Released: 2003, Metal Blade
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
Growing up a Canadian prairie kid in the 80s didn’t exactly give me a lot of access to the Finnish underground metal scene, so here we are in 2004 and Tarot has released their “comeback” album, if you will, SUFFER OUR PLEASURES. This is my first introduction to the band and, whoa nelly, is it a good one! This is only their sixth album in eighteen years and it is chock full of traditional power metal songs that are heavily influenced by the 80s metal sound. Now these aren’t the “lick my love pump” type of cheesy 80s metal, but rather keyboard-driven, catchy songs that aren’t afraid of a solo. The bass and drums are mixed nicely giving a strong backbone to all of the tracks. Though the songs are keyboard-heavy, they are by no means overshadowing the other instruments. Brothers Marco (who also sings and plays bass in Nightwish) and Zachary Hietala lead the listener on a stunning retrospective of all that has made metal great over the past three decades on this CD.
“I Rule,” which I personally nominate for song of the year, is full of thick bass and drums and its chorus is catchy as hell. Marco’s gritty voice rips through the chorus and shows that it is well-suited for this music. “Pyre Of Gods,” “Follow The Blind,” “Undead Son” and “Painless” are also heavy, punchy songs with standout vocals that follow this same pattern. “Rider Of The Last Day” features a slinky, almost psychedelic keyboard and fuzzed-out bass pedal effect over a slower tempo that builds to a dynamic crescendo. “Of Time And Dust” is an epic track with sweeping keyboards and vocals. “From The Shadows” starts out with this strange country-flavored guitar riff but quickly gets back to metal territory.
There really isn’t a bad track to be found here. If Tarot’s back catalogue is as strong as SUFFER OUR PLEASURES is, I can only say, “Where have you been all my life?!?!” This CD is a must!
KILLER KUTS: “I Rule,” “Pyre Of Gods,” “Follow The Blind,” “Undead Son,” “Painless”