Originally written by Jason Jordan.
Houston’s Scale the Summit are a tasteful, instrumental four-piece that will surely appeal to fans of Canvas Solaris, Dysrhythmia, and other clean, vocal-free acts. While not as complex as albums by the previously listed acts, or as prog-oriented as records by the first, Monument is a good debut that showcases tight yet restrained musicianship. Unfortunately, these eight tracks could be classified as somewhat pedestrian when held to the standards of those by fellow instrumental bands. Monument is still a solid listen, though.
“Shaping the Clouds” opens the record with an energetic sound which is laced with lead-strewn passages that often hint at the talent below the surface. The accompanying bass lines complement the guitars and drums of course, and fill-wise, the drums are appropriate and seldom over-the-top. In perusing “Wolves,” “Crossing the Ocean,” and “Omni,” it’s evident that Scale the Summit could needlessly inflate their music, but instead, rely on songwriting know-how and quasi-utilitarian chops to make rousing compositions. Sure, Monument has its upbeat moments, in addition to a cornucopia of guitar leads, bass patterns, and drum acrobatics, though it never feels as if they’re flaunting their abilities. Parts of “Rode in on Horseback” even break into indie rock territory – mostly due to tone.
Despite offering well-written songs, Scale the Summit come up short emotionally, whereas many of their post-rock peers do not. Though it works in their favor on Monument, the fact that the musicianship isn’t quite marvel-worthy may fail to entice aficionados of technical, instrumental tunes. However, in the end, there are worse ways to spend your money than on these Texans who are currently unsigned and saving for a van. Sources tell me there’s one down by the river.