Tajul : Vocals
Jac : Guitars
Zam : Drums
Mie : Bass
F.T.G (an acronym for FREEDOM THAT'S GONE) has been in existence since 1989 and together with CROMOK was one of the very first Malaysian underground metal bands to come into prominence. The original line-up consists of Bart on vocals, Mie on bass, Jac on guitars and Zam on drums. The band issued their first self-titled mini-album on independent label, FGM Productions in mid '91 and it was considered very well received for an English album at that time. The following year, they issued their first full length album entitled "After The Promise" on VSP Records and the album went on to sell more than 20,000 copies, an astonishing fest in an era where commercial Malay ballads ruled.
During this period, the band toured extensively all across the country and built a strong fanbase that will last to this day. By 1994, the band have switched label, signing with PonyCanyon and releasing their third album "Spirit To Rebel". The hard work put into touring paid off , the album went on to sell more than 30,000 copies without any radio airplay whatsoever and minimum media exposure. Other bands may claim that they're 'metal' but none have walked the walk and talked the talk like F.T.G. : they never once compromise their music, even when other so-called 'metal' bands recorded soft rock ballads to get onto radio.
The band took a year off from studio work but they still played an average of two to three concerts per week. In July 1996, they return with their fourth album, "To The Front". Within three months, the album was certified platinum (25,000 copies and above) and by year end, the album have shifted more than 40,000 copies. It was also frontman Bart's last album with the band as he left shortly after the release of "To The Front" due to personal commitments.
However, the band got back on its feet quickly when they recruited one of their old friends, Tajul as the new vocalist. 1997 was spent writing and rehearsing new as well as old material in preparation for their next album. 1998 saw the release of "Stronger Than Steel: The Best Of F.T.G", a compilation collecting material from their very first mini-album to their most recent album, "To The Front". This compilation also marks the beginning of a new chapter in the long-running history of the band which have maintained the same line-up for almost 8 years until the departure of original vocalist Bart. Ladies and gentleman, F.T.G Mark II has arrived.
The year 1998 marked another first in the band's history: a Malay album. Contrary to fears that the band have gone soft and sold out to the corporate machine, the album entitled "Aku Tak Peduli" contains NO ballads. New vocalist Tajul added a much needed neew dimension into the band but it was essentially a F.T.G album: hard, fast and still as heavy as a two ton sledgehammer.
"Aku Tak Peduli" then dumbfounded the critics and even the band themselves by going platinum within a month of release and reached number 2 on the RIM Malay Album Chart. To date, "Aku Tak Peduli" have sold more than 40,000 copies. In between their tours, the band went straight back into the studio to record a follow-up English album.
But the project got sidetracked when bassist Mie decided it would be fun to play some cover versions of their favorite songs for their shows. In the end, they had rehearsed enough cover songs to record another album, "Made In Malaysia". Conceived as a tribute album of sorts to their favorite bands and songs as well as to get away from the monotony and pressure of a full album, F.T.G. covered classic tracks ("Paranoid", "Black Night", "Wish You Were Here") from seminal groups such as Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple. "Made In Malaysia" was a smashing success, with sales reaching more than 10,000 within the first week of release and the album have sold more than 30,000 copies to date.
By now, the mainstream media had woken up to the fact that metal music is a force to be reckoned with and acknowledged F.T.G. as one of the if not THE premier metal group in Malaysia. There's no stopping F.T.G. as they triumphed at every concert they played.
This culminated with the Metal Wars concert held at Sunway Amphitheatre on the 31st of July of 1999, which was attended by more than 5,000 fans. This concert was also recorded and was released shortly after as the "Live At Metal Wars" album. Listening to the live album, even the casual listener will be struck by the intensity and energy of the band as a unit. It was also to be the first No. 1 album for the band as "Live At Metal Wars" hit the top of the RIM Chart on the first week of its release.
The band took three month break before reconvening in late'99 to write and record their second Malay album. Recording of the self-titled album took almost four months, the longest the band ever did. The new album signified a new chapter in the band's musical direction with F.T.G.'s trademark no-holds barred thrash metal taking a more melodic approach and incorporating other genres such as hardcore and funk into their songs. Released in April 2000, "F.T.G." was yet another resounding success, selling more than 20,000 copies within a month despite initial skepticism from critics on whether fans will be able to accept the slightly different musical path that the band is taking this time around.
Upon the release of the new album, the band embarked on another tour of Malaysia culminating with the band headlining the "Battle Of Brutal" concert alongside XPDC. The band played a transcendent set and stole the thunder from the headliners and further cemented their reputation as one of the best live bands in the country.
Due to overwhelming demand from the fans, the band decided to record a second volume of cover songs, this time covering a diverse range of rock artistes from Judas Priest to Gary Moore. "Made In Malaysia Vol.2" was completed in January '01 and was just as equally well-received as the first volume. More touring followed and the band reconvened in mid-2002 after taking a well-deserved 3 month break.
The recording for "Reborn" was long tedious, due the various commitments of the band (Jac became a father and vocalist Tajul got married) but the album was finally completed at the end of 2002. "Reborn" marked another new phase in the band's musical trajectory with experimental new rhythms and sound palates (atmospheric keyboard flourishes, almost techno-like loops) added to their already fearsome musical arsenal, proving that F.T.G. can evolve and compete with the best of today's younger bands. It was as usual, another triumph musically and commercially for the band.
Which brings us to the current F.T.G. release, "Stop This Madness". Just the title alone hints at the band's personal distaste at global politics post-9/11. With incendiary tracks like "Never", "Saint or Tyrant" and "Mysery (Why Should I Die)", the F.T.G. one-two musical sucker punch of socially/politically aware lyrics set to uncompromising metal is well and intact. But of the first time ever, the music goes down a few notches on "Running With The Wind", arguably the most mellow F.T.G. song ever.