has been two years since the release of ‘The Migration’, and the boys of Scale
The Summit are back and right on schedule with ‘V’,
their appropriately titled fifth album. From one look at the majestic cover
art, beautifully done by Duncan Storr,
it is clear that the Texas foursome are about to embark on a creative journey,
taking the listener along for the ride. If you look closely, each aspect of the
artwork represents a track on the album. For example, the crowned owl perched
atop the icy mountain; if you’ve been enjoying
the very comical music video for the album’s single, “Stolas” (or
you are extremely well educated), you will know that the demon Stolas is often depicted as such a
creature. Another example is “The Winged Bull”, the mysterious
and intriguing opening track that sets the stage perfectly for the rest of the
trek through the album.
a lighter, jazzier sound than their previous albums. Long-time fans are
probably scratching their heads at that observation, since guitarists Chris
Letchford and Travis LeVrier are known for their jazzy approach to
progressive metal. This subtle yet positive difference is partially due to a
change in lineup, with the addition of drummer JC Bryant. While former
drummer Pat Skeffington is certainly a force to be reckoned with, Bryant adds a lighter, groovier, and
more dynamic approach to the band. He complements the guitars well, as opposed
to competing with them, something many drummers tend to do in the prog-metal
speaking, the entire outfit has a fantastic style of writing. It can be
challenging to create cohesive and entertaining pieces which are entirely
instrumental, and often some parts can sound incomplete, as if the vocalist
show up to record. Needless to say, that is not the case with Scale The Summit. At no point do any
of the songs sound lacking or empty; on the contrary, the addition of another
instrument would likely overwhelm and disrupt the flow that they have achieved.
It becomes increasingly more difficult with each listen to choose a favorite
track off of ‘V’,
though I recommend keeping an ear out for “Blue Sun” and
“Oort Cloud”, the latter in
particular containing a funky little bass solo courtesy of Mark Michell.
of the most prominent features of this album is the frequent use of 3/4 time.
For the elitist prog snobs, this may not seem impressive. However, often the
most pleasing of odd time signatures are simple, especially in quarters. It is
easy enough to play a string of notes and tack on a few extra at the end to
make it sound interesting (which I also find appealing, for the record), but
true creativity can be found in the underappreciated art of constructing a
gorgeous, flowing melody that just happens to not be in 4/4 time, and that is
precisely what these guys have accomplished.
for the production side of the album, the infamous Jamie King has worked
his magic once again. Having worked with bands such as Between The Buried
And Me and The Contortionist, as well as having produced ‘The
he clearly demonstrates his ability to create a perfect balance of sound in a
potentially chaotic environment. The crisp quality truly enhances the
musicianship, making it easy to tune in to whichever part you are most
intrigued by, and also reducing the likelihood of missing out on things.
‘V’ is an album that
is easy to lose yourself in. At the height of their career thus far, Scale The
Summit have fashioned another progressive masterpiece that leaves you with a generally
peaceful and pleasant feeling, as the final track “The Golden Bird” fades
out. This is a band that has been blossoming more and more with each release,
refining their style and setting the bar ever higher for everyone else who
strives for creative perfection. There are ten tracks here, and all of them are
solid, which is nothing more than was expected.
via Prosthetic Records.