Tarot - 1986 Spell Of Iron

edited August 2 in year-1986


ALBUM: Spell Of Iron
LABEL: Flamingo Records
YEAR: 1986
CD REISSUE: 1994, Bluelight Records, BLR 3315CD, 2006, Blastic Heaven Record, BHR 33101 2


LINEUP: Marco Hietala - vocals, bass * Zachary Itala - guitars * Mako H - guitars * Pecu Cinnari - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Midwinter Nights * 02 Dancing On The Wire * 03 Back In The Fire * 04 Love's Not Made For My Kind * 05 Never Forever * 06 Spell Of Iron * 07 De Mortui Nil Nisi Bene * 08 Pharao * 09 Wings Of Darkness * 10 Things That Crawl At Night


Despite being a Finnish metal institution for more than two decades it's possible many fans remain unaware of Tarot's existence, this the first time I had crossed paths with the band myself.

Believe it or not the band's most recent album, 2006's 'Crows Fly Black', charted in the top five in their native country with a number one single to boot.

Perhaps Finland knows something we don't - about trends and what's considered fashionable!

This is where it all started for Tarot however, a long twenty one years ago, and traditional metal all the way, with no adherence to anything but.

Tarot were known as Purgatory before changing names, a good idea to avoid any Iron Maiden comparisons, and it's amazing scouring their long history that only one member, Mako H, has left their ranks in that time.

The Songs

This is as you would expect very much an album of its time, very melodic Euro metal, similar to many other such acts dissected here in the past, only with a touch more melody and individuality.

The title track having said that is a dead ringer for Dio, with that memorable Vivian Campbell riffing, only turned up several notches and noticeably heavier, without ever descending into any tepid thrash territory.

The guitar harmonies of 'Never Forever' are a nod to Iron Maiden, but everything else is very much Tarot's own, the quicker segments a good match for Maiden themselves.

'Dancing On The Wire' sounds like an AOR cut title wise, and is the most accessible hook of the album, but remains firmly metal, aided by some choice guitar solos.

'Pharao' has Maiden's 'Powerslave' written all over it, and 'Back In The Fire' is remarkably solid metal for a debut by a group of teenagers.

'Love's Not Made For My Kind' contains a surprising sing a long chorus, very commercially minded, with the only flop being 'Thing's That Crawl At Night', an attempt at an epic that goes nowhere in all honesty.

In Summary

An enjoyable romp, and heads above much of the bad metal that seemed to originate from the Scandinavian region in the 80's.

Tarot followed up with 1988's 'Follow Me Into Madness' before disappearing until 1993, since which they have been consistently releasing new product.

For the bands latest album a new vocalist was added, Tommi Salmela, although Marco Hietala remained in the ranks, despite also being a member of Finnish mega-metallers Nightwish.

The only other change over the years being Mako H leaving and not replaced by another guitarist strangely enough - but by a keyboardist.. Janne Tolsa.

'Spell Of Iron' was re-released in 2006 by Bluelight Records, so it is out there on CD. What exactly Tarot sound like in 2007 I'm unsure of, probably standard power metal, but if it's anything as remotely metallic as their now ancient debut then their existence is probably well deserved.

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