Firegarden – 2164 (CD)

Speeding through their first track, Firegarden has a straight-forward, intense brand of punk-laced rock. Very clean in their style of music, “Last Words” starts out their 2164. Very cognoscent of what hooks listeners in, a multi-part harmony cuts through the fuzzy guitar of the track, and a sizzling, squealing guitar solo consequently cuts through the vocals. “Don’t Run Me Over” is a track that is full of whistles and bells, and James’ bass lines provide a brooding sense of deepness to a track that by all means is pretty upbeat. The infusion of funk into “Don’t Run Me Over” shows me a desire to experiment that is sadly absent from many bands that have such polished of a sound. Firegarden is perfectly willing to pull anything out of their hat, even if the results become a little cluttered, as in sections of “Run”. In another straight-forward track that transcends all specific rock genres, the hard-hitting yet emotional “I Want You” is a track that is balanced and “everything for everyone”.

“I Want You” leads into the first track that shows Firegarden’s mortality, “Nevergreen”. While by all means the track is still catchy and well-done, the track itself starts out with the band sputtering, but leading itself well in the way of correction by the intense, Disturbed-level drumming of the Tuckmeister. Showing more teeth and a set of influences that belie more metal roots for “Sleepless”, the early Hetfield-esque vocals of James work as well as they did for the former during the “Kill ‘Em All” sessions. The incredible guitar solos found on other parts of the disc really find a niche during this track. Clocking in just a few seconds over four minutes, Firegarden steps over the pitfall that befalls many a metal band – extreme song lengths. Turning the Deep Purple hit “Highway Star” into a Judas Priest-sounding track, Firegarden shows off the pipes of James in a way that is a first for the CD.

Firegarden is a band that seems more sincere than The Darkness, and are possessors of a greater influence base, enabling them to make tracks sound miles apart, tied together by the extreme talent of the band. No doubt that Firegarden will continue amassing popularity until, one day, we see them on the front cover of Kerrang! or conversing with Jamey Josta on Headbangers’ Ball. With no considerable weakness holding them back, Firegarden can only improve from here.

Top Tracks: Highway Star, I Want You

Rating: 8.3/10

Firegarden – 2164 / 2004 Self-Released / 10 Tracks / / / Reviewed 14 November 2004

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