Track By Tracks: DIALITH - Extinction Six (2019)

1 and 2: Emergence + The Sound of Your Voice:

Alasdair: These two tracks combine to form one larger song. Emergence is an entirely orchestral introduction building in intensity until seamlessly transitioning to the first song: The Sound of Your Voice. I wrote the first draft of this way back in 2012 when I was still in college, simply titled “The Beginning”. Because of this, The Sound of Your Voice holds the most sentimental value to me over all other songs on the album. This was built from the ground up to be an intro song, I wanted to pull the listener in and get them excited to hear the rest of the album! It’s got everything: heavy riffs, a catchy chorus, orchestra and choir arrangements, a guitar solo, and a keyboard solo. It hits you like a brick wall and leaves you wanting more!

3. Where Fire Dwells Krista:

This is one of the earlier songs, seen previously on the EP. If I remember correctly, this is the second song Alasdair sent to me, and we actually recorded the very earliest version in his bedroom and I sang into a microphone in his closet. I was unsure of what kind of lyrics would be a good fit for Dialith and how to go about it, and I thought that the story of Hades and Persephone would be a good place to start. Cullen, Mark, and Charles added their own unique touches to the song and it’s really incredible to see how much this song has changed between its first iteration and now!

4. Libra Cullen:

Libra was one of the most fun songs to track on the album. I really locked in with the timing. Solo violins introduce the song followed by a heavy and melodic guitar riff. I wanted to give the song more of an 80s feel drumming wise and this can be heard behind Krista's vocals in the verses. Alasdair challenged me to improvise in the studio so I experimented and have an interesting drum break section towards the middle of the song that feels unpredictable yet tasteful.

5. Break the Chains Mark:

When working on new material, we often use really short (and often silly) working names for the tracks until a final title is decided, which usually gets locked in after seeing the lyrical content Krista comes up with. It helps to have something to reference in discussion and to delay the naming until we’re really certain what the proper feeling is. I distinctly remember this track lingered as “Straight-up power metal song” for a month or so before finally being christened its present, permanent title. I think it’s a pretty succinct statement of what everyone was going for here: a driving, engaging track that could fit really well into the live setting.

6. Quiver of Deception Krista:

I’m weirdly proud of the lyrics to this song. I was fascinated by cults in high school and college, and one in particular called the Quiverfull movement. Quiverfull is a fundamentalist cult that, quite literally, wants to outbreed who they see as their adversaries in the world. They take their name from a verse in the Bible in which children are referred to as arrows in a quiver (Psalm 127:4-5). I read many stories of people who had left the cult and the lyrics draw heavily from that. This was my favorite Dialith song for a while, I really felt that it showcased how heavy this band could be.

7. The River Runs Dry Charlie:

An early demo of this song really impressed me when I first joined Dialith and I remember really looking forward to doing the keyboards on the song. My favorite moment on The River Runs Dry is on the second verse when the key changes from C minor to Bb minor and then quickly back to C minor; in my opinion a very moving shift in color. I knew from the start which piano effect I would choose to use on this song and I think the choice was fitting, having no shortage of reverb and thick overtones. Some minor changes were made during the recording process, but nothing drastic. For example, Krista recorded her vocals on the first chorus an octave lower and noticeably quieter than originally planned, and so it was clear that the accompanying piano needed to change concordantly. The same day I recorded my parts with Alasdair for The River Runs Dry I had been listening to some Bruce Hornsby earlier in the morning. After pondering how to effectively compliment Krista on that first chorus, Alasdair and I decided I should replace the existing piano on the first chorus and lay down a different line à la Bruce Hornsby. To our delight, the line turned out to be exactly what was called for, and that’s what can be heard on the final track. The song offers the listener a glimpse into the heart that drives the muscle exhibited on most of Extinction Six.

8. In Every Breath Mark:

The old favorite, every band must have one! To be honest, this is probably the most requested live song, and whenever we put out a poll it’s one of the consistent top picks. I’m really happy we had a chance to reprise it on Extinction Six, as it was an important part of my first exposure to the band before joining.

9. Catalyst Cullen:

Catalyst is a song that really means a lot to me as it is the first song I was able to collaborate in the writing process with every member as a whole. Alasdair is normally the main songwriter so it was a challenge to try a new method. It really changed the direction of the song and spawned ideas unlike any other song on the album. Mark challenged us to work as a team and let everyone's voice be heard. The rhythm in the verses is a call and response with the vocals while my drum beats pay homage to the likes of Dream Theater. The chorus is very strings driven with a tom groove holding it together. The song builds up into a fast section with Charlie performing a keyboard solo. Krista's soaring vocals really make the final chorus stand out as the climax of the song draws the listener in.

10. The Wraith Krista:

I wrote the lyrics to this song about my favorite book, Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo (yes, it’s YA Fantasy, yes, I’m secretly still a teenager at heart!). “The Wraith” is the nickname given to my favorite character in the book. I had the opportunity to tell the author that there was a song about her character on the album at one of her book signings and the look on her face was shocked! I also really enjoyed working on the vocals of this song, I felt like I got to really show off here.

Charles: Upon listening to The Wraith in the context of Extinction Six, it is clear that the song is of a different nature than the rest. This is due primarily to the fact that Alasdair, who wrote virtually all of the other songs, agreed to take a fresh approach and relinquish creative duties on The Wraith. He also agreed to let me record the guitars on the song as well. Whether or not this was a wise choice remains to be seen! Krista began writing The Wraith with a single melody which is now the central theme of the song. When I first heard it, I thought that it would make a great vocal line. So after some discussion, we decided to put our heads together and nail out the whole thing. Yet another fresh approach was taken with the decision to write the song's middle sections first and the ending/introduction afterward, something I've always wanted to try. We wrote simple bass and drum parts with the intention of leaving plenty of room for interpretation, which was taken. We wrote the whole song in about four writing sessions, in between coffee breaks and visits with our friends Justin and Jenn. Alasdair suggested some technical edits which we applied prior to recording. The recording features an assortment of vocal and guitar interplay, harmonies, and a special "airiness" about it. I think it came out really well.

11. Extinction Six:

Alasdair: This is it! You’ve made it to the last song on the album. You may be thinking “Woah 17 minutes?! Don’t have time for that!” Well, listen here, buddy. We knew this wouldn’t be a proper symphonic metal album without an extra-long epic song, but we also knew we had to make it worth your time to listen all the way through. Believe me when I say this is the most intense, most cinematic, most epic track on the whole record. I threw everything I had at this finale when writing it, and the rest of the band delivered the exceptional performances the song required. If you’re a fan of any sort of symphonic metal, this song is absolutely worth your time. It’s not long for the sake of being long, the story simply called for it. So let’s all enjoy listening to the human race eradicating all life on planet Earth together!! Special thanks to Cullen for learning the drum parts for such a long track in a short amount of time and absolutely nailing it in the studio. And of course, thanks to Krista for coming up with the perfect lyrics to fully tell the story that I wanted to tell.

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