On one of the social media networks (the social medium?), I’ve had the pleasure to get to know Zee Baig. As we all know, there exist no dullards in the prog community–neither in the fan base nor on the artist side. Dullards and prog simply don’t mix. We might be overthetop, or cynical, or demanding and particular, but we’re NEVER dull. Zee is not only not a dullard, he’s one of those guys who immediately makes me smile and note proudly, “Yes, I’m a progger–just like that guy over there [me, pointing at Zee].” Not only is Zee the master craftsman behind this Chicago-prog metal band, but he’s also an excellent photographer. And, from what I know, just a really good all-around, interesting guy. Listening to his band’s EP, “The Prelude,” my liking of him grows only stronger.
I should state that Fire Garden’s music isn’t exactly what I’d normally gravitate toward. It’s really hard and piercing at times. As I listen to it (and, for the record, I do love it), I keep thinking of Rush at their rocking best, Aryeon in terms of drama, The Reasoning in driving intensity, maybe a hint of Metallica in the choice and executions of the rhythm, and more than a bit of Soundgarden in the vocals. There’s some metal growling, but it’s not over the top. In fact, it’s rather tastefully off to the side and more in the background.
As the name of the EP suggests, “The Prelude” is an introduction to a much larger forthcoming work. The songs here, all clocking in at around 6 – 7 minutes long, are: Time Machine, Far From Grace, and Forsaken. Despite the rather gloomy titles, the cover art is stunningly beautiful and hopeful–a small, living green thing of life emerging from the cracks of a parched desert. I can’t help but think of the final lines of Eliot’s Wasteland, the comfort that no matter the horrors of the present, the rains will come again and wash us clean.
Looking over Fire Garden’s website is fun and revealing as well. Zee lists his favorite albums of 2013:
- Steven Wilson – The Raven that Refused to Sing
- Dream Theater – Dream Theater
- The Aristocrats – Culture Clash
- Alter Bridge – Fortress
- Ghost – Infestissumam
- Lifesigns – Lifesigns
- Haken – The Mountain
- The Winery Dogs – The Winery Dogs
- James Labrie – Impermanent Resonance
- Airbag – The Greatest Show on Earth
Ok, I think we at progarchy can accept this list! Zee might just very well be one of us.
If you’ve been looking for a new sound, a new band, a new love, I very much recommend that you check out Fire Garden. What they’ve already done is stunning. What is coming, I predict, is even more so. Without reservation, I hope we in the prog community get behind these guys and promote them in every way possible. They deserve it, and I think they’ve already earned it.
The official Fire Garden website is: http://www.firegardenmusic.com