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Dialith – Alter

Dialith – Alter

Dialith - Alter

I first heard Dialith when they released their debut album, “Extinction Six“. Despite the low budget production, it made a strong impression on me, enough to have me keep track of them. After that, they started a trilogy of EPs of which the recently released, “Alter” is the second part, following up on 2019’s “Atrophy“. Dialith’s core sound has stayed quite constant over these releases, but I can’t exactly complain about that. It’s not like they put out 10 albums sounding the same (Stratovarius I’m looking at you). So they get away with it for now.

So how does “Alter” fit into the picture? For the most part, it may seem like everything is nice and dandy in a predictable way. Their brand of symphonic metal with Epica-influenced orchestration and songwriting is familiar enough for the average symphonic metal listener to be pleased. But I feel like what makes them more unique is the texture of the sound. Despite still lingering in a humble territory production-wise, there’s something about how they put it together that just works. The drums and riffs are energetic enough to get you pumped, but at the same time, there’s something light and refreshing about the vocals and orchestrations that just feels relaxing to me. Krista Sion‘s vocal delivery shows a nice range, with more full chest voice sections as well as atmospheric operatic sections, and her tone is just very smooth and pleasant.

The songs are both catchy and groovy. The first 2 tracks, ‘Writhing Red’ and ‘Ironbound’ almost have a jolly springtime vibe, which is fine by me since spring seems to keep getting delayed for me this year. The choruses are extremely easy to sing along to. The more interesting stuff usually happens in the bridge section. On ‘Writhing Red’ we get more emphasis on the orchestral lines and layering, and on ‘Ironbound’ a nice, fluffy guitar solo, without much emphasis on technicality, although previous releases have shown that Alasdair Wallace Mackie is quite a capable guitarist from a technical standpoint as well. The other thing I love about this band is that they always find little nuggets of creativity to surprise the listener. In ‘Ironbound’, a saxophone line comes in out of the blue, echoing the vocal lines, and in ‘Writhing Red’, a blast beat was thrown over the final chorus. If you were to ask me, a blast beat and a hook shouldn’t overlap, but they did it, and somehow it works great to amp the song up towards the end.

Dialith – Shadowdancer

But I think the third track, ‘Shadowdancer’, (with the intro ‘Hourglass’), is where this EP really hits the nail on the head. Instead of sprinkling surprises, they decided to make the entire song a surprise. They went for the oriental aesthetic, which makes this possibly the bounciest song they ever released, but at the same time, it feels slightly ominous and moody. It also contains an extended instrumental bridge section with high emphasis on drums, almost looking like a drum solo, but not breaking out of the song’s pace. If Cullen Mitchell ever had a moment to shine, it’s this one, especially given that the “drum solo” leads into a breakdown.

Any artist should find ways to evolve. If you keep the same sound over multiple releases, there’s only so long you can go before your music becomes a redundant rehash of your earlier work, and it’s nice to see that Dialith kept that in mind. ‘Shadowdancer’ is the first significant change in their sound since the debut was released, and as far as I’m concerned, it’s a winner – In fact, the whole EP is. So if you’re in the mood for some refreshing symphonic metal, go give “Alter” a try. Something tells me you won’t regret it.

Track List:

  1. Writhing Red (03:39)
  2. Ironbound (03:48)
  3. Hourglass (Shadowdancer pt. I) (01:24)
  4. Shadowdancer (04:39)

About the Author

Andrei Dan

Born and raised in Romania, currently living and studying in the Netherlands, Andrei was introduced to both classic and modern prog at once when he discovered Symphony X and Intervals in 2015. He has quickly grown fond of all the sub-categories of metal but keeps a focus on progressive or innovative music. Most of his free time is spent keeping track of new artists or releases and visiting concerts.

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