Scale the Summit – The Collective

I love a band that releases albums like clockwork. Once every two years, a perfect schedule! Scale the Summit has done just this with their newest release: The Collective. Scale the Summit have been making big waves in the metal community in recent years. In 2009 they and Bigelf took over for Beardfish and Pain of Salvation when the two InsideOut bands were forced to drop from Dream Theater’s ProgNation tour. Since I was mostly going to see these two bands in the first place, I was understandably irritated. No one’s fault but Wall Street for the financial crisis, I suppose. Anyway this was the first I had heard of Scale the Summit, and when I started listening to them to prepare for the show I quickly grew to love them. Bigelf not so much, but luckily this review isn’t about them!

Scale the Summit are part of a new movement of instrumental prog metal bands that have popped up in recent years. As with many bands that are part of musical movements, they are generally put into them by people like me! So they hate me for that, I guess *sadface*. Anyway there are lots of “similar” instrumental prog metal bands around nowadays, from Animals as Leaders to Canvas Solaris to the infinitely more obscure Mind Flowers from Hungary.

Scale the Summit have their own distinguished sound, however. One that Chris Letchford, the primary composer, describes as “Adventure Metal”. There is no more fitting description for the type of music they play, and one simply must listen to “Monument” or “Carving Desert Canyons” to comprehend it immediately. That said, “The Collective”, is leaps and bounds ahead in terms of musical development.  Anyone familiar with the band or metal in general will be able to understand the band’s growth in this respect.

Instead of an in-your-face adventurous feel the album has a pervasive sense of subtle complexity. The feel of adventure is still here, however, but instead of sounding like “the thrill of adventure” expressed through music it seems more like the idea of “contemplation over what you’ve experienced on your journeys”. That’s what I get out of it, at least. The titles portray a sense of calm minimalism that add to the overall feel of contemplation as well. Instead of “Holding Thunder”, “Penguins in Flight”, “The Great Plains”, etc, we have tracks titled “Balkan”, “Alpenglow”, “Emersion”. The music and the track titles, along with everything else, portray a sense of sophistication certainly lacking from the band’s previous albums. As much as I like “Monument” and “Carving Desert Canyons”, “The Collective” is leaps and bounds ahead of them in every way. I love to witness musical development in a band, and Scale the Summit have certainly not let me down.

Follow this link for an old interview I did with Chris Letchford.

Scale the Summit is:
Jordan Eberhardt – 6 string bass
Chris Letchford – 8 string guitar
Pat Skeffington – drums, percussion
Travis Levrier – 7 string guitar
The tracklist for The Collective is as follows:
Total time – 45:38

1 – Colossal - 3:48
2 – Whales – 6:28
3 – Emersion - 2:33
4 – The Levitated – 3:02
5 – Secret Earth - 3:38
6 – Gallows - 4:33
7 – Origin of Species - 2:45
8 – Alpenglow - 3:58
9 – Black Hills - 7:59
10 – Balkan - 3:44
11 – Drifting Figures - 3:10


Here’s the band’s Wikipedia page.
And here’s their Myspace.
Oh, and why not, here’s their Last.fm page!

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