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SCALE THE SUMMIT

Progressive Metal • United States


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Scale The Summit biography
Bio taken from the band's website with their permission:
"SCALE THE SUMMIT can be perceived as many things: young, skilled, ambitious, progressive, instrumental, and unique among many other perceptions. Conceived from the imagination and talent of Chris and Travis, the Los Angeles, CA founded band was born in late 2004. Chris and Travis set out with the objective to create something different, a type of instrumental music that could be widely accessible while not abandoning a technical and melodic foundation. Pat joined the band in March of 2005 adding his own infusion of vigorous percussion and drumming. As the songs continued to develop in August of 2005, Jordan became the newest addition to SCALE THE SUMMIT as the bass player. The four-piece band emanates an unparalleled musical chemistry including symphonious guitar playing, dynamic bass, and thundering percussion. With several shows under their belt and a fan following that only shadows the many possibilities and opportunities to come for this band, SCALE THE SUMMIT has set its mark to enrapture worldwide audiences with their upcoming album release."


This instrumental technical progressive metal band might appeal to fans of PELICAN, CANVAS SOLARIS and CONTINUO RENACER.

See also: "Scion A/V Presents: Label Showcase - Prosthetic Records"

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Lisp - Light In A Small Prism [Japan LTD CD] AVCA-29922Lisp - Light In A Small Prism [Japan LTD CD] AVCA-29922
Avex Japan
Audio CD$22.85
$11.38 (used)
Scale Summit - Collective +Bonus [Japan CD] COCB-60004Scale Summit - Collective +Bonus [Japan CD] COCB-60004
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Audio CD$28.50
$22.79 (used)

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SCALE THE SUMMIT discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

SCALE THE SUMMIT top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.37 | 20 ratings
Monument
2007
3.44 | 45 ratings
Carving Desert Canyons
2009
3.85 | 96 ratings
The Collective
2011
3.77 | 49 ratings
The Migration
2013

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SCALE THE SUMMIT Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Migration by SCALE THE SUMMIT album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.77 | 49 ratings

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The Migration
Scale The Summit Progressive Metal

Review by R-A-N-M-A

4 stars In hind sight, it is with more than a little disappointment that I spoiled my century and hundred and first posts with the blanduer that was and is Big Big Train's English Electric. On the bright side, this will probably be the only time English Electric and the Migration will ever be mentioned in the same paragraph in the universe's vast existence. So if you're reading this, you're looking at something rarer than a unicorn baby. I digress.

Allow me to redeem the folly of 100 and 101 here on 102 by drawing your attention to an extremely worthwhile prog-metal album squirreled away in the recesses of the site, the Migration by Scale the Summit. The easiest way to describe it is instrumental heavy metal Yes for the new millenium. If that doesn't tantalize you, you probably don't belong on PA.

Scale the Summit, is four guys out of Texas who play a collection of oddly strung instruments and are just crackling with talent. It was only after seeing them live that I really grasped the appropriateness of the name. I caught the Tesseract concert here in Calgary over the Thanksgiving weekend. The leads were good, but these guys we're lights out. They came on as the second opener after the unfortunately screamy Ancients and were a total breath of fresh air. They played mostly stuff off this album and rocked the set, very literally. The melody of their tracks is light and complex neck tapping over hard and heavy backing, as cool to see live as it is to hear. My brother and I agreed that it was 20 bucks well spent about 30 seconds after they finished their sound check.

Really the only fault I can find with the Migration is that the mix favours the heavy stuff way too much. The live show really shoved the treble clef into the well deserved spot light. That aside, it is a sweet album and an even sweeter live show if you get the opportunity. 4 out of 5.

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 The Migration by SCALE THE SUMMIT album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.77 | 49 ratings

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The Migration
Scale The Summit Progressive Metal

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 'The Migration' - Scale the Summit (7/10)

It's a sentiment I've restated whenever speaking of this band: where technical metal generally intends to appeal to the intellect, Scale the Summit aims straight for the heart and emotional centre of their listeners. It's this approach that largely separates them from their less distinctive brethren, and over the course of a remarkably consistent career, they have continued to evoke the same rich feelings in me. Although their latest record, 'The Migration', does not expand upon the band's style beyond what has already been explored on past albums, Scale the Summit's trademark style remains fresh, engaging, and beautiful in a way most metal isn't.

Scale the Summit's sound and style are described perfectly in the band's name. Not only is there an atmosphere of optimism and triumph, the band's riffs often depend on climbing and descending patterns. Although they are rarely melodic in the conventional sense, Scale the Summit's music has an atmosphere that washes over the listener and absolves them of the intellectual challenge generally associated with tech-centric music. This is certainly not to say that the music isn't intelligent; rather, it is thoughtfully constructed in such a way that the numerous technical solos, riffs and fleeting moments of ambiance are all poised in a single direction, like a river. The jazzy, technical style of Cynic is a readily apparent influence in their sound, and there are even times when the band's penchant for multi- layered arrangements reminds me of Devin Townsend. Although there are occasional moments of quasi-djenty 'chugging', and displays of technical wizardry aplenty, Scale the Summit's tasteful restraint when it comes to their compositions gives their music a mellow impression in spite of the band's more conventionally 'metal' elements. This approach has been with Scale the Summit since the beginning, and 'The Migration' does not reinvent or add anything particularly striking to the formula. Most times, failing to develop one's sound with each album would leave the music feeling tired, but Scale the Summit seem to have found their proper calling early on and never looked back since.

'The Migration' lays its three proudest eggs all at the start- 'Odyssey', 'Atlas Novus' and 'The Olive Tree' are the most impressive cuts the album has to offer, and some of the most beautiful pieces Scale the Summit have constructed to date. 'Atlas Novus' in particular has an introduction that emphasizes their marriage of technicality and emotion perfectly. Precise and calculated finger-tapping has long been one of the band's signature tools, and to hear the technique used for such melodic beauty is a very rare listening experience. The rest of the album maintains a relative par with regards to technicality and thoughtful arrangements, but unfortunately by the fourth or fifth track, the pieces begin to blur together. It all seems in keeping with the band's stylistic decision to make music that washes over the listener, but it would have been great to have heard a few surprises along the way. Then again, this is an issue I've had with all of the Scale the Summit albums; their style is beautiful and awe- inspiring, but there's only ever a handful of tracks with an identity of their own.

Barring its stunning artwork (which might just be my favourite album artwork of the year so far) 'The Migration' suffers mostly from the fact that it follows too closely in the footsteps of its predecessors. In style and the emotions felt as a listener, it doesn't feel any different than the times when 'The Collective' or 'Carving Desert Canyons' were first fresh in my mind. The lack of track and album identity remains Scale the Summit's greatest obstacle in the path of creating a true masterpiece. Then again, there isn't a band in technical metal I can think of that's making music with the emotional depth and feeling of Scale the Summit. In that respect, 'The Migration' doesn't disappoint.

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 The Collective by SCALE THE SUMMIT album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.85 | 96 ratings

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The Collective
Scale The Summit Progressive Metal

Review by csamurai175

4 stars After listening to their first album, Scale The Summit has delivered another excitement. The biggest appeal of this album is how it is not tiring to sit and listen to the entire album which was the shortcoming of the previous album. The playing of Chris and Travis has evolved to greater layering and meshing of sounds, bassist Jordan blends splendidly with the moods created by Chris and Travis. Drummer of the group, Pat, provides interesting playing without unneccessary complexity. The layering and tapping of this album are what makes Scale The Summit such an appealing band to listen to. One observation is the connection between the first and last songs of the album; listen to Drifting Figures immediately after The Collective, the two songs are built similarily but with different tones and moods tying the album together. It is well done considering how the band is only instrumental.

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 The Collective by SCALE THE SUMMIT album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.85 | 96 ratings

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The Collective
Scale The Summit Progressive Metal

Review by Formentera Lady

4 stars So this is tech extreme?

At first I could not believe it. I thought music from this genre is noise. But this album isn't. It has melody! It has harmonies! It isn't 200 beats per minute! It is rarely even over 120 bpm it seems. There is also no problem with growling vocals either, because it does not have any. And the guitars are not so distorted that you think an aeroplane is starting, no! The guitars are only slightly distorted and have a pleasant sound.

It is mainly guitar oriented music with a few ambient synthesizers, for example the way it begins in the intro track. Additionally, the musicians use more strings on the bass and guitars than is allowed (6 for bass and 7 or 8 for the guitars), which results in an extended harmony range that can be heard.

The music contains interesting rhythmical patterns, playful bass lines, harmonic shifts and chordal breaks, accompanied by atmospheric and smooth guitar solo lines, which have at times a Fripp-like feeling about it. Sometimes it reminds me a bit of post rock.

My recommendations for listening: Emersion, Secret Earth

(Thanks to Plankowner for introducing this album to me.)

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 The Collective by SCALE THE SUMMIT album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.85 | 96 ratings

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The Collective
Scale The Summit Progressive Metal

Review by J-Man
Prog Reviewer

4 stars After the release of Carving Desert Canyons in 2009, Texas-based instrumental act Scale the Summit gained quite a bit of buzz in the prog metal community. Prompting a spot on the ProgNation tour with Zappa Plays Zappa, Dream Theater, and Bigelf as well as a spot on Between the Buried and Me's ticket with Cynic and Devin Townsend, you could certainly say that Carving Desert Canyons was a hit among prog and metal fans worldwide. Although that album (in my opinion, at least) feels a tad underdeveloped and immature, The Collective shows the band at their creative peak. The improvement by this band in the last two years is truly tremendous. If you generally enjoyed Scale the Summit's previous efforts, but would've enjoyed a bit more variety and melody, this is the album for you! The Collective is one of the best instrumental albums that this year has yet to offer, and is also among the best instrumental metal albums ever released.

The music here is similar to that on the previous two Scale the Summit albums, but with much more jazz fusion tendencies and melodic overtones. The Collective sounds like an extremely well-played, professional, and mature statement. If you're looking for a testosterone-drenched shredfest, you may be let down by The Collective. Songs like "The Levitated", "Alpenglow", "Black Hills", and "Drifting Figures" are all beautiful pieces of melodic prog rock, whereas tracks like "Origin of Species", "Gallows", and "Emersion" are heavy and technical, while still remaining the maturity and compositional prowess of the softer tracks. There honestly isn't a weak song on The Collective - every track is a memorable piece of instrumental prog metal. Of course, the musicianship from Scale the Summit is top-notch. These guys know how to play some of the most challenging prog metal music out there, yet still are capable of conveying power and emotion through their respective instruments. The production is also crisp and professional.

The Collective is one hell of an album, and surely Scale the Summit's most defining statement so far. If you're going to look into this band, this should be your first purchase. Seldom do I come across an instrumental album this professional, enjoyable, and all-around spectacular! 4 - 4.5 stars are warranted for this terrific achievement. This is one of the finest instrumental metal albums ever released.

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 The Collective by SCALE THE SUMMIT album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.85 | 96 ratings

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The Collective
Scale The Summit Progressive Metal

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 'The Collective' - Scale the Summit (74/100)

Scale the Summit is a perfectly chosen name for the now-renowned progressive metallers. Not only does their music evoke a triumphant sense akin to 'scaling a summit' or overcoming adversity; many of the band's best ideas revolve around ascending and descending scales. Five years since its release, and I'd still likely peg The Collective as the best album they've done so far. A couple of years prior to the album's release, I had the opportunity of seeing them open for Dream Theater and Zappa Plays Zappa in Las Vegas. Much like the opener Three from the prior year's ProgNation tour, they stole the show. Scale the Summit demonstrated technical proficiency and tasteful moderation far beyond their years. The Collective is a solid summation of the band's character, placing songwriting and atmosphere before technical flash at every opportunity. I cannot help but feel there is (and always has) been something vital missing from Scale the Summit's formula, but they manage to achieve a sense of purpose and emotional resonance with the tech metal on The Collective. Even though it's now been several years since they first took the stage, that quality virtually puts them in a league of their own.

There isn't a great deal that distinguishes one Scale the Summit from another; they're one of those bands that knew what they wanted to do from the beginning, and since then they've stuck with it. The Collective is cut from the same cloth as Monument and Carving Desert Canyons, but it's clear by this point the band had the time to figure out what they wanted the fine print of their style to look like. In comparison, The Collective puts greater emphasis on jazz fusion embellishments. The songwriting is generally more focused. I might argue Carving Desert Canyons had some higher highpoints, but the growing maturity they're demonstrating with The Collective has generally worked in their favour.

Scale the Summit's collision of jazz fusion and progressive metal plant them firmly within the technical school, to the point where it wouldn't seem out of place to discuss them alongside Animals as Leaders or any one of a thousand tech-y 'djent' bands that have been popping up nowadays. With those and a large proportion of modern so-called progressive bands, technique is virtually a given, and by the point where an acknowledged mastery of sweep-picking appears to be the minimum entrance requirement for this sort of thing, flashy technical abilities aren't usually as interesting as they're probably intended to be. That's what makes Scale the Summit such a distinctive and engaging band for me; it's altogether clear they can play as fast or as flashy as the rest of them, but they don't. Instead, most of their songwriting feels oddly relaxed and moderated. Almost as were they a post-rock band with an added technical twist, Scale the Summit seem solely interested in performing within the context of the composition. A welcome exception to that often comes in the form of guitarist Chris Letchford's virtuosic-tier solos, which pop up pretty frequently and, once again, express a moderation you'd be hard-pressed to find an abundance of within this genre.

The climbing motion of Scale the Summit's riffs gives the music a permanent sense of kinetic movement- call it 'driving' on the heavy moments or 'soaring' on the lighter ones, the atmosphere is strong and omnipresent throughout the album. While Scale the Summit have carved out a style I daresay is unique to themselves, they still fall into soft/heavy dynamics, long since done to death by every progressive metal band out there. It doesn't take long listening to The Collective to notice a pattern: if Scale the Summit are playing a djenty rhythm section or lead guitar showcase, a moment of mandatory fusion atmosphere or clean finger-tapping is soon to follow. For all of their technical proficiency and thoughtfulness, Scale the Summit fail to surprise me as a listener, and that may be what I feel is ultimately missing from The Collective. The beauty and warmth is there (particularly in the cleaner moments- check out "The Levitated" if you want a perfect example and are crunched for time), but more often than not, I'm left feeling like I should be having more of a gut reaction from what Scale the Summit are doing here. The purely instrumental approach in rock or metal often risks losing that feeling of human spontaneity, and The Collective is no exception to that. Do I think Scale the Summit might have benefited from a vocalist on this album? Absolutely not, but it would have probably done wonders for the album's enjoyment and replayability to have heard a few sonic surprises, outside of their jazz and post-rock infused metal niche.

In spite of the album's shortcomings (which unfortunately plague everything the band have done to date, including 2013's The Great Migration) The Collective feels fresh and polished. It's one thing to have skill, but quite another to find an exciting and intelligent way to use that skill. Scale the Summit are one of the rare bands in tech metal that strike a balance between flash and restraint. Their unique, but ultimately limited range of sound empowers yet simultaneously hinders their ability to excite and impress me. Time will tell whether Scale the Summit ever broaden their horizons, but for the present, The Collective stands as the most enduring album they have ever recorded.

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 The Collective by SCALE THE SUMMIT album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.85 | 96 ratings

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The Collective
Scale The Summit Progressive Metal

Review by Negoba
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The Kiddos are Growing Up!

Scale the Summit are an all instrumental technical metal / fusion band. THE COLLECTIVE is their third album.

I was introduced to Scale the Summit as they opened the ProgNation tour during their Carving Desert Canyons period, and was impressed with the technicality and work ethic of the young band. While that album left me a little cold, THE COLLECTIVE is a huge step forward in musicality. Taking a page from post-rock / post-metal atmospherics (or maybe from some of the djent players like Cloudkicker), this is a much more emotional record than their previous work. Where I had mentioned that the previous album seemed to be lacking a lead element, THE COLLECTIVE features some great melodic playing and the lyricism of the guitarists is to me just as impressive as the chops that have always fueled the StS sound. While the technical aspects are still present, the fast-fingered displays are much more subdued.

With the huge influence of Animals as Leaders across the guitar and metal community, it is no surprise that StS have more odd time signatures, more clean jazzy chording, and of course the requisite multi-stringed guitars and bass. But the melodicism points back toward Sean Malone's Gordian Knot project more than the more tech-y Exivious album. Still, the Cynic ethic of meaningful high technique permeates this album. The clean two-handed work on "The Levitated" is very well done and the complex rhythms are seamless. The only possible problem is that perhaps the album is too mellow. "Gallows" is initially one of the more aggressive songs but even that track slips back into the dreamy territory of modern fusion after the initial riffage. By the end of the album, usually my attention has wandered. And for a tech metal band, there aren't alot of "Wow" moments. This is where I think the Animals as Leaders album shines, as it both impresses as well as emotes.

Overall, this is a huge step forward for the young band. The musicality has improved so much, but the genre has also moved forward substantially in the last few years. There are increasingly more and more good metal fusion albums out there, and StS certainly remain in the mix of the better new bands. If asked I would definitely pick THE COLLECTIVE as their best work. But I also forsee even better work in the future if they manage to merge the excitement of pushing the boundaries of technique with their newly evolved emotional expression.

As it is, this is a great background music album for aging metalheads such as I. I can listen to this at work or home and offend no one, but still satisfy my love of great guitar playing and complexity. It's a 3-4/5 star album, and I'm feeling generous today.

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 The Collective by SCALE THE SUMMIT album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.85 | 96 ratings

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The Collective
Scale The Summit Progressive Metal

Review by Andy Webb
Forum & Site Admin Group Site and Forum Admin

4 stars Where'd the adventure go?

Carving Desert Canyons, this band's sophomore album and a great favorite of mine from 2009, had me dying for more of this tasty band. The licks, soloing, and overall "adventurous" atmosphere of the music was purely infectious. This year, when they announced the release of "The Collective," I was ecstatic. To hear more was going to be purely sublime! The studio updates, little snipets of news from the bands, and anything else I could get just fed my desire for this new album. However, when they released "Whales" a few weeks before the release of the album, I was puzzled: where'd the adventure go? The band had turned to a bit more riff based, more "metal" album. However, with more and more listens, the track began to grow on me: the new style fused the bands already great uniue style with their influences of Cynic and Dream Theater into a jazzy and dynamic debut for the band. When the album came out, again I was not greatly impressed, but soon the album began to grow on me. Sections where at first cringed began to turn into boughs of joy, and the album took a turn for the better for me.

The album opens with an ambient soundscape the leads into the "colossal" track Colossal. Breaking off from the ambiance with a smashing riff and some sweeping riffing, the track starts the album off on a great foot. As we've known since the beginning these guys are no musical amateurs- they can rip out a kickin' solo any day of the week without a sweat- which is seen plenty of times on this song, and on this album.

Whales, as I mentioned in the intro, is certainly a grower. Opening with a more mellow lick, the song takes a slow entry. It takes a little while for the jazzy progressions to really get on their feet, but once they start to move, they certainly move. A very strong Cynic influence is heard throughout the song, giving a tasty dose of jazzy metal influence to spice things up a bit. Once the solo section kicks in, that's where the true power of Scale the Summit's composition can be heard. Complementing harmonies with spot on melodies with spot on rhythms with spot on low ends and high ends and everything in between, the band sure knows how to rip open a song and fill it with only the good song. Certainly a favorite of mine from this album.

Emersion drags the album down a bit. The opening is one of the most awkward musical pieces I've heard in a while, with the band trying to utilize chromatic jazz- and it doesn't work out very well. However, once the song starts to get started, it matures into a great and adventurous piece of music- even though it is only 2 minutes long.

The main purpose of Emersion in my opinion has to be as a great intro to the next track: The Leviated. One of the more jazzy tracks on the album, we hear more two hand tapping, just like the landmark track Great Plain on the last album. The song is very chill and laid back, building and receding, emerging and returning, throughout the whole thing. Overall, this is another one of my favorites for the album, displaying the bands more emotional and heartfelt side of composition.

Secret Earth is another very mellow and jazz-based track. Instituting a great dynamic between melodic noodling and heavier riffs behind it, the song starts off immediately on a great foot. The solos are heavily melody based and take you off on an adventure to secret earth. Another fantastic track, for sure.

Gallows is certainly the heaviest track on the album, kicking off with a rotary style drum solo and some fast riffing from the guitar department. An obvious departure from the bands usual style, the song serves a dual purpose of giving the album a nice dynamic and broadening the band's musical portfolio. The solo tapping section is a great solo also, utilizing some sublime harmony skills. Overall, although different from much of the band's usual show, the song shows the band that they can do pretty much whatever they want and get away with it.

Origin of the Species, although again being only 2 minutes, is another fast and fierce track. Fusing the adventure and riffing that have made this album more dynamic than usual, we can see a great trend here. Although it does not seem as original as some of the other track, it still proffers some great new sounds to their discography.

Alepnglow is another jazzy and melodic track. The song starts with a mellow lick, and breaks into a nice solo with a bit of a harder edge. Although the solos in this song can get a bit repetitive, they still can give a great case for musical dominance. Years spent at the Musicians Institute seem to have served these fine gentlemen well. Overall, this track is another great one, even if some transitions seem a bit sudden and soloing can be a bit repetitive.

Black Hills, the longest track in their discography as of yet (just about 8 minutes), understandably contains a lot of great material. The song has some fantastic dynamics, transitioning flawlessly from sweeping riff sections to mellow and ambient sections. The solos again are near flawless, showcasing this bands awesome musical prowess.

Balkan sees the winding down of the album. It opens slowly, and although the licking gets a little heavier, it still retains that mellow tempo at which the song with sustain through the first section of the track. Soon the track with transition into a sweeping force that quickly traverses through fields of sonic mastery, giving way to even more great output from the band.

Drifting Figures, the closing track, is a great closer. Maintaining a mellow tapping rhythm for most of the track, the song acts as a relaxing piece of music, great for letting the listener slip into a post-Collective trance to contemplate the beauty of the music they just experienced. Overall a great closer to a great album.

ALBUM OVERALL: The Collective is certainly a grower. If you are not impressed by your first listen (I wasn't), listen again. And again. The album's natural ability to wow will kick in sooner or later. Now I'm in a quandary on how this racks up against Carving Desert Canyons, seeing as the albums are so drastically different, but I think I will go for yes, this beats the great CDC, for its superb compositions and ambiances, it's great atmosphere and musical virtuosity: yes, The Collective is a very near masterpiece, and certainly the best this band has to offer us yet! 4 stars.

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 Carving Desert Canyons by SCALE THE SUMMIT album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.44 | 45 ratings

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Carving Desert Canyons
Scale The Summit Progressive Metal

Review by Negoba
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Pleasant Instrumental Tech Metal

For awhile it seemed like Scale the Summit were everywhere, opening multiple prog metal tours, and no one can fault their work ethic. I saw the tail end of their show on the Prog Nation tour in 2009, and their talent was clearly on display. The group is a gathering of young guys who clearly love what they're doing, and have really worked to achieve a high level of technical ability. They came out after their slot and were personable and easy to like. Unfortunately, I personally don't think this kind of music works terribly well live unless the sound is remarkably good, and this was the case for STS. The quality of tech metal depends on nuance and no opening band gets the definition necessary for that. Live metal is just too loud, boomy, and is rarely mixed for detail. Because I could tell that the band had some chops, but couldn't really get a good read based on their live show, I picked up CARVING DESERT CANYONS.

The album is clearly better than the live performance I saw. But it is simply begging for vocals. There's just not enough going on, not enough central lead element for the listener to cue in on. Unlike contemporary metal albums by Exivious and Animals as Leaders, these pieces come across as constructions rather than songs. There's plenty of great playing but not a real artistic point. I'm not expecting anything terribly deep. Often in technical metal, the point of a record is a "Wow" factor in terms of chops. The listener and the player share in the excitement of "Dayyummm boy, you killin that thang." But here there is no swagger or flash, though these guys probably have the chops to match up with some of the swashbucklers. For instance the track, "The Great Plains" features some of the clean tapping hand interplay, powerful harmony leads, and some slick drumwork. But there's just not enough emotion.

Occasionally the repetitive riffs slide into a post-rockish mode but that whole genre depends on dynamic ebbs and flows. This album has almost no dynamic variation. I'm being harsh, and I must admit that this is very good playing just for the sake of playing. But the young members of this band have yet to figure out the point of music, which is to make a connection between player and listener. Simply playing in a cool style with great prowess isn't enough, at least for me. Songs need a beginning, middle, and end. Setting the scene is not enough, you actually have to have an event. Luckily STS have plenty of time to learn, and I suspect that all the touring will leave a big impression on these guys before we get the next album.

This is a 2-3 star album which I'm giving a little nudge because they seem like good kids. But I'm expecting something a little better next time. Some danger, some bite, some fire.

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 Carving Desert Canyons by SCALE THE SUMMIT album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.44 | 45 ratings

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Carving Desert Canyons
Scale The Summit Progressive Metal

Review by Andy Webb
Forum & Site Admin Group Site and Forum 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.

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