Are you about to go on an adventure and you are just plum out of ideas of how to score it? Well, Scale The Summit have an album for you! It’s is called The Migration and it is guaranteed to provide the perfect soundtrack for your next mountain climb, deep sea battle, or hot coal marathon.
Even in the open minded world of metal it can be a chore to pitch someone an instrumental band. When the word “instrumental” is uttered it conjures images of a man in flowing blouse wanking on a triple-necked guitar as a fan blows his hair in that way that makes him look oh so majestic. Or worse, Yngwie Malmsteen.
Scale The Summit are able to take guitar-driven instrumental metal and keep it interesting, even after four albums. The Migration showcases a band that has grown musically without alienating long-time fans. The pace has been picked up from their last album, The Collective, and the songs are as triumphant as ever.
It is also great to hear that in the current state of rhythmically technical bands being all the rage, Scale The Summit does not go djent in the slightest. One could argue the opposite about the track “Narrow Salient,” but there is just something about the guitar’s tone that does not make me think of a Meshuggah clone. Plus, right after the techy intro, new bassist Mark Michell shines. Truth be told, the man does so throughout the entire album. This marks the first time that I was equally intrigued by the bass and guitar work in one of the band's record, which is not a slam on former bassist Jordan Eberhardt by any means. Michell is just better able to shine in these new tracks.
The obvious stars of this album are the same as any other Scale The Summit disc: the guitarists. Chris Letchford and Travis Levrier trade off phenomenal leads that would make any young guitar slinging scamp want to either step up their game immensely, or burn their guit-fiddle knowing they’ll never reach this level of greatness. I respect the work of Vai and Malmsteen greatly (my jab earlier truly was more of a roast), but Letchford and Levrier are able to make guitar wankery classy. Songs like “Evergreen” and “Odyssey” still feature a myriad of guitar tricks that take decades to perfect: sweeping, tapping, etc. However, they are done in a manner that gives the guitar a voice rather than showing off their technical abilities. There are a plethora of bands in the technical-for-the-sake-of-being-technical metal landscape that need to take note of this technique.
The same could be said for the drumming abilities of Pat Skeffington. That guy is no slouch himself, it’s simply trickier to praise the musical voice of a drummer in a guitar-driven instrumental group. He and Michell are an amazing rhythm section and the pair certainly steal the spotlights from Letchford and Levrier in “Atlas Novus.”
You know all those memorable parts in Between The Buried And Me songs you love so much? That’s what you get with The Migration. It’s as if Tommy Rogers stepped out of the room and the rest of the band became 16% more technical while focusing more on melody over death metal madness.
It’s such a relief to hear that after four albums, Scale The Summit hasn’t become stale. A lesser can absolutely could.