REVIEW: Scale the Summit – ‘Carving Desert Canyons’

Posted: February 14, 2009 by Greg Maki in Reviews
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Review by Greg Maki
I did not read the press release accompanying Carving Desert Canyons, the second album from Scale the Summit, before popping the disc into my car stereo. All I knew was that the band was a recent signing by Prosthetic Records. So it was about halfway through the second song that I realized I was hearing something of a rarity today—an instrumental metal band. Maybe the success of Guitar Hero has created more of a place for bands like this in the public consciousness because, let me tell you, a Scale the Summit song would be one of those hard ones you have to unlock and gamers then record themselves playing to post on YouTube.

The weaving, intersecting guitar lines of Chris Letchford and Travis Levrier are not as fast and furious as those of Dragonforce, but they are much more thoughtful and precise. It sounds as if they are locked in an unending duel similar to the games Dream Theater guitarist John Petrucci and keyboardist Jordan Rudess so often play. With the guitarists playing off each other, it falls even harder on bassist Pat Skeffington and drummer Jordan Eberhardt to hold the songs together. They do exactly that, even as they provide more than few moments to thrill practitioners and fans of those particular instruments.

The disc comprises eight songs, but discussing them individually seems to miss the point. Carving Desert Canyons plays like a single 40-minute piece of music, though if someone had a gun to my head, I’d choose “Dunes” for the iTunes party mix.

Scale the Summit is overflowing with talent. With exposure to the right audience—a slot on one of Dream Theater’s Progressive Nation tours would be perfect—it easily could carve out its niche and have a long, fruitful career.

(Prosthetic, 2009)

Rating: 7.5/10

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