The owner of Pitch Black records sent me the 1000-copies-limited debut album of his own band, including 8 new songs, 2 from the '95 demo and a match!
Not to be confused with the homonymous Finnish, Irish or Polish acts, the Cyprus 5-piece is the oldest local Metal band; just for the record it was established in 1993 playing Death metal, but only in 2008 did they release this full-length of traditional metal.
"To Wair for Fire" is opened in a Classic metal way with "Ending Ceremony", while "I Believe" is able to conjugate Prog and Epic in a masterful manner.
The sounds are all balanced and of a superior quality, especially in respect with the bass, but it's the vocals to stand out in the Epic metal anthem "Behind the Mirror's Eye"; the guitar solo is inspired and it's one of those where the 'play one note less and add more meaning' phylosophy rules.
One of the two brothers leading Diphtheria, Nicholas Leptos, is as clever as humble; it's true he cannot compete with Bruce Dickinson as for the high notes, but his voice is less nasal and helps a lot in this subgenre of Metal; his technique is excellent, as well as his American English pronunciation, which makes the record equal to international competition.
Every song is dramatically expressive and involving, yet if a race were on, I bet the title track would get the first prize; I love the vocals and the stops 'n' goes of drums and guitars and so will you!
"As Darkness Casts Its Veil" confirms the impression the Cypriotes are closer to 80's and 90s US metal than the German or the British one. The exception comes with "Sleeping with the Worms", decidedly dominated by early Iron Maidenesque guitars, yet the not instrumental structures are again friggin' Yankee.
An acoustic guitar kicks "Save Me" off, and comes back later; I'm sure every real fan sings this refrain along at their live shows and with that jolly axe solo this composition is a serious candidate for a single and a promo video. The final of the songs veers to Thrash metal and it's nothing less but a sonic orgasm!
Pretty dynamic, "Start again" flies on the wings of Thrash, endowed with a main tight circular riff; I read someone complained about the loss of originality of this 10-track, notwithstanding I am convinced it's compensated by the absolutely solid talent oozing from all of their tracks. This same track has an unexpected Doomy ending closed by pulsating bass lines and a torrid guitar solo; the Deep Purple-like faded-out vocals add enough originality to make it another classic and send the tiny doubts about the combo's capacities away.
"Living to Die" gave name to the first demo and you can hear the songwriting sounded a little bit different; the refrain is killer and the Thrash riffing takes no goddamn prisoners. The male and female vocal duet adds further pleasure (and value) to this old piece. No matter if the guys were a tad predictable when closing a passage, adore this song or die trying!
"God Wanted (Apply Here)" is a Rock song with piano lines with lyrics reminding us how horrible this world is because most of its inhabitants are extremely selfish, self-centered, insensitive and violent, uncaring about the others' needs. God is dead? Maybe he/she just doesn't exist, but that's another story. The lyrics and the vocals perfectly match, so even when dealing with lighter material Diphtheria appear unstymied.
In an ideal world, this record would be heavily sought for and a reprint above 10,000 copies would be the norm. It depends on you to increase the market request, I've done my share by showing you the beauties inside this album.
One thing's sure: we're gonna hear again of the Cypriot Heavy/Epic/Doom/Prog metalheads.