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4.21 | 11 ratings | 3 reviews
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Album · 2011


1. Colossal (3:48)
2. Whales (6:24)
3. Emersion (2:33)
4. The Levitated (3:02)
5. Secret Earth (3:38)
6. Gallows (4:33)
7. Origin Of Species (2:45)
8. Alpenglow (3:58)
9. Black Hills (7:59)
10. Balkan (3:44)
11. Drifting Figures (3:10)

Total Time 45:38


- Chris Letchford / 7 & 8 string guitars
- Travis Levrier / 7 string guitar
- Mark Michell / 6 string bass
- Pat Skeffington / drums, percussion

About this release

Released by Prosthetic Records.

Thanks to andyman1125 for the addition and Lynx33 for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

After the release of Carving Desert Canyons in 2009, Texas-based instrumental act Scale the Summit gained quite a bit of buzz in the prog metal community. Prompting a spot on the ProgNation tour with Zappa Plays Zappa, Dream Theater, and Bigelf as well as a spot on Between the Buried and Me's ticket with Cynic and Devin Townsend, you could certainly say that Carving Desert Canyons was a hit among prog and metal fans worldwide. Although that album (in my opinion, at least) feels a tad underdeveloped and immature, The Collective shows the band at their creative peak. The improvement by this band in the last two years is truly tremendous. If you generally enjoyed Scale the Summit's previous efforts, but would've enjoyed a bit more variety and melody, this is the album for you! The Collective is one of the best instrumental albums that this year has yet to offer, and is also among the best instrumental metal albums ever released.

The music here is similar to that on the previous two Scale the Summit albums, but with much more jazz fusion tendencies and melodic overtones. The Collective sounds like an extremely well-played, professional, and mature statement. If you're looking for a testosterone-drenched shredfest, you may be let down by The Collective. Songs like "The Levitated", "Alpenglow", "Black Hills", and "Drifting Figures" are all beautiful pieces of melodic prog rock, whereas tracks like "Origin of Species", "Gallows", and "Emersion" are heavy and technical, while still remaining the maturity and compositional prowess of the softer tracks. There honestly isn't a weak song on The Collective - every track is a memorable piece of instrumental prog metal. Of course, the musicianship from Scale the Summit is top-notch. These guys know how to play some of the most challenging prog metal music out there, yet still are capable of conveying power and emotion through their respective instruments. The production is also crisp and professional.

The Collective is one hell of an album, and surely Scale the Summit's most defining statement so far. If you're going to look into this band, this should be your first purchase. Seldom do I come across an instrumental album this professional, enjoyable, and all-around spectacular! 4 - 4.5 stars are warranted for this terrific achievement. This is one of the finest instrumental metal albums ever released.
Scale the Summit, for the first two albums, made a bit of a name for themselves playing some mildly technical instrumental progressive metal. Even after gaining recognition through tours with Dream Theater and BTBAM, they spent a lot of time in the same basic territory. Monument and Carving Desert Canyons, while showcasing immense talent, also unfortunately showed off a band that couldn't really put a lot of variation into what they composed.

For those who weren't sure what they felt about the first two, The Collective may change all of that. It shows a complete different side to Scale the Summit, with atmosphere all over the place and the band incorporating an enormous amount of jazz into their sound. And for those who have read my reviews where I wonder why they don't put their wonderful tapping sections into more of their songs, yes, they put more tapping into their music. Some of the compositions almost reinvent what one what one can expect from a metal band, the tones are just magical, and some parts you can hardly describe without simply saying that they "Just sound so cool".

The Collective shows an immense overhaul of Scale the Summit's sound. Everything is beefed up considerably: The Technique is a bit stronger, the compositions have more variety, and just like the production boost from the first to the second album, the Collective gains another level of production. The result is the listener being immersed in waves of sound that create a wonderful atmosphere, often accompanied energetic musicianship amd a metal backbone.

The first thing fans listening since the first two will notice is the new variety of songs on the album. The band's Cynic influence is all-too apparent with the atmospheric "Whales" which just oozes the dark prog metal found in Paul Masdival's guitar style. "The Levitated" has some very tasteful and musically proficient tapping that brings out some of the most beautiful imagery. And "Secret Earth" may be the best track on the album, where the slow, emotional lead guitar is otherworldly and the rest of the instruments simply back it up perfectly with unusual chord choices and perfect groove.

While it's still clearly Scale the Summit playing, even the more energetic songs don't really match their earlier style at all. Even the "heaviest" song (not necessarily that heavy) on the album, "Gallows" starts off with a lead that may be found on either of their first two, but instead of remaining in the same groove for the rest of the piece, the band goes into completely different sections. "Origin of Species" opens with a rather heavy-ish and epic intro, and again the band creates variations upon it. However, Scale the Summit seems to revel mostly in the newer style they have gone into, and being awash in melody and magic is part of this album's strength.

In summation, The Collective shows Scale the Summit at their best, immersed in a completely new musical world of melody and emotion. There are really very few flaws to be found on the album, there are so many soundscapes that evoke so much beautiful imagery, that it stand's thus far as Scale the Summit's best Opus yet. It will be incredibly hard for them to top themselves after this, as it is by far a highlight in their career already, and a highlight of 2011. Absolutely recommended.
Where'd the adventure go?

Carving Desert Canyons, this band's sophomore album and a great favorite of mine from 2009, had me dying for more of this tasty band. The licks, soloing, and overall "adventurous" atmosphere of the music was purely infectious. This year, when they announced the release of "The Collective," I was ecstatic. To hear more was going to be purely sublime! The studio updates, little snipets of news from the bands, and anything else I could get just fed my desire for this new album. However, when they released "Whales" a few weeks before the release of the album, I was puzzled: where'd the adventure go? The band had turned to a bit more riff based, more "metal" album. However, with more and more listens, the track began to grow on me: the new style fused the bands already great uniue style with their influences of Cynic and Dream Theater into a jazzy and dynamic debut for the band. When the album came out, again I was not greatly impressed, but soon the album began to grow on me. Sections where at first cringed began to turn into boughs of joy, and the album took a turn for the better for me.

The album opens with an ambient soundscape the leads into the "colossal" track Colossal. Breaking off from the ambiance with a smashing riff and some sweeping riffing, the track starts the album off on a great foot. As we've known since the beginning these guys are no musical amateurs- they can rip out a kickin' solo any day of the week without a sweat- which is seen plenty of times on this song, and on this album.

Whales, as I mentioned in the intro, is certainly a grower. Opening with a more mellow lick, the song takes a slow entry. It takes a little while for the jazzy progressions to really get on their feet, but once they start to move, they certainly move. A very strong Cynic influence is heard throughout the song, giving a tasty dose of jazzy metal influence to spice things up a bit. Once the solo section kicks in, that's where the true power of Scale the Summit's composition can be heard. Complementing harmonies with spot on melodies with spot on rhythms with spot on low ends and high ends and everything in between, the band sure knows how to rip open a song and fill it with only the good song. Certainly a favorite of mine from this album.

Emersion drags the album down a bit. The opening is one of the most awkward musical pieces I've heard in a while, with the band trying to utilize chromatic jazz- and it doesn't work out very well. However, once the song starts to get started, it matures into a great and adventurous piece of music- even though it is only 2 minutes long.

The main purpose of Emersion in my opinion has to be as a great intro to the next track: The Leviated. One of the more jazzy tracks on the album, we hear more two hand tapping, just like the landmark track Great Plain on the last album. The song is very chill and laid back, building and receding, emerging and returning, throughout the whole thing. Overall, this is another one of my favorites for the album, displaying the bands more emotional and heartfelt side of composition.

Secret Earth is another very mellow and jazz-based track. Instituting a great dynamic between melodic noodling and heavier riffs behind it, the song starts off immediately on a great foot. The solos are heavily melody based and take you off on an adventure to secret earth. Another fantastic track, for sure.

Gallows is certainly the heaviest track on the album, kicking off with a rotary style drum solo and some fast riffing from the guitar department. An obvious departure from the bands usual style, the song serves a dual purpose of giving the album a nice dynamic and broadening the band's musical portfolio. The solo tapping section is a great solo also, utilizing some sublime harmony skills. Overall, although different from much of the band's usual show, the song shows the band that they can do pretty much whatever they want and get away with it.

Origin of the Species, although again being only 2 minutes, is another fast and fierce track. Fusing the adventure and riffing that have made this album more dynamic than usual, we can see a great trend here. Although it does not seem as original as some of the other track, it still proffers some great new sounds to their discography.

Alepnglow is another jazzy and melodic track. The song starts with a mellow lick, and breaks into a nice solo with a bit of a harder edge. Although the solos in this song can get a bit repetitive, they still can give a great case for musical dominance. Years spent at the Musicians Institute seem to have served these fine gentlemen well. Overall, this track is another great one, even if some transitions seem a bit sudden and soloing can be a bit repetitive.

Black Hills, the longest track in their discography as of yet (just about 8 minutes), understandably contains a lot of great material. The song has some fantastic dynamics, transitioning flawlessly from sweeping riff sections to mellow and ambient sections. The solos again are near flawless, showcasing this bands awesome musical prowess.

Balkan sees the winding down of the album. It opens slowly, and although the licking gets a little heavier, it still retains that mellow tempo at which the song with sustain through the first section of the track. Soon the track with transition into a sweeping force that quickly traverses through fields of sonic mastery, giving way to even more great output from the band.

Drifting Figures, the closing track, is a great closer. Maintaining a mellow tapping rhythm for most of the track, the song acts as a relaxing piece of music, great for letting the listener slip into a post-Collective trance to contemplate the beauty of the music they just experienced. Overall a great closer to a great album.

ALBUM OVERALL: The Collective is certainly a grower. If you are not impressed by your first listen (I wasn’t), listen again. And again. The album’s natural ability to wow will kick in sooner or later. Now I’m in a quandary on how this racks up against Carving Desert Canyons, seeing as the albums are so drastically different, but I think I will go for yes, this beats the great CDC, for its superb compositions and ambiances, it’s great atmosphere and musical virtuosity: yes, The Collective is a very near masterpiece, and certainly the best this band has to offer us yet! 4 stars.

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