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Scale the Summit: The Migration

The Migration is the fourth full-length release by Texas instrumental progressive metal group Scale the Summit. Two guitars (Chris Letchford, Travis LeVrier), bass (newest addition Mark Mitchell) and Drums (Pat Skeffington) comprise this fantastic band.

These musicians are so good; this is a band that made me say "why did I wait so long to listen to them?" There is no overt noodling, no pretentious complexity, and no embarrassing flamboyance. Chris Letchford's guitar technique is of the newest generation of guitar greats. He incorporates the Satrianis and Vais and the Petruccis before him and combines it all into a very fluid style that is truly remarkable. He's got plenty of licks but also an ear for guitar tones plus his exhibition of two-hand tapping is so fun to hear and see. This CD flows so well! It seems that much effort was put into the sequencing of the tracks in order to create a full-length listening experience.

The opening track "Odyssey" has a prime example of specific guitar tone really making an impression. At 0:33 the "lead" guitar is sent into the background and the rhythmic second guitar is pumped into the forefront with a special cold-sounding delay. I'm not "guitar-tone-nerdy" but I can hear it when I hear it. Is this the work of Letchford alone or does producer Jamie King (Between the Buried and Me, Last Chance to Reason) have any influence? Needless to say, the production is clean and clear, all instruments are in the right place, nothing steals the spotlight; it sounds brilliant on headphones, too.

"The Olive Tree" seems to flow into "The Narrow Salient;" If you are not watching the track listing they seem to be part of the same song. And the next track "Oracle" starts inconspicuously that it, too, sounds like another segment of the previous track. Maybe I listen to too many multiple-part progressive rock epics?

Mark Mitchell plays an interesting composition on the bass entitled "Evergreen." There are harmonics and upper-register melodies that are simultaneously chilling and relaxing. "Willow" has an Opeth-esque chord progression sounding like something from Damnation. There is a dreamy, down-the-concrete-hall reverb that shows up in the guitar tone that is just fantastic. This tone does something to the mind's eye, adding to the audio-visual quality, creating a vivid depth to the music.

Without taking too much more space, considerable kudos go to Pat Skeffington who plays an amazing drum kit; he's like a master chef – he can do it all but only does what's needed and tastefully so, no mindless blast-beats or over-playing.

Cliché as it is, but if you have made it to this portion of the review, then you really ought to purchase The Migration. It's a no-brainer. I first heard of Scale the Summit back in 2009 when they were part of the Progressive Nation tour. I was unable to make it to their set as I was still travelling when they were on stage and it took me a few more years to actually hear the band. I wish I hadn't waited so long.

Track Listing
1. Odyssey
2. Atlas Novus
3. The Olive Tree
4. Narrow Salient
5. Oracle
6. Evergreen
7. The Dark Horse
8. Willow
9. Sabrosa
10. The Traveler

Added: July 15th 2013
Reviewer: Ryan Good
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 1962
Language: english

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