THE SUMMIT – Higher Ground (2015)
Another of the releases this month from the new promising German label Pride & Joy Music (recently founded by the former owner of Rock It! magazine and co-owner of the excellent Yesterrock reissue label) is the debut album of THE SUMMIT, entitled “Higher Ground“.
Formed in Sweden three years ago by old friends who are all experienced musicians from bands such as Easy Action, 220 Volt and Marmalade Souls, The Summit took definitive shape when Björn “B” Höglund (ex drummer of AORsters Easy Action, Blindside) made the call to Mats Karlsson (220 Volt) and explained what he had in mind.
For Höglund, a dream-team for the new band consisted of Mats, singer and childhood friend Michael Klemmé (Marmalade Souls) and bass player Lars Ericsson (both with who Björn had played with since eighth grade).
Tired of being tied up in several album projects with years in the making, Björn wanted to write and record quickly, just like many of his favourite albums were made in the ’70s, and the music had to fit the same idea.
Within hours everyone was on board, and as heard on “Higher Ground”, all the guys glued immediately.
Indeed, seems all members in “Higher Ground” (very good players and established songwriters) have the same background, musical taste and origin. And we’re talking about Classic (Hard) Rock here, inspired by many Seventies & Eighties acts without ripping off any of them.
220 Volt’s guitarist Mats Karlsson is a talented axeman and his stamp is all over this record. He plays like a demon and musically this really represents his entire life in music (except for the pure Metal of 220 Volt’s ‘Mind Over Muscle’ period).
The early influences of Deep Purple and Rainbow (that the entire band shares) is evident in “W.O.W” (short for “Walking On Water”) and the epic “The Calling”, but the canvas is huge.
Yes, The Summit is much more melodic than Purple, and we can hear influences from the American scene as well, as on the ultra-melodious “Circle The Sun”.
Then, “Only Human” recalls the very first Journey, while the rocker “Water To Wine” even has a Reo Speedwagon feel.
Most songs are solid and interesting, but there’s one that sends me to heaven: “Not My Country”, an elaborated melodic rocker with some dreamy vocals, wonderful keys in the background and rattle guitars. This one easily could be a massive hit in Classic Rock circles.
Through its 10 tracks (as it used to be in the good ‘ol days) “Higher Ground” takes you back to the days of real music, played and performed by real musicians and real artists.
Drummer Björn Höglund and bass player Lars Ericsson are a superb team providing a dynamic rhythm section for Mats Karlsson to spread his melodic riffs and valvular solos. Young singer Michael Klemmé is doing his first high profile work in the Classic Rock field here (that I know of) and it is about time that he is heard widely.
The Summit’s debut “Higher Ground” is a ‘proud & tall’ Classic Hard Rock album with a lot of magic. It’s very recommended by this blog.
01 – Turn It Off
02 – W.O.W.
03 – One Way Highway
04 – Circle The Sun
05 – The Calling
06 – Only Human
07 – Water To Wine
08 – Not My Country
09 – The Higher Ground
10 – All Die Young
Michael Klemmé – vocals, guitar
Mats Karlsson (220 Volt) – guitars, vocals, keyboards
Björn Höglund (Easy Action, Blindside) – drums
Lars Ericsson – bass
BUY IT !