Scale The Summit – The Migration
Scale The Summit – The Migration (2013)
Reviewed by Mark Nagy
I was first introduced to Scale The Summit back at Progressive Nation 2009, and perhaps it was because they were so young in their career, or perhaps it was because that was the same fateful night I was introduced to one of my favorite prog bands ever (Bigelf), but I came away less than impressed with their performance. That impression stuck with me through the past few years, even as Scale the Summit has gained a significant amount of popularity, leading up to a rather widespread release for their third album The Migration, which was released this June.
Scale the Summit plays highly technical, instrumental progressive metal. They stand out in this respect for their use of wide scaled string instruments like the 6 string bass and two eight string guitars. Unlike many of their contemporaries in the 8 string guitar movement however, it would be a mistake to call them djent. They rely very heavy on intricate melodies, and keep things pretty ‘by the books’ as far as rhythm is concerned. Most of the music is just well crafted, interlocking melodies, crafting distinct musical environments and very pleasant music.
Upon hearing The Migration and being rather impressed with it, I decided to revisit their first album, Scaling Desert Canyons, which they were touring for on my original exposure. It’s better than I remember it being, but The Migration is a significant improvement. The band has backed off some of their early, overly-technical showmanship, allowing their songs to have more character, and the songs are more memorable as a result. Additionally, the material is quite a bit less heavy overall. It’s still a fit into the progressive metal genre, but it’s a departure from the crunchier guitar tones of their earlier days.
The result is an album that is a lot of fun to listen to. The album’s last track, “The Traveller”, is my personal favorite. It’s got blazing fast guitar patterns that are impeccably tasteful, and such a great overall feel to it as it moves into soaring guitar leads and balances them with equally distinct bass leads. It is masterfully produced, crisp, and noticeable. This is a very well balanced album between guitars, bass, and drums, and that alone sets Scale The Summit apart from most instrumental contemporaries that serve as a vehicle primarily for guitar wizardry.
I’m pleasantly surprised to find a band with melodic sensibilities on par with late 00s Buckethead (Shadows Between The Sky and A Real Diamond In The Rough come to mind as comparisons), and to hear that kind of music performed on a broader scope is an interesting experience. The Migration was a great find for me from a band I had previously written off, and it should be a fitting addition to any prog collection for the year. I know that this is getting some heavy rotation from me, and I expect this to continue well into the future.
4.0 // 5