STS Creates Another Musical Masterpiece In Its Fifth Full-Length Album

Courtesy:  Prosthetic Records

Courtesy: Prosthetic Records

Veteran prog-rock outfit Scale The Summit released its latest album last Friday. The album, simply (and aptly) titled V is the band’s fifth full-length studio effort since its formation roughly ten years ago in Houston, Texas and its fifth in the eight years since the release of its 2007 debut album Monument. That is impressive considering that it is nearly double what most bands manage to churn out in that amount of time. Most bands typically can get out three albums over ten years if they’re lucky considering touring schedules for each album. STS has proven over the course of its eleven years together to obviously be anything but one of those bands having released a new album every two years since the release of its 2007 debut. That’s not the only way in which the band has proven to be anything but standard. It has also shown that in regards to the overall content of each of its previous recordings. None of the band’s previous four albums have sounded like the other. And even within themselves, none of said records have stuck to just one style of rock, either. They encompass both the prog-rock realm and that of prog-metal. There are even some modern jazz influences in each of the band’s compositions as well as other influences. That is just as much the case in V as in the band’s previous records. That variety will keep listeners just as engaged throughout the course of this record as its previous offerings. And for those that might be less familiar with the band’s body of work it is just as effective as a first impression. Keeping all of this in mind, V shows in full to be yet another impressive effort from STS as well as yet another candidate for any critic’s list of the year’s best new rock record and one of the year’s best new hard/rock albums. Such success means it is also just as easy of a candidate for any critic’s list of the year’s best new albums overall.

Scale The Summit has proven time and again to be one of the best bands in the prog-rock and prog-metal community over the course of its now eleven years together. That is because it has made a concerted effort to be different from both others within the world of progressive music and music in whole. That effort has paid off yet again on the band’s fifth full-length studio recording. Simply (and aptly) titled V the album boasts ten more instrumental tracks that longtime fans will enjoy just as much as those that might be new to the band’s body of work. That is made clear right from the album’s opener ‘The Winged Bull.’ This four minute-plus opus is one more example of why STS has so often been compared to the likes of Dream Theater and other well-known names within the prog-rock and prog-metal community. The dual-guitar attack of Chris Letchford and Travis Levrier coupled with Mark Mitchell’s work on the bass creates a sense of controlled chaos–counterpoint if one will. As much is going on just between the trio it is obvious that quite a bit of thought went into each part. That is especially obvious as Mitchell complements both drummer J.C. Bryant and his fellow guitarists. Speaking of Bryant, his ability to keep time while handling the rather difficult polyrhythmic patterns throughout is just as impressive here. The end result of all four musicians’ talents together is a song that comes across as one part Dream Theater and one part Meshuggah. It is a song that was definitely the perfect choice to open this album and easily one of the album’s best moments. That says plenty considering just how much there is to say to the positive of all ten of this album’s impressive compositions.

‘The Winged Bull’ is a solid, impressive opener for STS’ latest full-length studio recording. That is because of the talent exhibited by each of the band’s members by themselves and as a collective unit. The effect of the band’s collective talents is a song that sounds like controlled chaos in the best possible manner and that conjures thoughts of Dream Theater and Meshuggah over the course of its nearly four and a half-minute run time. While it is in its own right an impressive part of the album’s whole, it is of course just one example of what makes the band’s latest offering such an impressive record. ‘Oort Cloud,’ which comes late in the album’s run, is yet another example of what makes V such an impressive effort from a band that is part of the future of prog-rock and prog-metal. That is because it is one of those pieces that puts on display the band’s modern jazz influences, as noted earlier. The song opens with a decidedly difficult riff from bassist Mark Mitchell. It’s not some speed metal riff or anything of that sort. Rather it’s the type of lick that conjures thoughts of legendary bassist Jaco Pastorius. Michell executes that opening with the utmost expertise and continues to hold his own as the song progresses through its roughly five and a half-minute run time, too. His are not the only talents worth noting in this song. Drummer J.C. Bryant joins Mitchell as the song’s other central musician. Bryant shows just as much talent here as at any point throughout the album as it requires far more control being that it is not nearly as intense as those songs.

Both ‘The Winged Bull’ and ‘Oort Cloud’ are in their own right impressive additions to the whole of V. That is because both songs show in their own way the diversity of the band members’ talents and influences. They show once more that despite its label as a prog-metal band, it is obviously so much more than that. They are just two ways in which the band exhibits that diversity and diversity of talent in this record. ‘Kestrel,’ which also comes later in the record’s run, is one more example of the reach of the band members’ talents and in turn the diversity of the record’s sound. It is a heavy song. There is no denying that. However, what is truly interesting here is that for all of its heaviness, it is still is not just one of those adrenaline-fueled, thousand mile-per-hour pieces that allowed the band to just ground and pound for lack of better worked. Rather it is a piece that obviously required a certain amount of attention because of its changing time signatures. It is a piece that built right from its opening bars until its abrupt but solid ending. It requires audiences to really listen to the song in whole to appreciate its depth. In appreciating that depth, listeners will agree that said depth makes clear why ‘Kestrel’ is one more of V’s highest points. Together with ‘The Winged Bull’ and ‘Oort Cloud’ all three songs present in full clarity why V is yet another impressive recording from STS and why it is a triple threat of an offering from one of the leaders of progressive music’s next generation.

Scale The Summit is one of the leading acts in progressive music’s next generation. That has already been made clear through the band’s first four records. Its latest full-length studio effort V strengthens that argument even more. That is because the ten tracks that make up the body of the record stand out from the compositions included in the band’s previous records and from each other within the course of this album. All three of the songs noted here are each prime examples of just how much the record’s songs stand out. That is not to discount any of the album’s other songs either. All ten tracks could be used as examples of the record’s solidity. That taken into consideration V shows itself to be a triple threat of a record. It is a record that deserves a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s best new rock records, best new hard rock/metal albums and in turn the year’s best new albums overall. It is available now in stores and online. It can be ordered direct via STS’ official website at and its official online store at More information on V is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and tour updates at:




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Monuments Releases Summer Tour Schedule

Courtesy:  Century Media Records

Courtesy: Century Media Records

The members of Monuments announced Thursday that band will hit the road this summer in support of its latest album.

Amanuensis, the first for the band on Century Media Records, will be released July 8th in North America. The band’s tour in support of its new album kicks off Tuesday, July 15th in Springfield, MA. Also along for the ride will be Scale The Summit, Glasscloud, Erra, and Reflections.

The band’s current tour schedule includes thirty-seven scheduled dates counting its opening date in Springfield, MA. The schedule also includes a performance at the Blind Tiger in Greensboro, North Carolina on Wednesday, August 13th. Tickets for that performance can be ordered online now at The band’s current list of tour dates is included below.

07/15 @ Empire – Springfield, VA – Tickets:
07/16 @ The Barbary – Philadelphia, PA – Tickets:
07/17 @ Webster Underground – Hartford, CT – Tickets:
07/18 @ Amityville Music Hall – Amityville, NY – Tickets:
07/19 @ Gramercy Theatre – New York, NY – Tickets:
07/20 @ The Palladium – Worcester, MA – Tickets:
07/21 @ Bogies – Albany, NY – Tickets:
07/22 @ La Sala Rossa – Montreal, QC – Tickets:
07/23 @ Hard Luck – Toronto, ON – Tickets:
07/24 @ The Stache – Grand Rapids, MI – Tickets:
07/25 @ Reggie’s – Chicago, IL – Tickets:
07/26 @ The Garage – Burnsville, MN – Tickets:
07/27 @ West End Cultural Centre – Winnipeg, MB – Tickets:
07/28 @ The Exchange – Regina, SK – Tickets:
07/29 @ The Den, Calgary, AB – Tickets:
07/30 @ Kelowna, BC – Rutland Centennial Hall – Tickets:
07/31 @ The Rio Theatre, Vancouver, BC – Tickets:
08/01 @ Chop Suey – Seattle, WA – Tickets:
08/02 @ Hawthorne Theatre – Portland, OR – Tickets:
08/03 @ Oakland Metro – Oakland, CA – Tickets:
08/04 @ The Lyric – Los Angeles, CA – Tickets:
08/05 @ Southern Nevada Sports Centre – Las Vegas, NV –


08/06 @ The Underground – Mesa, AZ – Tickets:
08/07 @ Launchpad – Albuquerque, NM – Tickets:
08/08 @ Bluebird Theater – Denver, CO – Tickets:
08/09 @ Jackpot – Lawrence, KS – Tickets:
08/10 @ Fubar – St. Louis, MO – Tickets:
08/11 @ Park Street Saloon – Columbus, OH – Tickets:
08/12 @ The Concourse – Knoxville, TN – Tickets:
08/13 @ Blind Tiger – Greensboro, NC – Tickets:
08/14 @ 1904 Music Hall – Jacksonville, FL – Tickets:
08/15 @ Propaganda – Lake Worth, FL – Tickets: TBA
08/16 @ Backbooth – Orlando, FL – Tickets:
08/17 @ Vinyl At Center Stage – Atlanta, GA – Tickets:
08/19 @ Tomcats – Fort Worth, TX – Tickets:
08/20 @ Red 7 – Austin, TX – Tickets:
08/21 @ Fitzgerald’s – Houston, TX – Tickets:

Audiences can pre-order Amanuensis now online at And the video for the band’s latest single ‘The Alchemist’ is available for viewing online now via YouTube at More information on Monuments, its upcoming album, tour and more is available online at and To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at

Sound Of Contact Announces New Tour Dates

Courtesy:  InsideOut Music

Courtesy: InsideOut Music

Sound of Contact is coming to the United States this Spring and Summer.

The band has confirmed that it will take part in the Moody Blues Cruise and the Cruise to the Edge this Spring before embarking on a handful of dates late next month.  The Moody Blues Cruise sets sail Wednesday, April 8th from Miami, Florida.  It will take guests through the Bahamas and to Grand Turk Island, Turks & Caicos before returning to Miami on Monday, April 7th.  Sound of Contact will join The Moody Blues, Starship, Little River Band, and special guest Roger Daltry of The Who among a number of other artists and bands.  More information on the Moody Blues Cruise is available online at and

Band founder Simon Collins and his band mates will have a quick turnaround once they return to port from the Moody Blues Cruise.  That is because they head right back out to sea Wednesday, April 8th for the Cruise to the Edge.  That cruise will take guests Cozumel by way of Miami and Honduras.  It will leave port Wednesday, April 8th and return to Miami Saturday, April 12th.  Sound of Contact will join YES, Marillion, Queensryche, Scale the Summit, and a number of other acts that are scheduled to perform during the cruise.  More information on the Cruise to the Edge is available online at,, and

Once Sound of Contact returns from its marathon cruise run, the band will take some much needed down time before kicking off its North American tour April 26th.  The band will kick off its North American tour at SIR Studios in Los Angeles, California.  The band’s complete cruise and tour schedule is listed below.

Wednesday – April 2, 2014 Moody Blues Cruise
Thursday – April 3, 2014 Moody Blues Cruise
Friday – April 4, 2014 Moody Blues Cruise
Saturday April 5, 2014 Moody Blues Cruise
Sunday – April 6, 2014 Moody Blues Cruise
Monday – April 7, 2014 Moody Blues Cruise / Cruise To The Edge
Tuesday – April 8, 2014 Cruise To The Edge
Wednesday – April 9, 2014 Cruise To The Edge
Thursday – April 10, 2014 Cruise To The Edge
Friday – April 11, 2014 Cruise To The Edge
Saturday – April 12, 2014 Cruise To The Edge

Saturday – April 26, 2014 Los Angeles, CA, America – SIR Studios
Wednesday – April 30, 2014 Quebec City, QC, Canada – Le Cabaret du Capitole
Thursday – May 1, 2014 Toronto, ON, Canada – Rock Pile East
Friday – May 2, 2014 Chicago, IL, America – Reggies Rock Club
Saturday – May 3, 2014 Gettysburg, PA, America – RoSFest

Ticket information for the band’s upcoming performances will be announced soon.  More information on tickets and Sound of Contact is available online at  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at

Scale The Summit Announces New U.S. Tour Dates

Courtesy:  Prosthetic Records

Courtesy: Prosthetic Records

Scale The Summit is currently making its way across Europe in support of its most recent release, The Migration.  As it makes its way across the continent, the band’s members have announced a small handful of headlining dates for 2014.  The first of the dates is set for Wednesday, February 26th in San Antonio, Texas.  From there, the tour will snake its way through the West Coast and Midwest.  The band’s most current tour schedule is listed below.


2/16 San Antonio, TX – Limelight

2/18 Tucson, AZ – The Rock

2/26 Fullerton, CA – Slidebar #

2/28 Reno, NV – Jub Jubs #

3/1 Salt Lake City, UT Shred Shed #

3/2 Boise, ID – The Shredder #

3/3 Richland, WA – Rays Golden Lion #

3/4 Spokane, WA – The Hop #

# with Hail The Sun

When and if new tour dates are announced, fans will be able to find them online through the band’s official Facebook page and website at and  Fans can also follow the band via Twitter at  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at

Scale The Summit Impresses Once Again On Its New LP

Courtesy:  Prosthetic Records

Courtesy: Prosthetic Records

Metal Blade Records was a powerhouse of a record label in 2012.  It led this critic’s lists of the year’s best rock records, best Hard Rock/Metal albums, and Best Albums overall with releases from Horisont, O.S.I., Gypsyhawk, and Trioscapes, just to name a handful.  But with 2013 now halfway over, this critic’s list of the year’s best Hard Rock and Metal albums at least is being controlled by a different label.  This year, Prosthetic Records leads the way in the world of Hard Rock and Metal.  Holy Grail, which is being touted as the second coming of Judas Priest tops the list of the year’s best metal records with its sophomore album, Ride the Void.  And now with the upcoming release of its brand new album, The Migration, Scale the Summit becomes the second band signed to Prosthetic Records to make this critic’s list of the year’s best Hard Rock and Metal albums.

The Migration is an impressive introduction to this Houston, Texas based band for first-time listeners.  It’s just as welcome a return for long-time fans.  The band wastes no time getting right into the swing of things with this album.  Its opener, ‘Odyssey’ is a fittingly titled piece.  In its roughly five-minute plus run-time, the band—Chris Letchford (7 & 8-String guitars), Travis Levrier (7-String Guitars), Mark Michell (6-string bass), and Pat Skeffington (drums, percussion)—takes listeners on a three movement opus that boasts three completely different musical emotions.  Most interesting about this is that those listeners that are open minded enough will be able to close their eyes and truly take in all three movements and understand the emotion being presented in each one.  It is a song that more than makes for a solid re-introduction for the band after having spent the past couple years touring in support of its previous release, 2011’s The Collective.

‘Odyssey’ as a whole is an impressive opener to the Migration.  Looking deeper into the song, the transition from the song’s slower, more subdued third movement into ‘Atlas Novus’ is another factor to note in the success of the upcoming album.  The transition itself is notable as it’s not the only time on this album that this happens.  It is just one of so many transitions that make The Migration one of those rare albums this year, which audiences will enjoy taking in from start to finish without skipping songs.  That’s not to say that The Migration is some instrumental concept album.  It’s anything but.  It’s just that the sequencing (along with the equally impressive production and mixing) has made this album so easy on the ears.

Getting back to the songs as a whole, ‘Atlas Novus’ is more subdued than ‘Odyssey’ by and large.  But it also has its own kick.  Fans of fellow experimental rock band Animals as Leaders will appreciate this piece with its controlled guitar and bass runs throughout its run time that also comes in at just over five minutes.  In an odd way, it proves the old adage that less truly is more.  That’s because as impressive as the song’s runs are, Letchford and company prove in the song, that some of the best riffs are ones that are not loud, shredding riffs, but softer, more controlled pieces.  Drummer Pat Skeffington gets his own opportunity to shine here, too.  Skeffington shows that he’s just as good as Mike Portnoy (Adrenaline Mob, ex-Dream Theater) or any other far more experienced drummer here and throughout the album.  He shows that he can handle some extremely tough polyrhythmic patterns without missing a beat and even some simpler rhythms, too.    

So much was done right with this album that one could ramble on for some time on everything right with this record.  As already noted, it’s not just the songs, but the album’s sequencing and its general production that makes it one more record that the band’s long-time fans will enjoy just as much as new listeners.  The variety of musical styles from harder edged prog-metal to a slightly progressive jazz sound to something a little softer make this album worth more than just one listen, too.  It will prove with each listen to be an album that grows on listeners more each time.  Considering all of this, it may end up even on this critic’s list of the year’s best albums overall.  The Migration will be available in stores and online Tuesday, June 11th.  It can be ordered online via the Prosthetic Records store at

The band is currently on tour in support of its new album.  Fans in North Carolina will get to see the band live in Charlotte on Saturday, June 22nd at the Tremont Music Hall.  It will be joined by Intronaut and Mouth of the Architect.  The show is slated to start at 9:00pm.  Tickets range from $13 – $15.  They can be purchased online at

For the most current list of tour dates, all the latest news and more from the band, fans can “Like” the band on Facebook at  Fans can also keep up with the band online at

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Trioscapes To Tour With Scale The Summit

Trioscapes, the brainchild of Dan Briggs (Between The Buried and Me) has made huge waves since releasing its debut album, “Separate Realities.”  The album went as high as #2 on the iTunes Jazz Chart, and #80 on Billboard’s New Artist Chart.  It has also reached as high as #9 on Billboard’s Traditional Jazz Chart, #12 on the Billboard Current jazz Chart, and #197 on the Billboard Top Independent Albums Chart.

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Now the band will head out on the road in September for a week-long tour with the metal instrumental act Scale The Summit.  The seven-day tour starts in Dayton, Ohio on September 15th.  It will wrap up September 21st in Greensboro, NC.  Along with the Trioscapes tour, Briggs is also touring with Metal Blade label mates Between The Buried and Me.  Trioscapes’ fans can get the latest news and more from the band online at  A video for the song ‘Blast Off’ is now available online at

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go to and “Like” it or its companion page,  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at