When I first heard the albums Monument and Carving Desert Canyons, Scale The Summit changed the way I thought about instrumental metal forever.
No longer did I think that it was doomed to be an over-bloated monster, signifying the demise of musicianship in favour of an addiction to self-gratifying solos. It was now a streamlined, fluid, and stunning genre – a whole new beast from so many other instrumental bands.
It really felt as though the music had become an experience in its own right.
With their inspiring and unique sound, Scale The Summit gained much attention from the metal press with the release of Monument, and were signed up by Prosthetic Records in time to record their second album. The band’s writing skills flourished even further, and Carving Desert Canyons opened their sound up into the airy atmosphere they had started to develop in Monument, noticeable in songs such as Holding Thunder and Penguins In Flight. The climax of Holding Thunder has been a favourite musical moment of mine since I first heard it; it’s an absolute spectacle of technicality matched with a virtuoso awareness of the emotional effect music has on people.
The band has attracted the genre label of ‘adventure metal,’ because of their ability to take the listener on a journey through these musical vistas. It will take you across The Great Plains, sail you across the wide Sargasso Sea, and watch you climb Mount Everest to touch the Roof Of The World.
The third effort from the band, The Collective, was released in 2011, and although it was a record that I enjoyed, it felt darker and less open than the vast plains of musical vision opened up in the first two records. So I was glad to turn on The Migration and be ushered back into the intensely hued mental landscapes which those albums evoked.
Rousing the organic sound which is their trademark, the band weave a kaleidoscopic variety of vivid and natural images, through the masterful use of both seven and eight string guitars, a six string bass and tumultuous drumming. From the simple yet beautiful harmonics of Evergreen to the track Atlus Novus which features so many layers of wonderful instrumentation that it borders on the psychedelic, this record is a dazzling whirlwind of music which is so skillfully created, that it threatens to spill out from the auditory realm and become a technicolour visual experience.
The album closes with The Traveler, one of the most cogent pieces of instrumentation that I think I have ever heard. Its multiplicity of rich sounds and textures marks it out as a stellar achievement, even for a group well used to accomplishing incredible feats with their music. Complex yet tasteful, The Traveler is a glittering, exquisite musical gem. Absolutely priceless, and entirely euphoric.
The band have released the first track from their album, Odyssey, as a salient first taster of the album. This sneak peek will prove to you, if you are in any doubt, that Scale The Summit are once again in fine form.
Scale The Summit are well entitled to be named among the masters of progressive metal, alongside other technically gifted modern bands such as Animals As Leaders and Between The Buried And Me. Their song writing never needs to be backed up by vocals because the music has a firm enough voice of its own.
These are in no way technical tracks written to show off – they are meaningful songs written to have an effect on all of your senses.