Scale the Summit
Carving Desert Canyons


3.0
good

Review

by Jeremy Price USER (33 Reviews)
January 27th, 2010 | 32 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Carving Desert Canyons shows potential, but suffers from a severe repetition of sound and form.

If you’ll pardon my awful metaphor, I would consider the musical structure of Between the Buried and Me like a good cake; the metal and hardcore aspects of their music form the actual cake, whereas the melodic and atmospheric components function as the icing on the proverbial cake. Generally, these melodic components are among the most memorable sections of BTBAM’s music, due to how they stand out from the occasional monotony of the chugging guitars. Logically, it would make sense that if these are the standout elements of the band’s music, one could eliminate the metalcore altogether and come out with a better package. Let me ask you something: ever try eating icing for forty minutes straight? Thus we come to Carving Desert Canyons, essentially the sound of eating icing for forty minutes.

To be fair, Scale the Summit have a lot going for them. Make no mistake, these are some truly talented people, doubly impressive considering their relatively young age. Both guitarists, bassist and drummer all provide plenty of musical ability, and each get their own moment to shine. The problem comes down to their songwriting technique, which like icing, is great in small doses, and exhausting in long stretches.

Continuing with this terrible metaphor of eating icing, the initial minutes of the album feature the immediate highlights. Each of the first three tracks provides something interesting and new, introducing you well to the band’s sound excellently. “Bloom” conveys a sense of euphoria that is irresistible, and sums up the band’s direction in just over two minutes. “Sargossa Sea” displays the band’s more immediate metal influences, with the rare taste of power chords and even a little chugging. Of course, the highlight of the album is obviously the serene “The Great Plains”. The song is a rarity for the album, in that every single riff is compelling, and the song never loses momentum. The final tapping section is a simply sublime moment, perfectly summarizing the piece’s calm feeling.

Following “The Great Plains”, the album essentially falls off a cliff. Essentially, Scale the Summit just run out of tricks, and the album’s second half is plagued by an unhealthy amount of repetition. Part of the problem comes from the structure of the music: nearly every single riff is just a string of eighth notes with little rhythmic variety. Worse still, nearly every one of these is in 6/8 time, furthering the repetition of form. Go through and count the number of times the band use a riff that is essentially “DA-du-du-DA-du-du”, and you’ll see what I mean. The other problem is that the overall sound of the album remains constant to a fault. Even songs like “Sargossa Sea”, which try to inject other influences into the music, retains the same basic sound and mood the band bludgeons to death throughout the album. The beginning of “Glacial Planet” hints at variety, with an atmospheric post-rock tinged intro, before receding into the same exhausting series of arpeggiations. By the time “City in the Sky” and “Giants” roll around, you’re pretty much just sick of the whole formula.

It’s a real shame, because the album hints at real potential. As previously mentioned, the band is quite talented, and there’s plenty of promise in the rhythm section of the band. Unfortunately, the repetitive guitar patterns really detract from the band's sound, leading to an album that, despite a relatively short run time of forty minutes, simply can’t sustain for its entire duration. Next time boys, remember to put that delicious icing on top of something of real substance (might I recommend cupcakes?)



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user ratings (543)
Chart.
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
Comatorium. (4.5)
Billions of years ago, the land was barren, then, nature took it's course in the form of "Scale The ...

Adam Thomas STAFF (4)
An instrumental journey for the metal head....


Comments:Add a Comment 
Acre
January 27th 2010


847 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Been putting this review off for a while. That's one more thing off my plate for now.

bungy
January 27th 2010


8843 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Agreed. This is overrated.

Emim
January 27th 2010


26675 Comments


I need to hear this.

TRMshadow
January 27th 2010


4982 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Yes Emim, yes you do.

I don't see where your getting that it gets boring PTSS, as you can see by my rating, I find this a fairly filling album. I see 1 maybe 2 songs that don't stand out very well, but as a whole the album is great. Dunes is quite possibly my favorite song, even more so than The Great Plains.

HenchmanOfSanta
January 27th 2010


1926 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Did you just catch this band with BtBaM too and decide to do the review? I liked this a lot more than I thought I would. I think they have much more discretion than you would expect an instrumental prog band to have.

bloc
January 27th 2010


35024 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Awesome band

Waior
January 27th 2010


11461 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

i don't like this too much

it's good but feels super hollow

bloc
January 27th 2010


35024 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Like in terms of the literal sound, right? I think I know what you mean.

Athom
Staff Reviewer
January 27th 2010


17231 Comments


I think they have much more discretion than you would expect an instrumental prog band to have.

that's what makes them good, it's not all just masturbatory petrucci-esque bullshit

Acre
January 27th 2010


847 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I agree that the amount of discretion they show is admirable, I just think that it becomes monotonous over time. Just a couple of rhythmic shifts is all it would've taken.

Waior
January 27th 2010


11461 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Like in terms of the literal sound, right? I think I know what you mean.


That too, the production leaves a little to be desired but that's low on the list of (usually benign)
issues. I think the compositions themselves are technically sound without being, as redsky
mentioned, masturbatory - it's all very tasteful. But I think they could've toyed with the dynamic a
little more to space out their ideas a little more... more listens could prove me wrong though.

supertouchox2
January 27th 2010


1062 Comments


Its good, i think they could expand on their ideas a little more, or maybe some vocals would benefit unless they chose to stay the way they are.

currently as an instrumental band i dont think there is enough there as towards song writing although theres no doubt about the technical proficiency of all band members.


Waior
January 27th 2010


11461 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

whoops i reiterated the review in uncalculated microcosm SORRY.

I didn't read it at the point of writing, but after reading it I'm again impressed. Haven't let you know, I don't think, but sir PTSSdashiz, I enjoy your writing and taste in general. Also I love cake.

Acre
January 27th 2010


847 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I appreciate the feedback sir.

The whole irony of this review is I'm allergic to dairy, so I generally can't eat cake.

TRMshadow
January 27th 2010


4982 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

lactose intolerant lol

OH the irony

BrahTheSunGod
January 27th 2010


1279 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"The final tapping section is a simply sublime moment"
Amen to that. Really fun to play too even though it's pretty simple, it just feels cool.

These guys have moments of absolute brilliance that somewhat get drowned in the monotony. It honestly seems like a less
technical, worse-written, slightly sloppy version of Chimp Spanner or Bulb.
Review is good though, thank you for not overkilling the concept. Pos'd

Edit: Random side note: Nice to see a review that's completely free of grammatical errors :D

bloc
January 27th 2010


35024 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Brah, the tapping part's even cooler with a friend because you get to do that part where it sounds like 5/4 with 4/4.

Waior
January 27th 2010


11461 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

hey guys i can shred

or at least i can say i can on internet forums

Acre
January 27th 2010


847 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Whatever man. Bass is where it's at.

Because I like to take my hatred of conformity to the anonymous wastes of the internet.

bloc
January 27th 2010


35024 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

I saw your vid bro, you can't. I know.



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