Review: Scale the Summit – The Collective



Progressive metal was originally an attempt to push metal forward, augmenting the genre’s straightforward aggression with refreshing elements borrowed from classical, jazz, or whatever the hell else. Too many progressive metal bands nowadays, though, have borrowed from nowhere but the same tired grandfathers of the subgenre (Dream Theater, Symphony X, et al). There’s no doubt that the astonishing technical ability on Scale the Summit’s third release, The Collective, make for some show-stopping moments, but as a whole, the instrumental Houston quartet’s latest is a prime example of prog metal gone boring.

In particular, Scale the Summit suffer more from their lack of vocals on this album than earlier material. In instrumental metal, details like guitar tone become that much more essential; seven- and eight-string guitarists Chris Letchford and Travis Levrier dial up a tone a little too reminiscent of Sonic the Hedgehog, making the music sound cheesy.

That said, there are definitely scattered moments that would make any prog dork cream. The rhythmic variations and flowing guitar phrases  in “The Levitated” sound somewhere between a more polished Isis and a less technical Protest the Hero. While the guitars might not be as virtuosic as prog contemporaries like Animals as Leaders or Between the Buried and Me, the rhythm section’s performance would bring shivers to any bassist or drummer. “Origin of Species” and “Alpenglow” feature some of the fanciest tapped bass lines and syncopated drum work in recent memory.

In the end, though, most of the songs on The Collective suffer from the same problems as “Black Hills,” a typical eight-minute trip to noodly nowhere—full of all-too-familiar prog flash and flourish with little meaning. CODY THOMAS

  • Bloodbath & Beyond

    well, it’s clear to me that you have no idea what your talking about. I can say with full honesty that this is a fantastic album. Also the grandfathers of metal/jazz fusion were actually Cynic and Atheist. Come on dude, do your research. This was like reading an article by guy reviewing the recent Enslaved album, having only early Carcass records as a reference point.

    • Jason Tibioa

      absolutely dude. this guy clearly doesn’t like instrumental music. this review and the one on lambgoat has been the only bad reviews I have seen so far and both, its really clear they don’t like instrumental music. this guy was definitely worse though. clearly not a very music knowledgable guy. i don’t see what the purpose of reviewing something is, if you are going into listening to the record already not liking it. It would be like sending this record to Eminem to review it, already know he isn’t going to like. This review was also poorly written.

  • critic’s critic

    i give this review 1 star out of 5