The opener “Colossal” is a pretty straightforward song, with melodic riffs and a moderate tempo. “Whales “ is one of the longest songs on the album, and is much more progressive with a lot of shifts in tempo and intensity. The Collective, as with previous Scale The Summit releases, has very well-written songs. With 100 percent of the focus on the music, every nuance and flourish takes on added importance.
“The Levitated” shows the band's jazzy side, a catchy track that's upbeat, but has a relaxed vibe. The intensity cranks back up with “Gallows,” featuring more excellent guitar work from Chris Letchford and Travis Levrier. From thick riffs to delicate fills to compelling solos, they display a wide range of styles throughout the album.
The second half of the album doesn't lose any momentum. “Alpenglow” is a strong song, one of the catchiest on the album. The 8 minute “Black Hills” is another highlight, running the gamut from fast and intense to slow and brooding.
I tend to get bored with instrumental albums. I can appreciate the musicianship and skill, but an hour of it it generally too much. However, Scale The Summit has always managed to hold my attention, and The Collective is no exception. My only complaint is a lot of the songs fade out, which I don't personally care for, but that's a minor quibble. It's an interesting album that prog fans will certainly enjoy, and is something non-metal fans could also get into.
(released March 1, 2011 on Prosthetic Records)