Monday, June 3, 2013

Review of "The Migration" by Scale The Summit

Buy this album
(links available the 11th)

1. Odyssey
2. Atlas Novus
3. The Olive Tree
4. Narrow Salient
5. Oracle
6. Evergreen
7. The Dark Horse
8. Willow
9. Sabrosa
10. The Traveler

Musically wise beyond their years, the Houston-based SCALE THE SUMMIT has accomplished things in six short years that many veteran acts still dream of achieving. After self-releasing their acclaimed debut album in 2007, the instrumental progressive hard rock quartet signed with Prosthetic Records before issuing their sophomore effort, 2009′s “Carving Desert Canyons.” The album won extensive praise from the likes of Guitar World, Revolver and their hometown Houston Chronicle (the ninth-largest newspaper in America, and Texas’ biggest daily publication), as well as their musical peers in such groups as Dream Theater, Between The Buried And Me and Protest The Hero, all of which invited the group to tour with them in the year following the album’s release.

After headlining Prosthetic’s SXSW showcase last spring and gaining notoriety via their music’s inclusion in the Rock Band Network, SCALE THE SUMMIT spent much of 2010 writing and recording their third album, “The Collective.” Produced, engineered and mixed by Mark Lewis (All That Remains, Trivium, DevilDriver), and mastered by Alan Douches at West West Side (Baroness, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Hatebreed), the album saw the band step up their game sonically while continuing to craft expansive, atmospheric music that speaks volumes without saying a word.

Following the release of “The Collective,” SCALE THE SUMMIT embarked on an extensive national tour alongside Fair To Midland and Periphery. Over the next 18 months, they continued to tour with the likes of Cynic, The Contortionist, 3, The Human Abstract; they also reteamed with their old friends in Protest The Hero, as well as some members of BTBAM when they invited Trioscapes to support them on a 2012 headlining run.

SCALE THE SUMMIT's third Prosthetic release, "The Migration," was recorded with Jamie King in early 2013. Like its predecessors, the evocative and stirring album highlights the proficiency of the band members, including new bassist Mark Michell. This isn’t a wanky shredfest by guitar-store nerds, though, for while these young virtuosos play with the skill of seasoned veterans, the group lets their songs breathe — and as a result, they resonate long after the final notes fade.

SCALE THE SUMMIT will kick off the "Migration" touring cycle this summer, when they will hit the road with Intronaut.

The album starts of with “Odyssey” and technical right from the beginning. The bass is very apparent and listenable which makes it great to listen to and the mellow break was really relaxing. When that riff was joined by the rest of the band it was perfect, had a nice progressive feel. The way the bass and guitars flowed together on “Atlas Novus” was so incredible sounding. These guys are masters at taking guitar effects and using them to the fullest, like echoes and such. It is a little more mellow than the first track but chilled out in a great way. “The Olive Tree” really puts a smile to my face the way the technical riffs go. The other riffs just sound so upbeat with the always interesting bass lines an the lead riffs near the end are really catchy, especially when harmonized with the bass.

Another heavier track comes next with “Narrow Salient.” The bass gets a lot of spotlight on this one with an impressive solo, the guitar gets solos as well but I find the bass more fun. Another great harmony of the two after that and the riff at the end of the track is one of my favourite on the album. “Oracle,” the next track is a shorter one. It is pretty mellow but quite lovely. “Evergreen” is mellow as well to start off but gets heavier, with great riffs everywhere. It gets a little crazy with both guitars doing different technical riffs but made for an interesting time following it. Something about “The Dark Horse” sparked my interest, for some reason it made me all excited inside and could help but head bob. The technicality was really great and the progressive switches between heavy and technical pieces were perfect. “Willow” is extremely short, not much to say there.

I was definitely feeling Opeth on “Sabrosa,” especially at the beginning. It goes back and forth between mellow progressive and masterful tech guitars, but also mixing in heavier riffs half way through. The beginning of “The Traveler” felt like I was listening to old jazz, then they made that riff their own and went beyond that. This track nearly made me need a change of pants, with how perfect the technical riffs they created off the first riff were, especially when they got heavier throughout. As an album ender this track is mean, because now I just want more and more of these guys.

I have heard the name Scale The Summit before, when seeing they were playing with Trioscapes. Regrettably, I never ended up going because the venue wasn’t wheelchair accessible. Those two bands are a dream team for this style of music and are perfect in every way. Although I do like Trioscapes a little more because saxophone, Scale The Summit is pretty much Trioscapes with a guitar instead of saxophone. These guys are masters in their craft and you should pick this album up.

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