By Trystan MacDonald
V, the simple, but elegant, name for Scale the Summit’s fifth release, provides listeners with a rich audio landscape further exploring the countless possibilities of tonal textures and sonic atmospheres, while continuing to maintain a strong focus on melody as well as technical dominance. Dominance is, actually, the perfect way to describe this recent embodiment of art. Following the critical acclaim that came with their last album, The Migration, the quartet continue to compose musical pieces that exhibit the highest degree of professionalism, while at the same time nurturing the natural rebellion found in heavy progressive music. Whether it is a slow drifting melody, or a guitar solo that contains an incomprehensible number of notes being played at a mind boggling speed, the band clearly has the insight and the talent capable of creating an inspiring piece of art.
At times one might ponder as to whether the band is simply showing off, or if such complex compositions and erratic progressions come naturally to them. Indeed, it’s the fine balancing between technical prowess and melodic instincts that prevent any aspect of this album from sounding daunting to the listener. There are cascading melodies for those looking for beauty, and merciless shredding for theory enthusiasts. Mentioning individual tracks would be pointless, as Scale the Summit albums should always be experienced in their entirety.
In many ways the migration never really ended, the musical concept of a ‘journey’ serves as the cornerstone to Scale the Summit’s sound. Once you take that perspective it’s easy to summarize a masterpiece such as V; an instrumental narrative that floats the listener through calm waters and savage rapids, and everything in between; a beautiful expedition that will only encompass 52 minutes of your time.