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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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3 stars I like what's happening in progressive metal. There appears to be a deep reservoir of musicians who refuse to be intimidated by the greatness that came before them or the jeers of listeners and critics who think the whole prog-metal thing ends with Tool or Dream Theater. This straightforward U.S. combo of twin guitars, bass & drums popped out one of the best-recorded releases in 2009 and though the material occasionally yearns for a vocal here or there just to break things up, Scale the Summit's Carving Desert Canyons (their second) is painfully professional, clean as a whistle, and contains greater compositional value than much of what passes for progmetal.

Technical certainly, Extreme not as much. At least not compared to the hardcore tech of BtA or Ron Jarzombek's various projects. Closer to a less dirtied Collapsar or F*cking Champs, or maybe if Eddie Van Halen in a moment of detached inspiration made the solo album of his dreams. Either way you slice it, these guys are strong, deliberate, and definitely have something to say with their scrubbed and spotless rhythms, surprising changes, richly layered crusades, and Travis Levrier & Chris Letchford's tight-as-a-sailor's-knot guitar lines. Complaints of this CD's 'repetitiveness' are fair I suppose and the eights tracks do sometimes blend into one long opus, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. Not with these guys.

'Bloom' chimes brightly with laserbeam dualities from the guitars. Pat Skeffington, one of the most kick-ass skin-whackers this veteran has heard in a while, supports Letchford & Levrier's inventions with confident fury and turns in one of the best drum performances of '09. Almost unnoticed, 'Sargasso Sea' extends the progress nicely, and 'The Great Plains' regroups to shift the direction toward a more melodic landscape, some bubbly fingering on guitar, and the sensitive response from Skeffington and bassist Jordan Eberhardt. 'Dunes' demonstrates maddening mazes of circularity, the net-less acrobatics in 'Glacial Planet' is continued for 'City in the Sky' showing a mood for sci-fi, and 'Giants' is a thematic reprise.

A great-sounding album by a group brimming with talent, and worthy of some attention.

Atavachron | 3/5 |


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