--which can never be a bad thing.
Serving number three is a gem called "Echoes in Silence." Fire Garden made the conscious decision to convert everyone to a prog listener with this cut...and used heavy artillery from the get-go. The song opens hard, loud, and fast with Zee, Frank, Barry,and Chuck continuously raising the energy level as if they were reliving a Clash concert. Kevin joins the fray at just the right moment, toning it down a notch but never distinguishing the flames. The band shows amazing range on this tune as well...running through more time and tempo changes while staying true to their distinctive sound. Echoes ends in such sad simplicity as to make you feel the need to go back--in time if necessary--to stop the bleeding. Classic sounds--check.
Another first for the concert closet; no video clip--above is a photo of the band. Fire Garden is officially releasing this album next week and I do not have a clip to post...so do yourself, your friends, family, neighbors, and casual acquaintances a favor and pre-order the CD now and proceed to play it loud and often! Go to http://firegardenmusic.com/ to learn more about the band and order the CD, a digital download, and other cool stuff. "Sound of Majestic Colors" is also available through iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/sound-of-majestic-colors/id878272569
Well fellow progheads, not only another week--but another month has fallen off the the calendar as June muscled her way into 2014. So far I like the tangent this journey has taken and I truly hope you do as well. Progressive music is indeed alive and well, and a sure sign of its strength and sustainability is a band as intense and talent-laden as Fire Garden releasing new albums. Fire Garden has cultivated their own acreage in the prog garden and continue to feed it with innovation and style..needless to say, keeping one foot on the throttle never hurts either. The sound of Fire Garden's "Sound of Majestic Colors" is bold, vibrant, exciting, and animated. The search for all things prog continues as we step back into the concert closet ...until next week...