Released: Mar 1, 2011
Genre: Instrumental Rock, Progressive Rock
Label: Prosthetic Records
Number Of Tracks: 11
Although the instrumental aspect may not gain a wide-scale audience, Scale the Summit's latest release The Collective is yet another example of their musical prowess.
The CollectiveFeatured review by: UG Team, on march 09, 2011 0 of 2 people found this review helpful
Sound: Listening to a band like Scale the Summit, it becomes evident that we're probably listening to the next generations of Vais and Satrianis. With as many virtuosos that have come upon the rock/metal scene over the past few decades, those who are at the top of their game might not get quite as much acclaim as, say, Eddie Van Halen or Yngwie Malmsteen would have back in the 1980's. That being said, the members of Houston's Scale the Summit are deserving of plenty of attention, particularly with their latest record "The Collective." With 11 tracks that are completely instrumental it's safe to assume that Scale the Summit does have an uphill battle in gaining widespread notoriety, but the songwriting and chemistry is something that at the very least their musical peers should recognize.
Scale the Summit is not one of those bands that feel the need to jump between crazy tempo changes or genres within the course of one song, but the quartet does inject subtle transitions here and there. In terms of guitar playing, the team of Chris Letchford (7 and 8 string) and Travis Levrier (7 string) seamlessly blend their parts together creating lush, complex arrangements. With the 8-string element, there is certainly a comparable sound at times to Tosin Abasi's own playing, but Scale the Summit never dives too deeply into the groove metal aspect that is expected with Animals As Leaders. Instead, they favor mellower compositions that emphasize layering, string skipping, and phrasing.
Throughout The Collective, sophistication via phrasing is key on tracks "Colossal," "Emersion" and "Black Hills." You do get hints of a more metal approach on a song like "Gallows" with its double bass pedal intro and heavier riff work, but it always returns to a brighter, more streamlined playing style. Letchford and Levrier's textures and layers are at their best on "Secret Earth," which blends the two player's varied parts like clockwork. "The Collective"'s main issue is that it is so lovely you might desire a little more dissonance - whether that mean more gain effects or otherwise to break up the perfection. // 8
Lyrics: "The Collective" is a completely instrumental album. // 9
Overall Impression: In terms of skill, Scale the Summit should be gaining the sort of attention showered upon so many other virtuosic players. You can certainly hear elements of Joe Satriani and Eric Johnson within tracks like "Alpenglow" and the eight-minute epic "Black Hills," and the Letchford/Levrier team have the ability to restrain themselves from throwing out all their tricks at once. For the average rock listener, Scale the Summit may be a bit much to take at first. But on the other hand if you're interested in the technique and sound associated with the 8-string guitar, The Collective is a must-have addition to your music catalog. // 9
ThatWouldBeJon, on march 09, 2011 2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Sound: The four-piece all instrumental progressive tech metal band Scale The Summit has done it again yet with their newly released masterpiece The Collective. Being the follow up to the looming and ever so impressionable Carving Desert Canyons, Scale the Summit has peaked the musical interests of fans all over by proving their musicianship has no bounds and neither does there ability to keep a steady, successful formula from album to album. // 10
Lyrics: "Their Strings Are Their Voices" is what any STS fan would say to critics who question there instrumental chops and it seems to prove true through their music. Even some of their merchandise has those exact words on it. With that being said Scale The Summits does not need a vocalist for I feel it would limit the music in many aspects greatly therefore, Scale The Summit remains a instrumental band. // 10
Overall Impression: 01. Colossal: with an ambient almost larger than life feel starting the song going into an impressive array of solos this track gives a great sense of foreshadowing of whats to come.
02. Whales: being the first single on the album whales portrays the skills of all the members pretty solidly for being just one song and ends with a near "Sim City" sounding clean outro.
03. Emersion: this song might have the strangest solo scale I've heard STS start a song with yet, but ontop of that the mixing (on my copy at least) seems to drop drastic volume levels at 0:35 but other than that a nice short sweet song.
04. The Levitated: this song really outlines STS amazing tapping skills and techniques very well from start to end and like its name leaves you feeling quite "Levitated" with musical satisfaction.
05. Secret Earth: starts with a clean guitar and then swings in an impressive bass solo on the contrast and then with a melodic rhythm leads up to a great solo and song.
06. Gallows: the second single for The Collective starts with a STS first (Since Omni from Monuments), which is a drum fill being the initial intro. Breaking down into a descending verse it leads up to a memorable dual solo with the bass and guitar ending the song.
07. Origin Of Species: starts off quite bleak and repetitive but ends with a very memorable outro with the bass as the lead rhythm and the guitars coming in with a very melodic sound off.
08. Alpenglow: as much as I hate to point it out, the intro ringed of a similar structure to "Chicagos Finest" intro but as far as that goes and completely different genres go, this surely tops any of Emmures work in a heartbeat, with that being said this particular track is what I might consider a filler but still good just not in comparison to the rest of the album.
09. Black Hills: quite possibly the most standout and impressive song on The Collective this song has everything that defines STS and then some, with an amazing yet out of place interlude this track from start to finish takes you on a journey through wherever the sounds take you and then lulls you back into reality with a soothing rainstorm ending the song.
10. Balkan: flowing fluently right from Black Hills, Balkan is almost Black Hills pt. 2 or maybe an epilogue to the story but never the less amazing in itself and a must-hear track.
11. Drifting Figures: another amazing song this track is the end of the journey that The Collective takes you on and sounds like a goodbye lullaby to the listener, staying soft and clean yet ending abruptly on a high note that leaves you wanting more but still satisfied.
One thing I love about Scale The Summit is that even with no words or lyrics you can get the story they are portraying just through the short song titles that seem to ever so perfectly fit the music that follows the name. And even with that its like each song is a new adventure a new destination with it being up to you exactly where that may be. My only quarrel with this album would be the drastic drops in volume level and longer than needed gaps in and between certain parts, but as far as mixing and whatnot goes I'd call this album a 9.5/10. STS fan or not this album is extremely enjoyable for anyone who is a fan of progressive/instrumental/tech metal/post rock/ambient/atmospheric music. // 9