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Music / Tarot

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Tarot is a heavy metal band from Kuopio, Finland formed in 1982 by Marco Hietala and his brother Zachary. Originally conceived as "Purgatory", they were asked to change their name when offered a record deal in 1986. Notably, their lineup has remained almost consistent since their formation; only replacing guitarist Mako H in 1988 with keyboardist Janne Tolsa, and adding additional vocalist and secondary keyboardist Tommi Salmela in 2006 (after having him as an unofficial member since 1996); drummer Pecu Cinnari died in 2016, however. The band started as playing traditional heavy metal with some elements from what was popular in rock music at the time. (The band even wore glam type makeup in their first live appearances, as proven by early music videos). Later they veered towards progressive metal, largely inspired by Queensrÿche, and now the band has elements of power metal in their music.

Their first album Spell of Iron was a moderate success, but after that, they fell to obscurity. Despite their strong underground following, they never received much mainstream attention until 2002, when Marco joined Nightwish, though they still remain relatively underground, despite being active for 28 years and releasing 8 albums.

Current Line-up:

  • Marco Hietala: Lead and backing vocals, bass guitar (1982-present)
  • Zachary Hietala: Lead guitar (1982-present)
  • Janne Tolsa: Keyboard (1988-present)
  • Tommi "Tuple" Salmela: Backing and lead vocals, samples, keyboards (2006-present; unofficial 1996–2006)

Former Members:

  • Mako H: Guitar (1982-1988)
  • Pecu Cinnari: Drums (1982-2016; died in 2016)

Studio Discography:

  • Spell of Iron (1986)
  • Follow Me Into Madness (1988)
  • To Live Forever (1993)
  • Stigmata (1995)
  • For The Glory of Nothing (1998)
  • Advertisement:
  • Suffer Our Pleasures (2003)
  • Crows Fly Black (2006)
  • Gravity of Light (2010)
  • The Spell of iron MMXI (2011)

Tarot has examples of:

  • Ascended Extra: Vocalist Tommi Salmela was originally the band's roadie and unofficial backing vocalist between 1996 and 2006, when he was promoted to full band member.
  • Ascended Fanboy: Keyboardist Janne Tolsa was this. According to his profile on the official website, he was a huge fan of the band who would get drunk backstage, and one day stumbled across a piano and started to play "Rose on the Grave." The band let him rehearse with them and he was added to the lineup afterwards.
  • Brother Chuck: Original second guitarist Mako H. Nothing is known about him (some sources claim he ran off with the band's funds). The band doesn't wish to speak of him either.
  • Colonel Kilgore: Probably the narrator of "Follow The Blind".
    We need no gods of war,
    petty excuses no more.
    Just what we always wanted,
    the blood of our kind
  • Advertisement:
  • Cover Version: They have covered "Children of the Grave", "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath", "Generation Clash", "Turn Me On", "Veteran of the Psychic Wars", "Locomotive Breath" and "Mama".
  • Epic Rocking: "The Invisible Hand", "Iron Stars", "Guardian Angel", "E.T.I.", "Stigmata (I Feel For You)", "Shining Black" and "Rider of the Last Day".
  • Expy: Their 80s Hair and glam metal makeup made them look like expies of a more famous Swedish band. Their vocalist Tommi sounds like Ozzy.
  • Fade Out: Very common on their albums.
  • Large Ham: Marco, on nearly every song.
  • Lead Bassist: Marco is the frontman.
  • Long Runner Lineup: Type 1. After Tommi Salmela joined Tarot permanently in 2006, the band's lineup remained unchanged until drummer Cinnari's death in 2016.
  • Mondegreen:
    • "My nutballs in its hibernated halfworld" in "Angels of Pain" (it actually says "mind numbles") from Stigmata.
    • The live versions of nearly all the songs end up mondegreened due to Marco's pronunciation. One example is Marco's cry of "I ROW!" when leading into I Rule!.
  • Never Be Hurt Again: Theme of the song "Love's Not Made for My Kind".
    I've had more than my share of pain
    Love's not made for my kind
    My heart's turning to stone
    Love's not made for my kind
    Better to leave me alone
  • Our Vampires Are Different: "Follow Me Into Madness" seems to be narrated by a vampire turning his lover into other vampire while waxing lyrical about the beauty of the night.
  • Rearrange the Song: Spell of Iron MMXI is a whole debut album re-recorded and -arranged.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: "Dancing on the Wire".
    From my love you were delighted
    Though it was clear that we sailed on different streams
    Like the stars we are divided and I'll be lost in your dreams
    So bitter so sweet
  • Things That Go "Bump" in the Night: "Things That Crawl At Night", from the perspective of that thing.
  • Villain Song:
    Bowels of a grave turned loose,
    spat out the one the reaper couldn't use.
    Time to burn the inhuman torch.
    Rip and slash, impale and scorch!
  • Vocal Tag Team: The new team of Tommi and Marco.
  • War Is Hell: "Crows Fly Black", about the aftermath of war.
    Earth and sky as one in countless pieces.
    Time stands still, frozen in the flow.
    In the dust the faces of the fallen.
    They're erased in the fall of snow.


Example of: