Tarot is a Heavy Metal band from Finland. Here is their story.
Spell of Iron (1986), Follow Me Into Madness (1988)
Tarot was originally formed by the Hietala brothers in the early 80’s. Back then the band’s name was called “Purgatory”. As Purgatory reached the point when they got the record deal, the label wanted Purgatory to change their name. Since then the band has been known as Tarot. Also the line-up settled in to the form of Marco Hietala (bass/vocals), Zachary Hietala (guitars), Mako H (guitars) and Pecu Cinnari (drums).
Wings of Darkness single saw the daylight in 1986 and during that same year they released their first full length album which was titled as Spell of Iron. Next year they released again a single and it was called Rose on the Grave.
To Live Forever (1993), To Live Again (1994), Stigmata (1995)
After the second album there was a brake in Tarot-land. Durind this “vacation” the line-up changed a little bit and a keyboardist was added to the band as Janne Tolsa joined Tarot, who replaced the second guitarist Mako H. And after five years of more and less silence the third album, To Live Forever, was finished in 1993. Tarot got good publicity in Japan so their first live album was released in 1994 only in Japan. The gig was recorded at Tavastia Club, Helsinki. Fortunately some of the songs from the live album were released during the next year on a limited edition bonus cd with the next studio album, Stigmata.
For The Glory Of Nothing (1998), Shining Black Compilation (1998: Japanese Edition)
For The Glory of Nothing came out in 1998. Also during the same year, Shining Black, a Tarot compilation album came out in Japan. After this they returned into silence. Luckily the silent wasn’t complete, they did gigs here and there. But when Tarot wasn’t active, Marco was. He played in Conquest and Sinergy. He also did some gigs with the other Conquest guys as a cover group Metal Gods. Marco also joined Nightwish in 2002 and along that, some more attention came also towards Tarot. Janne Tolsa played the keyboards for Virtuocity‘s Secret Visions album as Marco sang a few songs for it. At the end of summer 2002 Tarot did a special 80’s gig in Kuopio, they played material only from the first two albums. And to complete the 80’s the guys looked like they were still stuck in the 80’s!
Suffer Our Pleasures (2003), Shining Black Compilation (2003: 2CD)
During the year 2003 the Shining Black Compilation was released again in the rest of the world. Tarot signed a new record deal with Spinefarm Records and the new studio album Suffer Our Pleasures was released.
The Suffer album did quite well here in Finland, but somehow the record company, at that time, managed to blow it up in the foreign countries. The album was real hard to come by in foreign record stores and the advertising was done poorly. This was naturally a big disappointment for the band as once again the album included some of the greatest material the band had ever written. Despite the negative aspects of the album’s marketing, Suffer Our Pleasures opened new doors and gave the band more underground status than ever. Thanks to the active touring.
Crows Fly Black (2006), Undead Indeed Live (2008)
In between 2003 and 2006 Marco kept busy with his another band Nightwish by recording and touring around the world. Janne did the album with Eternal Tears of Sorrow and a lot of gigs with an industrial metal band called Turmion Kätilöt. In 2006 it was time for Tarot to get serious again.
Early spring 2006 the late record company Bluelight Records released a Re-Masters collection, which included all the first six albums with a huge collection of bonus material, un-released demos, live and special versions of the songs and some covers. Some of the albums were also remixed.
The fans had been expected the re-releases for years and the collection succeed so well that in May 2006 when Tarot released the new single You, it made number one on the Finnish charts for the first time in the history of Tarot. At the same time the band formalized their backing vocalist Tommi “Tuple” Salmela as a true band member, after being with the band more than ten years. Now Tarot was able to perform more widen vocal performances than ever, using two lead singers as a band called Deep Purple did in the golden era with Coverdale/Hughes.
Tarot changed the record label again and now they work in Finland with KingFoo Entertaiment. Kingfoo Entertainment is at the same their booking and management agency. In Europe Tarot is working with Nuclear Blast and the hopes are high again for the future.
Summer 2006 was really busy for the band as the band toured various clubs and festivals throughout the summer. In the mean time Tarot also composed, demoed and recorded new material and finally released the darkest and gloomiest Tarot album written to date – Crows Fly Black.
After the release of Crows Fly Black Tarot toured for a year and a half altogether doing shows outside of Finland also. “Crows” was released by Nuclear Blast for the wider european audiences, which made it possible for the band to do some more touring in the central Europe.
The well used time sharpened the band into a shape which you can witness on the live DVD Undead Indeed. DVD was shot in their hometown Kuopio, Club Rupla in 17.8.2007. The DVD was then released on 11.6.2008, and for awhile it stayed as #1 in finnish DVD charts. Undead Indeed covers the whole show of the evening and captures really well the atmosphere of these hairy dudes from the county of Savo, Finland doing a sweaty rock´n´roll show.
By the release of the DVD Marco was already touring with Nightwish, and Tarot did just a few selected shows during 2008-2009. It was clear however that as soon as the NW tour would wind down, Tarot would get active again.
Gravity Of Light (2010)
During 2008-2009 Janne, Marco and Zac had written quite a lot of new stuff already at their spare time. It only took a few demosessions for the guys to come up with a bunch of songs, which you will be able to hear on their eighth studioalbum titled Gravity Of Light.
Most of the demo work for this album was done in August and September 2009, and the actual recordings for the album started immediately after that in November 2009. Mixing has been done by Janne and Mikko Tegelman and the mastering by Mika Jussila at Finnvox studios in January and February 2010. The album is released by King Foo entertainment, which acts also as the booking agency and management for Tarot.
The album feels like meeting an old friend. Some things are the same, but your friend has gained weight. He shows new scars, and tattoos. The beard is longer and he projects a meaner and faster temper. At the same time there´s still a big heart at the center. When you hear Gravity Of Light you will believe.
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