The 'instrumetal' corner of the music world has always seemed packed with potential, but along with the abundance of blazing fast chops and technical prowess, come a lot of bands that seem destined to only be heroes at their local Guitar Center outlet. Scale The Summit, for all their youthful vigor and surprisingly well seasoned playing, are unfortunately a band who often fall into the latter category as their songwriting rarely lives up to their own exquisite instrumental abilities.
Somewhere along the lines of Dream Theater, Canvas Solaris and Between The Buried And Me, Scale The Summit seem obsessed with large progressions punctuated by minor variances and fills. But rather than break it up with some primal shredding or any real form of emotion, the band seem to have instead recorded what is basically a mismatched collection of practice exercises and theory-driven wankery.
This can result in more than a little cheese being squeezed out of the speakers - enough so in fact that if you removed the excessive instrumental clutter, the backbones of these tracks could easily be repurposed by Stan Bush. The glossy production and mixing provided by "Revolver" magazine editor in chief Tom Beaujour is also highly crisp and precise to a fault, but it is not the main offender. The real problem here is the sterile mixing job that seems hellbent on suppressing the color and overall depth of each instrument, instead flattening them all together into a drab wall of sound.
That being said, prog-heads and those who are thrilled by the very mention of sweep picking, arpeggios and scales will be wearing out their fretboards playing along to this album. But with a long-winded approach to songwriting that rarely results in a dramatic payoff or even any unexpected twists or turns; the excessive noodling and technical displays here will likely leave the less instrumentally inclined desperate to desert these desert canyons as soon as possible.
(3 / 5)