The last eight years have been hugely successful for progressive metal act Scale the Summit. Ever since their self-released debut, Monument, back in 2007, they’ve had a steady following which has continued to swell. They also managed to catch the attention of Prosthetic Records which subsequently signed them and released three more of their albums. Let’s not forget to mention that the Texans have shared the stage with Between the Buried and Me, Cynic and Periphery, just to name a few.
Scale the Summit‘s genre-hopping music can now be heard once again on V, and they continue to display enviable technical ability of the highest standard, no vocals needed. If you’re familiar with them, then you’ll know exactly what I mean when I use the term genre-hopping. While there are moments of pure rock filled with ample guitar solos and plenty of tight drumming, there are also plenty of shredding riffs, heavy drum patterns and pummelling bass lines, like on “Kestral.” It’s worth mentioning, though, that Scale the Summit never write music to assault the eardrums or to inspire the finest moves in the mosh pit, and that’s what sets their sound apart from some of the other contributors to this genre.
To describe V as a whole is difficult given that each track has its own unique, distinguished sound. “The Winged Bull” is straight-ahead progressive rock with more and more substance gradually added to the mix by use of guitar solos, gently chugging riffs, and stop-start drum and bass patterns. In comparison, “Trapped in Ice” has a darker aura and is a breakneck shred-fest for the most part, although it ventures down a path filled with atmospherics and clean guitars. “Stolas” elegantly follows with a flowery intro that is soon pushed to the side to make room for more guitar wizardry and that ever-present popping bass.
A favourite and highlight of this album has got to be the aforementioned “Kestral.” The whole track is crammed with feeling from the acoustic intro to the classic rock-esque guitar solos and ballsy, momentous outro. It is another example of how Scale the Summit don’t need 10-plus-minute songs to generate feeling within the listener, even if “Blue Sun” does hit the seven-minute mark! That intelligence and know-how make them deserving of their growing success, but don’t panic if V doesn’t blow you away immediately. This is progressive rock and metal, remember?
V will be released September 18 on Prosthetic Records.
SkullsNBones Rating (Out Of 5):