Scale The Summit – V (2015)

Scale The Summit - V (2015)

Everyone has at least one person in their network who is obsessed with “smart” music; your local government will provide you with a complimentary one if you have any doubts. You can tell music is “smart” by the fact it’s either instrumentally complex, aesthetically gimmicky, or even merely composed of band members who agree with some of your socialpolitical opinions. V is not the first to the best of my knowledge, but its ties to the djent and “progressive metal” scenes give Scale the Summit a built in audience full of such people. The relatively clean guitar tones and otherwise frequent moments of gentle strumming make me question the metal label, but I’m not yet the type to judge music solely by its genre. It does mean, however, that I’ve mentally shelved this on the progressive rock shelves along with acts like Camel and Yes, which admittedly are radically different in overall approach, but at least give this album some stern competition which it desperately needs.

V is actually a collection of jazz fusion instrumentals that presumably took some time to practice and learn even for the band’s technically skilled musicians. Much has been written on the idea of jazz-metal fusions, but Scale the Summit seems quite archetypal in that regard, relying on thorough-composed songwriting with distinct sections over improvisation, but favoring lighter, cleaner tones and sounds even at their most intense. One thing that divides me is how rigidly and academically the band approaches song structure – tracks here are full of obvious “We’re going to vary the song by modulating to another key or changing the drum pattern” type moments that probably look well-planned if you consult the corresponding tablature, but don’t work out in practice for being too jarring or too frequently followed by an obvious pause. This might be something to expect from such a rhythm-heavy style, but it still strikes me as a notable weakness, and one that makes some of these songs so self-conscious that it interferes with their overall memorability and impact.

Ultimately, I find Scale the Summit to be aesthetically pleasing, and I can derive some intellectual satisfaction from piecing together the theoretical level of their music, which is more than I can say for a lot of so-called progressive metal. I can’t guarantee that I won’t plunder V for some of these technical ideas. Employing this prowess towards more interesting and less obvious (less formulaic) songwriting is going to be quite a challenge, though. I can’t guarantee you that Scale the Summit will do the same, since they seem pretty content with their current technically proficient but otherwise ephemeral style.

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10 thoughts on “Scale The Summit – V (2015)”

  1. Generation Moron says:

    You said it yourself: “they seem pretty content with their current technically proficient but otherwise ephemeral style.”

    Junk media is growing at an alarming rate. Is this something that should be passed down to a future generation? Anything of “worth” to be found here is a convenient half-truth fashioned out of spite for real honesty to justify the pseudo-positive emotions that a human drone may occasionally feel. This is a mind killer. At this rate, we will drown in a junkyard filled with Opeth discs and seas of what approximates this album. Cruciamentum and the latest Skepticism will also join this rot.

  2. Narcot says:

    Hey Gabe, do you consider this album to be speed metal or crossover thrash ?

    Leeway – Born to Expire 1989

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=djNOOdBQyLo

    1. mlotek says:

      Leeway – crossover thrash

      1. Corrector of Posers says:

        @moltek

        You must be deaf then, it is speed metal with only one tune being thrash.This album fits well in the Anthrax Metallica riff criteria rather than COC or DRI.

  3. This metal is guaranteed to meet the Heavy Metal Safety Seal® requirements established by SafeMetal, the Parents Music Resource Center and Social Justice International.

  4. The Nameless Arcana says:

    The answer to EVERYTHING is within LIFE ITSELF.

    If you seek LIFE, everything else will eventually come in it’s own time. It’s own time because that’s how life works.

    Music like this is created by people who don’t LIVE.

    LIVE!

    1. Music like this is created by people who don’t LIVE.

      I tend to agree here. It is interesting how there are two extremes of this. One, the people who plot their stuff on paper and never seem to listen to it, and two, the tryhards who imitate the past in formulaic reflex without considering content.

      1. The Nameless Arcana says:

        I think it’s because people don’t look at life HOLISTICALLY, and they don’t know about the INTUITIVE and SYNCHRONISTIC aspects of creation and how powerful IMAGINATION is when tempered with a rational view of reality. Plus we are jaded as all hell.

        1. Plus we are jaded as all hell.

          Hence Tolkien’s use of the “eucatastrophe” as a metaphor.

  5. I blew my head off like Per Ohlin says:

    Shred wank fused with lite jazz.

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