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Dialith “Alter” EP Review by Curtis J. Dupree

Dialith band

US based symphonic metal band Dialith made splashes back in 2019 with their debut full-length, Extinction Six. Fast-forward to 2024 and the band has unleashed a new EP upon us, entitled Alter. If you like symphonic metal in any way, shape, or form, you need to make Alter a priority listen. Just about every aspect of this release—from the cover art to the individual performances—is absolutely top notch. The songs on this release show a band firing on all cylinders and delivering quality music to the listeners. 

Alter features 4 tracks, with one being something of an intro to another. As such, the release is a quick listen. The performances show a band in full command of their music. One of the first aspects of Dialith’s sound that you’ll notice is Krista Sion’s powerful vocals. She has a soaring voice and she is in full command of it. Her vocal approach always fits the song, giving us memorable melodies and strong hooks. Alasdair Wallace Mackie provides the guitar work, delivering great riffs and compelling leads. Mackie also handles the orchestral arrangements, and these arrangements are quite appealing. The rhythm section is handled by Mark Grey on bass and Cullen Mitchell on drums. Both musicians play their parts superbly, with special notice going to Mitchell for some truly excellent drum work. 

The production is clear and modern without being sterile or lifeless. The drums have a nice crisp sound to them. Krista’s vocals are given their due prominence. Everything sounds great. 

The first song is “Writhing Red.” It’s hard to imagine any genre fans not being on board with this track. After an exotic opening, the driving rhythm and vocals kick in. The verses feature strong melodies with symphonic touches that prove compelling. Underlying these melodies is some strong riffing, as well. The use of keyboards on this track is well done. The chorus is simply lovely, with a great hook. We also get an appealing bridge with both symphonic elements and nice riffs. The drums on this tune are excellent and feature some appropriate double kick work. 

Up next is “Ironbound.” The song begins with the chorus, which is nothing short of fantastic, with a killer hook that draws you in instantly. Krista shows off her vocal prowess on this tune. The prechorus is another highlight. The verse melodies are strong. My lone critique regards the use of saxophone on the verses. I’m all for unusual instruments in metal, but I’m not convinced it completely works here on the verses. That being said, when the band utilizes the sax in the bridge it works very well. The leads here are nice, as well.

Track 3, entitled “Hourglass (Shadowdancer Pt. 1)” is exactly what the title suggests. That is, the song is something of an intro to the final track. This piece sports an exotic, Middle Eastern sound that’s very appealing. The percussion on this song is excellent. Krista sings her part well, and it’s a lovely melody. 

The final track is “Shadowdancer.” (Just typing the title brought the chorus to my mind). Here we get an exotic sound, as well as heavy riffs and drums. This song is simply irresistible. The chorus is powerful and backed up by wonderful instrumentation. There is a nice instrumental break. The drums on this song are a clear highlight, as Mitchell puts on a clinic with them. I want to note just how dynamic the songwriting is on this track. After the instrumental break the vocals come back powerfully, and then the song ends with a killer instrumental section. My only complaint is that I wish the chorus came back one more time before the end. 

Dialith has done nothing but whet my appetite for another full-length with Alter. Everything is not only in place here, but almost every aspect of the music excels. The hooks are strong, the songwriting is compelling and dynamic, the musicianship is superb, and the sound is excellent. Make sure you do not miss this EP. Alter is how symphonic metal should be played. 

Curtis’ rating: 9/10

Get the album here: https://dialith.bandcamp.com/album/alter

Dialith album

Tracklist:
Writhing Red 3:40
Ironbound 3:48
Hourglass (Shadowdancer Pt. 1) 1:24
Shadowdancer 4:40

DIALITH is:
Mark Grey – Bass, Irish Whistle
Cullen Mitchell – Drums
Krista Sion – Vocals
Alasdair Wallace Mackie – Guitar, Orchestrations

Credits:
All music composed by Alasdair Wallace Mackie, except: “Writhing Red” by Mark Grey and Krista Sion
All lyrics written by Krista Sion
Vocals recorded by Randy Pasquarella at Pasquarella Recordings in Wappingers Falls, NY
Drums recorded by Nick Bellmore at Dexter’s Lab Recording in Milford, CT
Mixed and mastered by Andy LaRocque at Sonic Train Studios in Varberg, Sweden
Saxophone by FoolishFrankie
Artwork by Marta Sokolowska
Graphic Design by Kate Johnson
Produced by Alasdair Wallace Mackie

Links:
Website: www.dialith.band

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