Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Fire Garden

As promised, I am  standing in a section of the prog library where the floor is beautifully polished...because my size 10's have yet to scratch the surface. I am really enjoying this journey and I hope you are as well...so let's take a look at what musical indulgence awaits us this week...

Checking the shelves of the unknown, I see Fire Garden, a prog band from Chicago.  In the spirit of full disclosure I will say up front that direct contact from the band via Twitter led me to this corner of the library. Fire Garden is a band I was absolutely unfamiliar with prior to this...and so far I like what I hear.  Although it is a much overused "mantra"--to the point of being cliche--I like the expression, "Go big or go home."  This fits perfectly with the start of my listening adventure, the song "Forsaken." True to the band's website, Fire Garden is reminiscent of Dream Theater and that is not a bad way to start the morning...caffeine without the coffee.  "Forsaken" opens real strong with the drums leading the guitar down a path heavy laden with a full sound that smacks you in the face but does not make you mad...rather it energizes you.

OK, let's take a quick look behind the curtain.  Fire Garden is Chase Carter on vocals, Zeeshan Baig (Zee) on guitar, Frank Lucas playing keyboards, Barry Kleiber on bass, and Chuck White on drums.  Zee is credited on the band's website as founder, lyricist, and songwriter, as well as the "mastermind" of the band...but after listening I prefer the term "evil genius."  These are five musicians who truly complement each other.  While I do detect tastes of Dream Theater, Porcupine Tree, and even a hint of Uriah Heep, Fire Garden has created a sound that is uniquely their own.

Fire Garden released their first EP, "The Prelude," in December 2012 and are currently putting together a full length album due out this fall.  If the "The Prelude" was designed to whet the appetite, it worked with me...my pallet is awake and I am ready for a full serving.  Zee's guitar work is hard to pin down...I sense a man pulled in many directions while mastering his craft and allowing those influences to morph into a sound that pays tribute to classic prog while blazing a metal path all his own.  Kleiber's bass is not what I expect in a prog metal band.  He hammers you in the head one minute and then takes a backseat the next...this shows me a trust and confidence among the players in the band that usually takes years to build.  Chuck plays drums the way they should be played; hard fast, and loud enough to be heard but not so much that the rest of the music is an afterthought.

The second cut I listen to is "Far From Grace."  This one starts out more on the mellow side of "Forsaken" but don't be fooled; it comes right back at you in short time.  Zee once again works guitar magic with the opening riff--not too hard and not so long that you forget there is a song here...just enough to keep you focused.  Chase's vocals are very good, he hits the bell with one swing of the hammer.  I like that he is able to put emotion into the song without coming off like someone who doesn't know what his range is or even what that means...he takes immediate control and never lets it go.

"Time Machine" is the final cut from the three song EP I get to sample here.  This one drives out of the gate fast and holds steady throughout. Frank gets a chance to show his keyboard presence on this track, and I am impressed at how he is able to show-off without drowning out or overpowering the rest of the band.  If I have one regret it's that I am out of music to play here...

Hard to believe this is the debut from Fire Garden; it sounds more like their third or fourth release.  I know the members of Fire Garden have side projects and other things going on professionally--which has helped sharpen their abilities--but this first output is very good.  I am eager and excited to get a listen on their full length LP when it comes out (not so subtle hint inserted here).

I posted the video below for two reasons...first, (if you have noticed) I prefer to post a song not among the specific ones I reviewed.  However; there is only so much out from Fire Garden as of this post, and I wanted to get all three songs covered here.  The second (and biggest reason) is "Far From Grace" is the only song I found in the YouTube wing of my vast and expansive library...but I am quite confident you will be pleased...and just like me, hungry for more.

Check out the Fire Garden official website at firegardenmusic.com for more info...you won't be disappointed!

Once again I am pleased to find such great new music lurking in the progressive wing...I may have to start an addition to the library soon.  If any other prog bands care to tweet me, I am happy to oblige with a review.
I really am a cheap date...see you next week.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Vicent,

    Thank you for your great review.