Cyprus based metal band Diphtheria has been existence in some form since 1993. Yet, it took 15 years before their debut album, 'To Wait For Fire,' would appear. Prior to this they did record two demos in 1994 and 1995, respectively. Diphtheria's style may be best described a traditional heavy metal with some power and doom elements, although the latter is hardly excessive. After several listens to 'To Wait For Fire,' I'm sure I heard undercurrents of Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath (accounting for some of the more plodding moments on the album). Overall, there is a genuine consistency to Diphtheria's style. The production is clear and the musicianship is solid.
As I progressed through 'To Wait For Fire,' several numbers really stood out. The opening cut 'Ending Ceremony' gives you a foretaste of what is to come: good song composition, intelligent lyrics, and fine musicianship: note the bass emphasis and the classic guitar work. I was completely impressed with 'As Darkness Casts Its Vail,' a straight forward metal number with Nicholas Leptos shining on vocals and the guitar solo, thrilling. The title cut, 'To Wait For Fire,' is peculiarly interesting if only for the vocal arrangement; it seems a bit confused at times, but adds distinctiveness to the song. If there is latent doom metal element in Diphtheria's work, it is definitely found in 'Save Me.' The heavy tone is established in the intro, only to be followed by an acoustic verse that is both solemn and leading. It leads to a totally compelling track of deep darkness and subtle hope. For me the best music awaits those who listen to the end. 'Living To Die' and 'God Wanted (Apply Here)' are from their 1995 demo. The former is Maidenesque metal; it's very interesting, but not overwhelmingly compelling. The latter, 'God Wanted (Apply Here)' is simply brilliant: fine metal with a progressive momentum that easily satisfies. Again, exceptional vocal arrangements drive the song; and also listen for the compelling keyboard work.
Diphtheria will probably not raise eyebrows as something new and provocative. However, the metal that they compose is satisfying in an old school sort of way. It's a shame we had to wait this long for their debut. They should have been noticed (and signed on a label) from the beginning. Fans of solid and fundamental metal should explore Diphtheria immediately. Very recommended.
Diphtheria, a solid metal band from Cyprus, may not appear on your radar amongst the hundreds of other metal bands hoping for an audience. But you should consider them. Their version of heavy metal is fundamental and sound. 'To Wait For Fire' is a good listen harkening back to memories of metal when it was both exciting and unpretentious.
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