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Scale The Summit - Carving Desert Canyons CD (album) cover


Scale The Summit


Progressive Metal

3.48 | 56 ratings

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Andy Webb
Special Collaborator
Retired Admin
4 stars An adventure of massive proportions.

Scale The Summit are a relatively new progressive (or as they call it "adventure") metal band that have toured with prog metal giants Dream Theater and have gathered quite the cult following, especially amongst technique loving musicians. Carving Desert Canyons is their latest album, and it certainly delivers a tasty punch of adventurous instrumental metal that can easily leave you flying high above the clouds in the ecstasy of the band's great music.

Bloom is the killer opener that really does just that, bloom, into a wonderful little 2 minute opener. Sadly, it is only 2 minutes and does end leaving you hanging a little bit. The melody and rhythms all mesh spectacularly in one wonderful piece of music. Every member pulls their weight to start this freight train to keep on chugging throughout the album.

Sargasso Sea has a swift chugging opener that soon flows into some soaring solos from the guitars and some really epic synchronizations with the 8 and 7 string guitars, which break into some heavenly polyrhythms that are just right in every way. Oddly, this song's 5 minute length seems a little bit much for the song. The song has some great ideas, but to make it 5 minutes they needed to throw in a couple extra that make for some awkward transitions. Overall, a good track, but could have used a trim (and that excess could have gone to Bloom!!)

The Great Plains is the absolute best track on the album. A fan favorite, a band favorite, a critic favorite, the whole track is a tasty piece of music. Through the killer first section you can hear genius at work- from great harmonizations with the two guitars and the bass to the meshing of rhythm and melody. The whole thing is just great. However, the thing that really makes this track spectacular is that signature tapping section. Featured on virtually every guitar outlet around, it's obviously amazing. Every infectious note makes my body shake with excitement. The only bad part is the wait they put you through to reach the good stuff!

Dunes is a quick little riffing piece similar to the other songs, with some great harmonization, instrumentation, technical skill, and all that great stuff. Polyrhythms abound in this track also, making it even more infectious to a polyrhythm lover like myself!

Age of Tide is yet another adventurous riffing piece full of creative harmonizations and synchronization. The song has some great transitions between the band's ideas with where the music is going, from a soaring solo section to a low to the ground 7 string chugging section, and back again.

Glacial Planet is my second favorite track on the album. The song starts out slow, building in melodic steps of joy. Soon, the song breaks open into a bopping and infectious guitar riff. The solos are melodic and fun, reviving a slowly decaying system of riff-solo-riff with some more creative solos and riffs. The song is almost bipolar (in a good way), with song switching madly from soaring solo to chugging in the 8th string register, to melodic picking, back to solos and all of it again. The track is a great ride to go on, making that Glacial Planet an epic image indeed.

City in the Sky does continue the overbearing motif of adventurous riffing with adventurous soloing. Listening through the entire album, at this point the music begins to fade into a continuous stream of the same thing, but if you pick one song at a time, the music is incredibly inventive and fun. This song does feature some more interesting parts, such a much more prominent bass solo, breaking from the countless guitar solos. It also has another pseudo-tapping section, and some more creative harmonizations.

Giants is the "giant" track on the album, clocking in at over 7 minutes (gasp). The song is faster and more hard hitting that the rest of them, with a swifter rhythm and some quick and attacking rifffing. Some cool octave/harmony things are going on throughout the song that also make the song a nice treat and a fantastic ending to this great album.

ALBUM OVERALL: This album has extremely strong up sides and very few downsides. The best way to listen to this album is to listen to the first 3 tracks uninterrupted, then listen to all the other tracks individually, because over the sadly short 40 minute length of the album, the music can get somewhat repetitive and begins to seem boring. The music is insanely good, but many of the same ideas seem to be used more than once. Overall, musically the album is incredible, melodically, rhythmically, harmonizationally, and every other good aspect of music is in there in perfect quantity. However, as I said before, the music begins to taper into "been here before" territory. So, listen to the essential tracks individually or else you may ruin them for yourself. 4 stars.

Andy Webb | 4/5 |


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