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Scale The Summit - The Migration CD (album) cover


Scale The Summit


Progressive Metal

3.83 | 58 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
4 stars 'The Migration' - Scale the Summit (7/10)

It's a sentiment I've restated whenever speaking of this band: where technical metal generally intends to appeal to the intellect, Scale the Summit aims straight for the heart and emotional centre of their listeners. It's this approach that largely separates them from their less distinctive brethren, and over the course of a remarkably consistent career, they have continued to evoke the same rich feelings in me. Although their latest record, 'The Migration', does not expand upon the band's style beyond what has already been explored on past albums, Scale the Summit's trademark style remains fresh, engaging, and beautiful in a way most metal isn't.

Scale the Summit's sound and style are described perfectly in the band's name. Not only is there an atmosphere of optimism and triumph, the band's riffs often depend on climbing and descending patterns. Although they are rarely melodic in the conventional sense, Scale the Summit's music has an atmosphere that washes over the listener and absolves them of the intellectual challenge generally associated with tech-centric music. This is certainly not to say that the music isn't intelligent; rather, it is thoughtfully constructed in such a way that the numerous technical solos, riffs and fleeting moments of ambiance are all poised in a single direction, like a river. The jazzy, technical style of Cynic is a readily apparent influence in their sound, and there are even times when the band's penchant for multi- layered arrangements reminds me of Devin Townsend. Although there are occasional moments of quasi-djenty 'chugging', and displays of technical wizardry aplenty, Scale the Summit's tasteful restraint when it comes to their compositions gives their music a mellow impression in spite of the band's more conventionally 'metal' elements. This approach has been with Scale the Summit since the beginning, and 'The Migration' does not reinvent or add anything particularly striking to the formula. Most times, failing to develop one's sound with each album would leave the music feeling tired, but Scale the Summit seem to have found their proper calling early on and never looked back since.

'The Migration' lays its three proudest eggs all at the start- 'Odyssey', 'Atlas Novus' and 'The Olive Tree' are the most impressive cuts the album has to offer, and some of the most beautiful pieces Scale the Summit have constructed to date. 'Atlas Novus' in particular has an introduction that emphasizes their marriage of technicality and emotion perfectly. Precise and calculated finger-tapping has long been one of the band's signature tools, and to hear the technique used for such melodic beauty is a very rare listening experience. The rest of the album maintains a relative par with regards to technicality and thoughtful arrangements, but unfortunately by the fourth or fifth track, the pieces begin to blur together. It all seems in keeping with the band's stylistic decision to make music that washes over the listener, but it would have been great to have heard a few surprises along the way. Then again, this is an issue I've had with all of the Scale the Summit albums; their style is beautiful and awe- inspiring, but there's only ever a handful of tracks with an identity of their own.

Barring its stunning artwork (which might just be my favourite album artwork of the year so far) 'The Migration' suffers mostly from the fact that it follows too closely in the footsteps of its predecessors. In style and the emotions felt as a listener, it doesn't feel any different than the times when 'The Collective' or 'Carving Desert Canyons' were first fresh in my mind. The lack of track and album identity remains Scale the Summit's greatest obstacle in the path of creating a true masterpiece. Then again, there isn't a band in technical metal I can think of that's making music with the emotional depth and feeling of Scale the Summit. In that respect, 'The Migration' doesn't disappoint.

Conor Fynes | 4/5 |


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