US Art Rockers Fire Garden have returned with a new EP point-blank featuring Adam Holzman (Steven Wilson, Miles Davis) as a special guest on keyboards. “Collaborating with Adam was a great experience, his work has put a new life in my songs,” says Zee Baig, the mastermind behind Fire Garden.
“Idiot Brain is the first thing I came up with when writing point-blank. I wanted to write about current issues, and the songs on this EP reflects what is happening in the current world as artists are struggling, and we human are fighting global challenges like racism, climate change, and pandemics like Covid-19.” Zee reveals.
The album artwork was designed by Carl Glover (Porcupine Tree, Steven Wilson). “The artwork summarizes the idea behind the music perfectly, point-blank is the most expansive music that we have put out there,” Zee added.
Released on June 26, 2020. point-blank contains 3 original and 2 bonus tracks, it is available on CD and digitally on all streaming platforms. CDs can be purchased from Fire Garden’s Bandcamp page http://firegardenmusic.bandcamp.com
Fire Garden, an innovative and melodic rock band from Chicago, is the brainchild of Pakistani American songwriter and musician, Zee Baig. Since 2011, Zee has released a pair of EPs and a pair of full-length records under the Fire Garden name, each featuring a cadre of notable guest artists culled from particularly well-respected progressive rock acts (like Dream Theater, Spock’s Beard, Steven Wilson, and more) and backed by a few of Baig’s musician friends and bandmates from the Chicago area.
One of the single best things about being a hyperfan of progressive rock music is always dealing with the most interesting of people. When it comes to prog—the musicians, the engineers, and the fans—we’re all basically a bunch of OCD perfectionists. And, I think we understand each other in ways non proggers simply cannot (as in, not constitutionally equipped to do so). In the nearly ten years I’ve been reviewing music online, I’ve met a number of absolutely fascinating people. None less so than Chicago’s young master of all that is melodic metal prog, Zee Baig.
The moment I first found Zee’s music—as first sold through his ep, aptly titled THE PRELUDE—I knew I had to reach out to him. I did, he was responsive, and we pretty quickly established a friendship through email. We talked about war, tradition, music, kids, art. You name it, and Zee and I talked about it. Even though we’re only a three-hours drive from one another, we’ve never actually met in person. Strange, but true. And, here’s hoping, someday soon this will be rectified.
Until that glorious moment, I’m more than content listening to Zee’s astounding music. It, in and of itself, has become a close friend. The band’s first album, SOUNDS OF MAJESTIC COLORS, has remained in my constant listening rotation since it first appeared in 2014. There’s no mistaking that the best of Dream Theater influenced and inspired much of the first album, but Fire Garden takes chances that Dream Theater never would. This is especially true in lyrical content. To be sure, Fire Garden is no clone of DT.
FAR AND NEAR, Fire Garden’s second full-length album, has just appeared on the market, and it’s a stunner, as strong and as good as anything else that has come out this year. This is no small praise when one considers how many greats have come out: from Frost* to Glass Hammer to Big Big Train. FAR AND NEAR stands with those at the very top.
For those of us who love everything Zee Baig and Fire Garden, REJOICE! Album no. 2, FAR AND NEAR, is now available for those of us wise enough to have pledged our undying love, support, and devotion to this amazing band through PLEDGEMUSIC. Reviews and others cool things to follow. . . .
9 songs, 55 minutes, featuring the work and talents of Zee Baig, Jordan Rudess, Jimmy Keegan, and Bruce Soord. I get the feeling everyONE wants to hang out with Zee.
Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater) records guest solo for Fire Garden’s upcoming album
Chicago based progressive rock act Fire Garden is pleased to announce the guest appearance of virtuoso keyboardist Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater) on their second full length release ‘Far and Near’. The record also features Jimmy Keegan of Spock’s Beard on drums and many others. The album is mixed by Bruce Soord (The Pineapple Thief) and the artwork cover is designed by Travis Smith (Opeth, Riverside, Katatonia).
Fire Garden’s mastermind Zee mentions, “It’s a great honor for me to work with Jordan Rudess. He is a legend and I have grown up listening to his music and watching him play throughout the years. It’s surreal, and at the same time amazing to see his personal touch on my music.”
Fire Garden is a progressive rock project by Zee Baig from Chicago. The band has released one EP, ‘The Prelude’ in 2012, and one full length record, ‘Sound of Majestic Colors’ in 2014. The brand new album, ‘Far and Near’, is more personal and exploratory in nature, and is ready to release this summer. The band is also ready to hit the road to support the new album.
Contact: Get in touch with Zee at firstname.lastname@example.org for bookings, interviews and promos.
One of my favorite musicians (and an incredible man of integrity and friendship), Zee Baig, has just announced a pledge campaign for his mighty and as-near-as-perfect-in-this-world progressive band, Fire Garden.
I give you my fullest and most complete and bestest encouragement to pledge!
[The first of at least two reviews of Fire Garden, Sound of Majestic Colors (Fire Garden Music, Chicago, IL, 2014). Official Website for the band and label: http://firegardenmusic.com/. Kevin Williams will also be reviewing the album. Frankly, I’m not qualified enough re: prog metal to review this. But, my love of the album kind of forced my hand.–BjB]
With no intention of being jingoistic, I’m very happy to see a nice resurgence of progressive rock in America. The English and the Scandinavians currently provide the touchstone, but I would hate to see the Americans not compete at all!
Of course, when it comes to North America, we’ve had some great prog bands and individuals in for the long haul: Rush, Glass Hammer, IZZ, Dream Theater, John Galgano, Kevin McCormick, 3RDegree, Neal Morse, Spock’s Beard, and a few others. Recently, we’ve seen the rise of Hour of the Shipwreck and Astra as well.
Now, we have Fire Garden, a new progressive rock/metal band from America’s third largest city, Chicago.
The brainchild of professional photographer Zee Baig, Fire Garden will release its first full-length album, Sound of Majestic Colors, tomorrow. This closely follows the band’s first EP, The Prelude, which came out at the beginning of the year. Three songs overlap: “Time Machine,” “Far from Grace,” and “Forsaken,” though the former two appear in slightly different versions on the EP and the LP. Certainly, each of these releases from Fire Garden is well worth owning.
When I first heard the Sound of Majestic Colors, I wrote my thoughts down quickly:
Confident, melodic, intense, moving, driven. Fire Garden is the present and the future of progressive metal. Sound of Majestic Colors is a triumph in every way.
Additional listens have only added to my wonder and astonishment regarding this album.
First, let me discuss the superficials, that is, the appearances of things. Visually, Sound of Majestic Colors is an incredible package. The CD case (very important to me) provides a fascinating mix and incorporation of black and white photography, psychedelia, Macintosh imagery (a play on the spinning beach ball of doom—at the center of the cover photo), and weapons of mass destruction.
If I had to compare it to anything, I would compare it to the best packaging Dream Theater ever produced—that for Train of Thought LP. But, frankly, Train of Thought’s artwork tried to be a little too psychedelic., little too Floydish. The eyeball on the cover has failed to age well, and it now appears far less creepy than it does derivative. Fire Garden avoids the clichés, creating its own vision for the album. Far from contrived, its psychedelia comes from the heart and the soul.
My copy of Sound of Majestic Colors arrived with business cards, bumper stickers, circle window stickers, a full-size poster, and bookmarks (see photo below). All of this is done with absolute class, and I welcome such things greatly. Indeed, I will be keeping these things in a very safe place accompanying similar items I’ve collected and received from Rush, North Atlantic Oscillation, Porcupine Tree, etc.
Second, instrumentation, performance, and ability of the musicians. My first reaction to my even asking this is simply: “Holy Schnikees! Are you kidding me?”
Though these guys are young, they sound so very, very good. I am not a huge fan of Dream Theater, as I feel they really have little soul and more or less write music to chase notes, all of it trapped in a graceless cycle. I have always, however, respected the talents and abilities of the individual musicians in Dream Theater. Imagine that same ability, but augmented by and with real story telling strengths and melodic overrtones and undertones. Combine Dream Theater’s skills with some serious artistic class, and you have Fire Garden. Kevin Pollack—vocals. Perfect. Zee Baig—guitars. Sheesh. Beyond perfect. Frank Lucas—keyboards. Perfect. Barry Keliber—Bass. Perfect. Chuck White—Drums. Holy Moses. More than perfect.
Production and mastering—perfect. The depth to this recording is astounding. Everything is clear, everything is deep, and everything is layered. Again, imagine Dream Theater’s production, but even more top notch.
Third, lyrics. I’m a huge fan of good lyrics, and I consider them essential to the success of any album. Lyrically, this album is as layered and dark as its production. Lots of angst, guilt, and questioning in the lyrics. In the end, though, the lyrics exist for a real and meaningful purpose, a poetic one. Song titles such as “Alone,” “Endless Memories,” “Redemption,” “Forsaken,” and “Far from Grace” reveal everything about the seriousness and intent of the album. That Baig offers his greatest thanks in the booklet to Almighty Allah says about everything that needs to be said. Baig is a serious man, and he takes his art as seriously as he takes his faith. If you’ll permit some Aramaic—Amen, Zee.
If you’re looking for something well done, something taken seriously, and something that—in terms of style—varies from heavy to metal to prog to AOR to arena and back to prog metal, look no further.
Fire Garden is not just the present and future of American prog metal, the band is the present and future of all prog metal.