Astounding fourth record from Texan progressive metal quartet
It has become all too easy to instantly pass off bands with names that fit the 'verb the noun' formula. Such names have been associated with blandness, boredom, and unoriginality. These three words, however, are something that should never be associated with instrumental progressive metal quartet Scale The Summit. There are very few musicians in the entire world that have the same level of skill as these four guys from Texas, and their latest album, 'The Migration' is just further proof of how talented they really are.
Opening track 'Odyssey' sets us up with a lot of common musical themes that are seen throughout the record. Insane virtuosic guitar work, intense time signatures, and pinpoint accuracy are something that you'll hear a lot of through this album. However, the move into the next track, 'Atlas Novus' instantly sets them apart from the rest of the crop in progressive metal. The problem with a lot of bands in this scene is that they show off so much skill and virtuosic work but manage to not make any of their sounds sound particularly different to any others. Scale The Summit, however, do just this, showing not only a very high level of technical proficiency, but a really strong sense of diversity.
No two tracks on the album sound the same. Each is unique in its structure and sound scape. You can go from a song that is blisteringly heavy (Odyssey, The Dark Horse) to a song that is incredibly light and ambient (The Oracle), songs that use a contrast of the both (Evergreen) and even one song that upon first impression, in the coolest possible way, sounds like progressive metal's take on an 8 bit video game's soundtrack (The Traveller). There is no pattern on this record to be followed, and every time you think you may have caught on to what's going on, there's some kind of a change to keep you guessing at just what's going to come next.
In any contemporary instrumental band, there's always a major gap to fill with the lack of a vocalist. With the absence of something so key to most people's musical pallet, it's difficult to fill the void left behind. However, it's definitely not impossible, something proven by lead guitarist Chris Letchford. The only possible way to describe Letchford's playing and still manage to do it justice is 'god like.' The guitarist steps up and plays some incredibly melodic, yet incredibly virtuosic guitar work to take the place of a lead vocalist. However, this doesn't mean that it's just an album of music that frames Letchford shredding as you could very easily expect. The man knows when it's time to step and play something a lot more simplistic to suit what's going on in the rest of the ensemble, and there are even a few times when bassist Mark Michell steps in to play some quick lead parts (Narrow Salient, The Dark Horse), and quite frankly, they're some of the best you will ever hear.
Making instrumental music isn't an easy task. But, if you can pull it off effectively, as so few can, you can produce something genuinely magical, and so it is with Scale The Summit's latest work of art, 'The Migration'. The work on this album will quite simply solidify these four musicians as some of the best in their trade