Scale The Summit
02. Atlas Novus
03. The Olive Tree
04. Narrow Salient
07. The Dark Horse
10. The Traveler
For many, Scale the Summit — with their seeming omnipresent support tours with acts across the metal spectrum — have become a reliable gateway into instrumental rock music. With roots in post-rock and progressive metal, this group of learned musicians weave technique and melody seamlessly, crafting picturesque tunes that are as dizzying as they are awe-inspiring. This balance has been maintained by the group since inception, nullifying the need for lyrics in order to capture a spirit of adventure. This has allowed Scale the Summit to take to the forefront of modern instrumental music, and further solidifies their frontrunner status with The Migration.
With a band as consistent and meticulous as Scale the Summit in terms of quality of output, it’s difficult to pinpoint where The Migration lies in reference to their discography thus far. While The Migration is by no means simply more of the same, comparisons to their sophomore album and breakout hit Carving Desert Canyons for instance will yield very little difference in how the band operates. Overall, very little has changed in the spirit of the group’s music, where polyphonic major-key compositions reign supreme.
However, The Migration can be seen as a new evolutionary step in Scale The Summit’s musical repertoire. Perhaps aided by producer and long-time Between the Buried and Me collaborator Jaime King, The Migration sees the group experimenting with different tones and textures from time to time. The guitar ambiance in ‘Odyssey‘ and the spacy instrumentation of ‘The Dark Horse’ in particular are sounds rarely heard from the group, and the tracks excel because of this.
On the topic of Jaime King’s involvement in The Migration, it’s to be noted that this record may possibly be the most well-produced record in the Scale the Summit discography thus far. Music such as this thrives in lush production and can be easily soured by faulty sonic quality, but the mixing and mastering of The Migration is in the ballpark of impeccable, had it not been for a slight blindspot in cymbal-heavy drum parts. Clarity is important in instrumental music such as this, and it helps when every detail can be heard even without headphones. For instance, the bass solo in ‘Narrow Salient’ doesn’t have to fight for attention or drown out the other instruments. Everything is in alignment, which is key for a band that touts the tagline, “their strings are voices.”
The Migration certainly sounds great, but at the end of the day, the merits of an album falls on whether or not the music is up to snuff. Fortunately, Scale The Summit matches the gloss of The Migration with enough beautiful music to warrant the artwork emblazoning the cover. A band such as Scale the Summit can get old quickly if their need for personal growth doesn’t match their musical prowess, but the tweaks and improvements made with The Migration take the band to new heights, even if the style that fans have come to expect hasn’t moved much since The Collective. This is perhaps the group’s best effort yet, where their breed of adventure metal not only holds up for another album cycle, but subtly raises the bar for their next opus to come.
Scale the Summit – The Migration gets…