Thursday, June 1, 2017

Scale The Summit - In A World of Fear (2017)

Imagine yourself being outside, around a bunch of mountains in the middle of nowhere, being one with nature and all of the animals that live there. You take a deep breath, smelling the fresh air that breezes with its cold touch, coming from a nearby lake. Are you done visualizing? Congratulations, now you know how it feels to listen to an album that is made by the instrumental trio known as Scale The Summit, you can now celebrate with a quiet stroll in the woods, without looking for Pidgeys and Weedles on your Iphone/Android/Nokia 3310. Go ahead, I'll still be here when you come back.

Now that you have gotten your daily dose of reality, let us get back to the topic of this post, the examination of Scale The Summit's 6th full length release "In A World of Fear". The title might speak truer to founder and guitarist Chris Letchford more than one would believe, because he now stands as a lone founder, with two brand new members by his side, and releasing this record without the help of a record label. Just another example on that the music industry is a tough one.

Fortunately for Chris, he is not alone in this new journey. Besides his two new recruits, we have a bunch of guest artists throughout the record, including Scott Carstairs (Fallujah), Jeff Loomis (Arch Enemy, Conquering Dystopia), and Per Nilsson (Scar Symmetry). Knowing these guys and their main bands, you would think that Scale The Summit would turn up the heavy on their music in this album, but nope, they do not. Besides from solos and interludes here and there, I simply cannot tell that a particular song has had any influence by a guest artist, which just makes it all a missed opportunity. We do get some great Per Nilsson magic in "Goddess Gate", but only for two short moments, then it is back to the typical Scale The Summit calmness, and it makes you think why Per was even used in the first place.

Now, I am not saying that I want the band to play heavier, that is simply not a part of its personality, but I would love to see some new inputs here and there, something that shakes things up a bit. It definitely feels like the band is comfortable in their style, because even if they technically are doing different stuff in here, it all is on a similar level, making it feel way more boring than it should. They are almost being lazy in their comfy couch, relying all too much on those earthly tones. It sounds good and all, but it is too shallow, not enough depth to make it stick with you.

It is when you compare this album to previous efforts where the flaws are becoming even more obvious. Previous albums such as "The Migration" and "Carving Desert Canyons" are way more dynamic, bringing a whole different level of excitement to the table, while "In A World of Fear" is just a big blob of forgettable tunes. It tries to bring some diversity here and there, but it just is not enough for it to go around, making it really hard to separate the songs from each other. I guess "Astral Kids", Witch House", "Cosmic Crown", and "Opal Bones" are some songs that do stand out, even if they are not strong enough to stand on their own.

Although, I still enjoy listening to this album in a very casual way. Just like any other Scale The Summit album, "In A World of Fear" is probably at its best when you are laying in a hammock and taking in that summer sunshine, maybe even get in a nap or two. This is a chill prog record that may not stay with you for the future, but it is with you in the moment, and it takes quite good care. However, it does not move me emotionally, and it does not really bring anything new to the table, despite all of the guest artists and new members. It is a disappointment for sure, so let's hope the band comes back with a much stronger record when the chaotic dust has settled down.

Songs worthy of recognition: Witch House, Astral Kids, Cosmic Crown

Rating: 6/10 Opal Bones

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