Tarot

Gravity of Light

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Finland, like Sweden and Norway, is known for having an abundance of death metal and black metal, as well as plenty of folk-metal, gothic metal, doom metal, and alternative metal. A variety of punk-influenced metal styles that either didn't exist before the '90s or didn't fully blossom until the '90s can be found in Finland, but Sweden's neighbor to the east has its classicists as well -- many of them power metal revival bands. However, it would be inaccurate to describe Tarot as part of Europe's power metal revival movement because they were around before so many of the headbanging retro-classicists who emerged in the '90s and 2000s. Tarot have been banging their heads since 1982 (back when they were called Purgatory), and a strong '80s mindset prevails throughout Gravity of Light even though this 49-minute CD is a 2010 release. Gravity of Light is stubbornly oblivious to post-‘80s developments in metal, opting for a melodic but hard-rocking power metal approach that recalls the glory days of Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, and Ronnie James Dio. Tarot have been accused of being Judas Priest clones; lead singer Marco Hietala does, in fact, sound a lot like Rob Halford. But listen to "Caught in the Deadlights," "Sleep in the Dark," or "Satan Is Dead" closely, and you won't hear an exact replica of Judas Priest's songs. Elements of Maiden and Dio are present as well. So even though Tarot are derivative, it's a mistake to think they are making a conscious effort to sound exactly like Judas Priest or anyone else. Overall, this is a decent effort -- not a masterpiece, but an appealing example of Tarot's ability to combine melody and aggression. And even though Gravity of Light isn't trying to reinvent the wheel, power metal diehards should at least be aware of this long-running but underexposed Nordic band.

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