Tarot - Suffer Our Pleasures
Spinefarm Records
Heavy Metal
10 songs (47'59)
Release year: 2003
Tarot, Spinefarm Records
Reviewed by Marty
As far as heavy metal bands from Finland go, before there was Stratovarius and Sonata Arctica, there was Tarot. Formed almost twenty years ago, this band is certainly one the forefathers of the Finnish metal scene. They have enjoyed great success over the years in Europe and especially in Japan, where they have a large following. Even though the band has existed for so long, they have only released 6 studio albums as many of the members are very active with other projects, especially bass player, singer, Marco Hietala. Besides Tarot, Marco has had brief stints in bands such as Conquest and Sinergy and in 2002, became the bass player for Nightwish. Marco's voice has added a lot of depth to the Nightwish sound and the duets with him and Tarja on the Century Child album are examples of what's on the horizon for the band. Marco's joining Nightwish has sparked a lot of interest in Tarot and the release of this album couldn't have come at a better time. Rounding out the line-up are Zachary Hietala (Marco's brother) on guitar, Peca Cinnari on drums and Janne Tolsa, keyboards. Suffer Our Pleasures is the band's first album in 5 years since 1998's The Glory Of Nothing and is also the first one for their new label, Spinefarm Records.

From what little I've heard of this band from their previous releases, the music on this album is certainly heavier and more aggressive in tone. I Rule opens the album with a killer heavy groove with some great catchy guitar riffs. Marco's voice sounds very angry and charged with energy and even gives this song a bit of a death metal tone to it. Pyr Of Gods, is another great heavy song with a mix of heavy guitar and keyboards and a great chorus. It has a sort of Queensryche style in it's abstractness and the drama that this song conveys. Rider Of The Last Day, another killer track, begins as a slower and lighter sounding tone but is still intense with it's thick bass guitar driving the beat. The song gets heavier and more dramatic and eventually speeds up much like Sabbath's Heaven And Hell, building to a climax of smoking lead guitars and a very Dio-like vocal delivery. Another great track is From The Void. It's a heavy driving song with great instrumental sections and uses keyboard orchestrations very effectively to create a mood that is carried throughout the song. From The Shadows contains one of the very few instances where the band cranks out some good old fashioned power metal. Double bass drumming and speedy riffing drive the song that has a very U.S. power metal sound. Some great lead guitar and synthesizer trade-offs highlight the song as well. A lot of this album has elements from classic 80's metal (not surprisingly since the band was in existence back then) and it's great to listen to something that is totally original in this day and age of so many copy-cat bands.

The rest of the album is solid but I wish there were more tracks like the ones already mentioned. A few tracks follow a much more simpler arrangement and a couple even have a "filler" type of feel to them. After the first 3 songs (I Rule, Pyr Of Gods and Rider Of The Last Day), I had the same feeling that I had when I listened to Angel Dust's Enlighten The Darkness album for the first time. I sensed that a killer album was at hand and was looking forward to awarding an "Album Of The Month" award for the first time in a very long while. The album really doesn't maintain the energy that it starts with and it's too bad. Tarot is a great band with a unique and heavy sound and a very solid vocalist who can sound melodic and soaring as well as angry and almost U.D.O.-like depending on the tone of the track. This is still an album worth checking out as the good songs are simply killer. I thought that the rest of the album might grow on me a little more but after several more listens, only 4 or 5 tracks really stood out. An entire album with tracks like the "Killing Songs" mentioned below and my friends, we would've had a metal masterpiece on our hands............maybe next time?

Killing Songs :
I Rule, Pyr Of Gods, Rider Of The Last Day, From The Void and From The Shadows
Marty quoted 78 / 100
Aleksie quoted 95 / 100
Other albums by Tarot that we have reviewed:
Tarot - Gravity Of Light reviewed by Aleksie and quoted 81 / 100
Tarot - To Live Forever reviewed by Aleksie and quoted 92 / 100
Tarot - Follow Me Into Madness reviewed by Aleksie and quoted 86 / 100
Tarot - Spell Of Iron reviewed by Aleksie and quoted 88 / 100
Tarot - Crows Fly Black reviewed by Aleksie and quoted 93 / 100
To see all 7 reviews click here
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