Scale the Summit discography

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This is the discography of Scale the Summit, an instrumental progressive metal band from Houston, Texas. Formed in 2004, Scale the Summit have released four studio albums, one single and one demo.

Scale the Summit was formed in 2004 by guitarist Chris Letchford and some classmates from the Los Angeles Musicians Institute. Their debut album, Monument, was self-funded and self-released, but the group signed to Prosthetic Records in time to release their second album, Carving Desert Canyons.

After the release of The Collective, the group's third record, the band finally headlined their own tour in 2012, having been a supporting act on all tours up to that point.[1] The following year, the band released The Migration.

Monument[edit]

Monument
Studio album by Scale the Summit
Released July 10, 2007[2]
Genre Progressive metal, progressive rock, instrumental rock
Length 38:16
Producer Scale the Summit
Scale the Summit chronology
Monument
(2007)
Carving Desert Canyons
(2009)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Antimusic.com 3/5 stars[3]
Brutalism.com (mixed)[4]
Metalreview.com (5/6)[5]

Monument, the band's debut album, was self-released on July 10, 2007 and funded by the band members themselves. Letchford described the songs as "a lot more up tempo and in my opinion less organized, due to the lack of writing experience", and the production process as being sub-par in comparison to the band's standards owing to being self-funded.[6]

Track listing
No. Title Length
1. "Shaping the Clouds"   4:55
2. "Wolves"   4:49
3. "Crossing the Ocean"   5:03
4. "Omni"   5:12
5. "Rode In on Horseback"   3:18
6. "Roof of the World"   5:02
7. "Penguins in Flight"   3:11
8. "Holding Thunder"   6:46
Personnel
  • Jordan Eberhardt – bass guitar
  • Chris Letchford – 8-string guitar
  • Pat Skeffington – drums, percussion
  • Travis Levrier – 7-string guitar

Carving Desert Canyons[edit]

Carving Desert Canyons
Studio album by Scale the Summit
Released February 17, 2009
Recorded Nuthouse Recording, Hoboken, NJ
Genre Progressive metal, progressive rock, instrumental rock
Length 39:50
Label Prosthetic
Scale the Summit chronology
Monument
(2007)
Carving Desert Canyons
(2009)
The Collective
(2011)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars[7]
About.com 3.5/5 stars[8]
Sputnikmusic 4/5 stars[9]
Exclaim! Favorable[10]
The PRP 3/5 stars[11]

Carving Desert Canyons was released on February 17, 2009, and was the band's first album to be released on a record label, Prosthetic Records. The cover art of this album is taken from The Wave, a sandstone rock formation in Arizona, USA.

By contrast to their first album, Letchford described Carving Desert Canyons as "a lot more organized" than their debut, in addition to being better produced as it was funded by an actual record label. The album's cover art was taken by a local Houston photographer, who sent them his portfolio of pictures to choose from; the eventual cover art was the first photograph Letchford saw in the portfolio.[6]

Critical reaction was mixed, but usually positive. Eduardo Rivadavia of Allmusic assigned a rating of 3.5 stars out of 5, and said that the group were inventive but that the album's lack of "the convenient handholds normally afforded by lyrics and vocals" would eventually bore listeners not accustomed to their style.[7] Also giving the album 3.5 stars out of 5, Ray Van Horn, Jr. wrote for About.com that the album's only drawback was "occasional repetition between songs", but praised the group's technical proficiency and their focus on creating an atmosphere for the listener.[8] Sputnikmusic gave the album an "excellent" 4.0 out of 5, and remarked that Carving Desert Canyons demonstrated a maturation and refinement of the band's musical style compared to the overly-technical Monument, their debut.[9] Exclaim! writer Chris Ayers compared the material to artists such as Rush, Yes and Cynic, saying that the album would "ensure the band a high position on this year's best-of lists."[10] The PRP rated the album 3 stars out of 5 and criticized the songs for belying the band members' true technical abilities, saying the songs sounded little better than customers playing at Guitar Center, and the production for being dynamically flat.[11]

Track listing
No. Title Length
1. "Bloom"   2:09
2. "Sargasso Sea"   5:14
3. "The Great Plains"   5:11
4. "Dunes"   4:27
5. "Age of the Tide"   5:35
6. "Glacial Planet"   4:52
7. "City in the Sky"   5:02
8. "Giants"   7:20
Personnel
  • Jordan Eberhardt – 6-string bass guitar
  • Chris Letchford – 8-string guitar
  • Pat Skeffington – drums, percussion
  • Travis Levrier – 7-string guitar

The Collective[edit]

The Collective
Studio album by Scale the Summit
Released March 1, 2011[12]
Recorded Audio Hammer Studios, Orlando, FL[13]
Genre Progressive metal, progressive rock, instrumental rock
Length 45:38
Label Prosthetic[12]
Producer Mark Lewis[13]
Scale the Summit chronology
Carving Desert Canyons
(2009)
The Collective
(2011)
The Migration
(2013)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[14]
About.com 4/5 stars[15]
Ultimate Guitar 8.7/10[16]
Sputnikmusic 4.0/5[17]
Blabbermouth.net 8/10[18]

The Collective, the band's third studio album, was released on March 1, 2011, by Prosthetic Records. The title for this album was chosen to reflect the philosophy that guided the writing of the material - of many parts coming together to form a greater whole. The album cover features a phyllotaxis spiral, a natural formation occurring in some plants, which Letchford described as a multitude of elements forming their own collective - and the inspiration for the album's title, as the band very often take inspiration from nature.[19]

This is the last release to feature original bassist Jordan Eberhardt, who left the band in early 2012 citing his reluctance to continue touring full-time; he was replaced by Mark Michell.[20] A vinyl edition containing the bonus track "Redwoods" and limited to 250 copies[21] was released in February 2012;[1] the song was also released as a single.

Phil Freeman wrote for Allmusic to compliment the group for opting to write songs with actual expression and not merely showing their technical talent off; he described The Collective as "a cohesive aesthetic experience, meant to be heard from beginning to end", and rated it 4 stars out of 5.[14] Chad Bowar wrote for About.com that although he did not usually enjoy instrumental albums, those of Scale the Summit were an exception, and the only flaw he found with The Collective (which he rated 4 stars out of 5) was that "a lot of the songs fade out, which I don't personally care for, but that's a minor quibble".[15] At Ultimate Guitar, the staff praised the album, describing the group as part of "the next generation of Vais and Satrianis", and noting that the group often use "mellower" material on the album instead of instrumental heavy metal at all times.[16] Sputnikmusic emeritus Eli Kleman rated The Collective an "excellent" 4.0 out of 5, and said that despite the lack of musical evolution between this album and the previous one, it was still their best yet.[17] Blabbermouth.net applauded The Collective as what reviewer Scott Alisoglu described as "an instrumental album every bit as musically engrossing and melodically enchanting as one with vocals", as he stated that Scale the Summit's "performances are [not] over the top in a technical sense" because the members of the group come together to "[create] a whole that is greater than the sum of those four parts". He closed his review by saying that although the band had not "reinvented the instrumental form", they have made an album thereof with greater coherency than is typical of the genre.[18]

Track listing
No. Title Length
1. "Colossal"   3:48
2. "Whales"   6:28
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
Personnel
  • Jordan Eberhardt – 6-string bass guitar
  • Chris Letchford – 7-string guitar
  • Pat Skeffington – drums, percussion
  • Travis Levrier – 7-string guitar
Sales chart positions
Chart Peak Source
Heatseekers 39 [22]

The Migration[edit]

The Migration
Studio album by Scale the Summit
Released June 11, 2013
Recorded Basement Studios in Winston-Salem, North Carolina,[23] late 2012 - early 2013
Genre Progressive metal, progressive rock, instrumental rock
Length 42:04
Label Prosthetic
Producer Jamie King
Scale the Summit chronology
The Collective
(2011)
The Migration
(2013)
Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 84/100[24]
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[25]
Sputnikmusic 4.2/5 [26]
Exclaim! 8/10[27]
About.com 4/5 stars[28]
Ultimate Guitar 7.7/10[29]

The Migration was released on June 11, 2013, by Prosthetic Records. The album artwork for The Migration was created by Duncan Storr. Letchford stated the band wanted artwork that fit the usual "organic/nature theme that we are costumed [sic] to using" with more of the color green, adding that he also admired the album covers of progressive rock band Yes. The album's sound was intended to be "organic and natural", and Letchford praised producer Jamie King for being in complete agreement with and understanding the group's goals. Guitars were recorded to a click track first, followed by drums and then bass guitar. The mixing process was accomplished via email; King would send the group one entire mix of the album and the group would send him feedback in response. This was done five times before the album was considered finished.[30]

This is the band's first album with Mark Michell on bass guitar. Michell wrote the ending of "Oracle" and all of "Evergreen", which is a bass solo (Letchford noted that the higher-pitched sounds mistaken for regular guitars are actually all notes performed on the bass guitar).[30] At the time it was written, the band considered "The Traveler" to be their most difficult song yet.[1]

Based on 6 reviews, Metacritic gave the album 84 out of 100. Reviewing for Allmusic, Gregory Heaney praised the album, writing that the band's instrumental metal style was "fantastic" as opposed to intimidating (for listeners who felt that the genre was too "academic").[25] Sputnikmusic reviewer Jacob Royal also enjoyed the record, and specifically cited the composition of the track "The Olive Tree" as evidence that the band "knows exactly what it's doing" on this album.[26] Scoring the record 8 points out of 10, Exclaim!'s Trystan MacDonald praised the group for being able to "balance technical shredding and melodic atmospheric pieces", and thus create well-written songs that also display their instrumental prowess.[27] About.com rated the album 4 stars out of 5, as writer Natalie Zed remarked that the band's music lacks pretension, is engaging and has narrative qualities despite lacking vocals, and remaining true to their musical identity without being unable to innovate. She noted that "Odyssey" and "The Traveler" respectfully encouraged the listener to go on a journey of their own and reflected pensively on having completed one and been changed by it, and were thus dynamically-opposite tracks.[28] At Ultimate Guitar, the staff felt that the band's best performances on the album were not their "fast-paced guitar-driven moments", citing "Atlas Novus" and "Olive Tree" as examples, but wrote that The Collective was a superior album and rated this one 7.7 out of 10.[29]

Bravewords reported that the album's opening sales were four times those of The Collective.[31]

Track listing
No. Title Length
1. "Odyssey"   5:12
2. "Atlas Novus"   5:07
3. "The Olive Tree"   5:07
4. "Narrow Salient"   3:34
5. "Oracle"   5:30
6. "Evergreen"   1:41
7. "The Dark Horse"   4:12
8. "Willow"   5:06
9. "Sabrosa"   0:31
10. "The Traveler"   6:04
Personnel
  • Chris Letchford – 7 string guitar
  • Travis Levrier – 7 string guitar
  • Pat Skeffington – drums, percussion
  • Mark Michell – 6 string bass
Sales chart positions
Chart Peak Source
Billboard 200 131 [32]
Heatseekers 3 [22]
Hard Rock Albums 11 [33]
Top Independent Albums 24 [34]
Top Rock Albums 41 [35]
Top Current Albums 113 [31]

Singles[edit]

Year Title Notes Source
2012 "Redwoods" B-side from The Collective [36]

Miscellaneous[edit]

In their early days the band recorded a demo that was self-released in a quantity of about 3,000 copies.[19] In 2012, live recordings of "The Levitated" and "Whales" were included in the Scion Label Showcase series, available as free downloads.[37]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Chris Letchford of Scale the Summit: The Heavy Blog Is Heavy Interview - Heavy Blog Is Heavy". December 23, 2011. Retrieved June 21, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Monument". Allmusic. Retrieved 28, July, 2009. 
  3. ^ Upton, Dan. "Review: Monument". Antimusic.com. Retrieved 28 July 2009. 
  4. ^ A Lambertson, Jesse. "Review: Monument". Retrieved 28 July 2009. 
  5. ^ Jordan, Jason. "Review: Monument". Metalreview.com. Retrieved 28 July 2009. 
  6. ^ a b Thaler, Dan (June 28, 2010). "Chris Letchford, Scale the Summit | Prog Sphere". Retrieved June 6, 2013. 
  7. ^ a b Rivadavia, Eduardo. Carving Desert Canyons at AllMusic. Retrieved February 5, 2014.
  8. ^ a b Van Horn, Ray Jr. "Scale The Summit - 'Carving Desert Canyons'". About.com. Retrieved February 4, 2014. 
  9. ^ a b Thomas, Adam. "Scale The Summit - Carving Desert Canyons". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved February 5, 2014. 
  10. ^ a b Ayers, Chris (April 2009). "Scale The Summit - Carving Desert Canyons". Exclaim!. Retrieved February 4, 2014. 
  11. ^ a b "Scale The Summit - Carving Desert Canyons". The PRP. April 13, 2009. Retrieved January 17, 2014. 
  12. ^ a b "JAN 21ST, 2010", Scale the Summit, January 21, 2011, accessed January 23, 2011.
  13. ^ a b "OCT 10TH, 2010", Scale the Summit, October 10, 2010, accessed January 23, 2011.
  14. ^ a b Freeman, Phil. The Collective at AllMusic. Retrieved February 5, 2014.
  15. ^ a b Bowar, Chad. "Scale The Summit - 'The Collective'". About.com. Retrieved February 4, 2014. 
  16. ^ a b "The Collective Review | Scale The Summit". Ultimate Guitar. Retrieved February 6, 2014. 
  17. ^ a b Kleman, Eli. "Scale The Summit - The Collective". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved February 5, 2014. 
  18. ^ a b Alisoglu, Scott. "CD Reviews - The Collective Scale The Summit". Blabbermouth.net. Retrieved February 6, 2014. 
  19. ^ a b Anderson, John (April 2, 2011). "Guitar lessons, Interviews, Reviews, & More | Guitar Messenger - Chris Letchford & Travis LeVrier Interview (Scale The Summit)". Retrieved June 15, 2013. 
  20. ^ "Scale the Summit announce new bassist | News: Kill Your Stereo". April 6, 2012. Retrieved April 6, 2012. 
  21. ^ Hart, Josh (January 31, 2012). "Scale The Summit Streaming New Track, "Redwoods" | Guitar World". Retrieved July 17, 2013. 
  22. ^ a b "Scale the Summit - Chart History (Heatseekers)". Billboard. Retrieved July 23, 2013. 
  23. ^ "SCALE THE SUMMIT Signature Guitar, Finish New Album | The Welding Room". January 23, 2013. Retrieved December 14, 2013. 
  24. ^ "The Migration Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved July 21, 2013. 
  25. ^ a b Heaney, Gregory. The Migration at AllMusic. Retrieved May 30, 2013.
  26. ^ a b Royal, Jacob (April 26, 2013). "Album Review - Scale The Summit: The Migration". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved April 30, 2013. 
  27. ^ a b MacDonald, Trystan (June 18, 2013). "Scale The Summit - The Migration". Exclaim!. Retrieved February 4, 2014. 
  28. ^ a b Zed, Natalie. "Scale the Summit - The Migration Review". About.com. Retrieved February 4, 2014. 
  29. ^ a b "The Migration Review | Scale The Summit". Ultimate Guitar. Retrieved February 6, 2014. 
  30. ^ a b Westland, Raymond (June 9, 2013). "Instrumental Migrations - An Interview With Scale The Summit | Ghost Cult Magazine". Retrieved July 23, 2013. 
  31. ^ a b "Bravewords.com > News > SCALE THE SUMMIT Crack The Billboard 200 With The Migration". June 19, 2013. Retrieved July 23, 2013. 
  32. ^ "Scale the Summit - Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved August 14, 2013. 
  33. ^ "Scale the Summit - Chart History (Hard Rock Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved August 14, 2013. 
  34. ^ "Scale the Summit - Chart History (Independent Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved August 14, 2013. 
  35. ^ "Scale the Summit - Chart History (Top Rock Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved August 14, 2013. 
  36. ^ "Scale The Summit Streaming New Digital Single "Redwoods" | Theprp.com - Metal, Hardcore And Rock News, Reviews And More". January 31, 2012. Retrieved January 30, 2013. 
  37. ^ "Scion Label Showcase m- Prosthetic Records". May 1, 2012. Retrieved December 14, 2013. 

External links[edit]