Dec 222009

Here at NCS, we’re putting a different spin on year-end listmania. Ours isn’t a list of the best metal full-lengths of the year. It’s not even necessarily our list of the best individual extreme metal songs of the year. Ours is a list of the most infectious extreme metal songs we’ve heard this year. We’re talking about songs that produce involuntary physical movement and worm their way into your brain to such an extent you can’t get ’em out (and wouldn’t want to).

We’re not ranking our list from #10 to #1 because that would be too much fucking work (and your co-Authors would still be arguing about it this time next year). So, our list is in no particular order. We’re also dribbling the songs out one at a time because your lazy Authors are still debating what belongs in the remaining slots. Our list heretofore:

1.  Asphyx:  Sorbutics

2.  Mastodon:  Crack the Skye

3.  Amorphis:  Silver Bride

4.  GoatwhoreApocalyptic Havoc

5.  August Burns Red:  Meridian

6.  Pelican:  Ephemeral

And to see our seventh entry on the list, continue reading after the jump.

It’s been a break-out year for progressive metal, with impressive releases by bands such as Pelican (who’ve already made our Most Infectious list), Animals As Leaders, Isis, Russian Circles, Red Sparrowes, If These Trees Could Talk, Lye by Mistake, Jesu, This Will Destroy You, Horseback, Porcupine Tree, and Rosetta (to name a handful of our favorites). But our seventh entry on this list comes from some relative newcomers: Scale the Summit.

I’d never heard of these guys until shortly before your NCS co-Authors caught them at El Corazon in April in support of Protest the Hero and Misery Signals. Curious to see what we were in for, I started listening to their January release, Carving Desert Canyons, and was blown away. And that was even before I learned they were from my old hometown of Houston.

Their live performance at El Corazon was truly astonishing — these dudes play technically intricate music, and yet they performed on stage as if their minds were wired together, with a single intelligence directing them. A completely integrated, flawlessly executed display. Not many bands performing live can even equal the sound of a well-engineered recording, but these guys did that and more. Most of the headbangers in the crowd were transfixed, completely lost in the music. Of everything we heard that night, Scale the Summit’s set was what we were talking about when the night ended.

What particularly blew our minds was how young these dudes were (take a second look at the photo that tops this post.) The recurrent question we asked each other was “how the fuck did these guys learn to play like that?” And how did they become such accomplished song-writers at that age?

That was in April, but all of your Authors have returned to Scale the Summit over and over again in the months that have followed. For a completely instrumental album, all the songs are distinctive, beautiful, and compulsively listenable.

There wasn’t much doubt that Scale the Summit would be on our Most Infectious list.  The tough part was picking just one song.  But we did, and it’s “Age of the Tide.”  Have a listen:

Age of the Tide

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