April 23, 2011

Music Review: Scale the Summit - The Collective

The CollectiveWho is Scale the Summit? I don't rightly know. I do know that a year or two back I was able to listen to a copy of their last album Carving Desert Canyons. Now here I am listening to their follow up, The Collective. Listening to this album makes me wish I paid more attention to the prior release. Simply put, The Collective is a beautiful and sublime piece of music that will quickly grow on you. There is just something absolutely exquisite as the album progresses from one movement to the next, flowing like water, allowing each piece to shine through in the final work. Take it individually or as a complete album, there is no wrong way to consume this creation.

Hailing from Houston, Texas, Scale the Summit is a purely instrumental band with three releases under their belts. The four-piece is fast cementing itself as one of the preeminent instrumental rock acts around. The music is rock and it is progressive, but it is also jazz and fusion. It is a combination of inspirations and styles that have swirled and formed into something unique.

Much like bands like Isis, Dream Theater, and Animals as Leaders, not to mention solo artists like Steve Vai, and Joe Satriani, the musicians of Scale the Summit are nothing short of virtuosos in their respective instruments. It is easy to see, well, hear this act as The Collective plays on. The phrasing, the solos the fills, the layers of instruments is simply astounding. This music is smooth, clean, and just a delight to the ear.

What also stands out, aside from their mastery of their instruments is their songwriting skill. It is easy for a skilled musician to stand out from a crowd, it is a different story all together for a group of musicians of his caliber and craft songs that successfully employ all of their strengths. The music here, at times, transcends the rock genre and takes on a little of the appearance of a symphony. There are layers here that all work to reinforce the others, be it a bass fill, a jazzy drum run, or melodic guitar lines.

The Collective is a quiet album. Sure, there are moments of genuine rock riffs and such, but more often than not it is a methodical journey filled with lush arrangements and smooth playing. It is an album that takes you on a journey. An ideal experience for this is a good set of headphones, a big comfortable chair and the lights turned out.

As fantastic an experience as this is, I would be remiss if I did not direct you towards a few of the "better" songs, which is hard to do as the 11 song, 46 minute album is right in that sweet spot, it just a great length to sit down and groove to. In any case, the songs to focus on are the opening track "Colossal," "Gallows," and "Black Hills."

Highly Recommended.

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