Dialith – Alter (Self-Released)

Monday, 1st April 2024
Rating: 9 / 10

Actively watching the ascent of this CT symphonic power metal band since the start (this scribe witnessing the band’s first live performance even), it’s always a treat to hear what Dialith put forth in terms of their latest set of songs. Coming off the fine Atrophy EP in 2021 that focused a bit more on the heavier to tranquil sides style-wise, this latest outing Alter (the second in a trilogy of EP’s) explore more of the wide array of influences at play – be it more modern, more cultural, or more exotic, without sacrificing the authenticity of the band’s main platform sound.

Opener “Writing Red” contains a floaty, Celtic-like charm in specific riff to tempo interplay that allows the vocals of Krista Sion to equally shift between semi-operatic to folk/symphonic textures, the instrumental sections doing a bit of a Skyclad/Nightwish meets Maiden-esque dalliance while Alasdair Wallace Mackie’s guitar work injects heavier overtones as necessary. “Ironbound” may seem very straightforward as a power metal commercial offering – but the surprise lies in the sophisticated saxophone solo work of FoolishFrankie, creating that compelling audience participation movement in the follow-up passages, bassist Mark Grey setting a firm bottom end foundation for the alluring guitar/sax tradeoffs next to the keyboard programming to shine. The highlight track occurs after a brief “Hourglass (Shadowdancer Part 1)” interlude that sets the stage for “Shadowdancer” – the Middle Eastern textures creating this melodic, modern metal tribal dance element – Krista injecting the melodies with this multi-layered gothic, rock, and metal voicing. Add in the killer drum solo from Cullen Mitchell (where he gets to stretch his technique into extreme pastures) and the subsequent crunchy, half-time pit moving Nevermore-ish angle, and you have the makings of a certain Dialith staple for years to come.

Returning to Andy LaRocque (King Diamond) for mixing/mastering duties as well as a continuance on the art front for Marta Sokolowska (together since their 2019 Extinction Six record), Dialith excels in providing the greatest value for final product even as a self-released act – which speaks to the quality of what they stand behind. Alter is another small window into the glorious professionalism on hand – everyone into symphonic power metal with a wider lens of influences should scoop this up immediately.

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