Even as a relatively youthful act, US instrumental metal act Scale the Summit has been met with some success. Now having opened for the legendary Dream Theater and supported some other big artists in the scene, the band now has three albums under their belts. Although their youth and inexperience shone clearly through in their live performance, the studio is where the band seems to feel best at home, and 2011’s album The Collective might be their most mature effort yet.
Especially when it comes to the instrumental variety of progressive metal, the style is usually wrought with egos, technical showboating, and a mission statement to boldly play faster and more complex than anyone else. In this sense, Scale the Summit almost instantly distinguishes themselves from the rest of this scene in the sense that they are almost always focused on melody, and beauty over ferocity. Although they haven’t changed up their sound too much since starting out with their debut Monument, Scale The Summit still seem to be progressing forward, this time even putting a few jazzier nuances in to trip things up.
The music is kept fairly light, without many ominous or incredibly dramatic moments to keep it going. Instead, it feels as if Scale the Summit has composed yet another album of technical, pleasant background music with this album. Granted, the musicianship of each member is incredibly sound, and there is some fairly technical material to delve into here. Scale the Summit may not be faulted for their presentation or even composition, but they do lack the emotional energy; although the music is tastefully done and never stagnating, The Collective rarely feels as if it has an emotional tension behind it; the music instead flows freely and doesn’t allow for the listener to gain a lasting emotional impression.
A great album for tasteful, pleasantly designed progressive metal, but Scale The Summit still seem to lack some power in their formula.