Tarot

Nightwish – Imaginaerum Review

Nightwish – Imaginaerum Review

To be frank with you, I wasn’t sure whether to look forward to this one or not. On the one hand, Nightwish has a hype about them that I’ve never really quite understood. While they’re a good band that has produced some good albums (this Angry Metal Guy, for example, really enjoyed Once quite a bit), the rabidity of their fanbase and the standard to which they are held has always been very surprising to me. I have literally met people who don’t listen to anything else. Apparently their songwriter and keyboardist Tuomas Holopainen (you know, the pirate from that horrible series of movies) has stalkers fans that are so hardcore about him, that they send letters to his mother to tell her that they disapprove of whom he’s dating. But honestly, I’ve never thought of the band as anything other than a pretty good, female fronted symphonic power metal band. And, well, after Dark Passion Play, I wasn’t very excited anyway. Because let’s face it. That was not a good record. So when I heard that they were releasing a movie (especially given that Tuomas is already in the movies) and a soundtrack to it, I was not excited. But Imaginaerum managed to win me over.

Tarot – Spell of Iron MMXI

Tarot – Spell of Iron MMXI

Ah, nostalgia. My very first review upon joining Angry Metal Guy Industries was Tarot’s 2010 release Gravity of Light. Now, just about a year later, Finland’s longest running metal act returns with a re-recording of their 1986 debut Spell of Iron to mark the album’s twenty-fifth anniversary. Much like fellow countrymen Amorphis, they apparently decided these ancient songs would benefit from a sonic face lift using modern recording technology and the modern day Tarot stylings. In the spirit of full Angry Metal Disclosure, as with many metallers, I wasn’t aware of Tarot back in 1986 and didn’t discover them until founder and front man Marco Heitala rose to worldwide prominence with Nightwish in the early 2000s. Therefore, Spell of Iron isn’t some sacred talisman album in my mind as it may well be for long time Tarot fans. That said, I’ve spun it on and off over the years and found it a very solid, highly engaging slab of traditional metal falling somewhere between Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and W.A.S.P., while always maintaining a unique sound (largely due to Marco’s excellent and distinctive vocals). Also worth noting, it’s one of their most consistent albums from start to finish and less plagued by the Filler Gremlin™ than their subsequent releases were. With the housekeeping done, let’s see what’s in the cards shall we?

Tarot – Gravity of Light Review

Tarot – Gravity of Light Review

Talk about a long-suffering, unheralded and unsung band! Tarot has been slogging through the metal trenches in relative obscurity outside of their native Finland since 1986. For many non-Finnish folk (myself included), Tarot was an unknown quantity until lead singer and founder Marco Hietala joined up with Nightwish in 2002 for their Century’s Child outing, thereby drawing much needed attention to his primary recording outfit. It has been nearly four years since 2006’s Crows Fly Black, but finally the metal underdogs of Tarot are back in action with their eighth album, Gravity of Light.