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Tarot - Crows Fly Black (CD)

Crows Fly Black
by Grigoris Chronis at 02 December 2006, 11:32 AM

No, no, no, no, no, no, no…Tarot is not the new side-project of Nightwish member Marco Hietala. No, no, no, no, no, no, no…Crows Fly Black is not their debut album. No, no, no, no, no, no, no…there's no female singing in this one. No, no, no, no, no, no, no…when will we all do a little bit of research when hearing stuff/news from an act 'related' to our favorite band(s)? I don't know what the rest of the Nightwish clan were up to in 1986. Why this year, in specific?
Finnish metallers Tarot breathe life for twenty years now. Yeap, twenty whole years! Their 1986 Spell Of Iron debut effort was greeted with much of delight in the (then) Heavy Metal world, since it boasted a great stuff of 'riffing' Metal tunes played the 'cold' Scandinavian way (the vinyl issues of Spell Of Iron as well as the follow-up 1988's Follow Me Into Madness are much sought after eBay rarities now). More or less featuring the same lineup, Tarot marched rather spasmodically in the next decade but never failed to deliver a bad album. The last years, adding an 'extra' singer - Tommi Salmela - next to the harsh voice of Marco Hietala, Tarot have more long hair, are more black-dressed dudes and from the cover artwork of Crows Fly Black I was wondering how muck the universal success of Nightwish would affect Tarot's musical heritage anno 2006 (have not heard 2003's Suffer Our Pleasures albums, though).
The band is full of ideas and energy; that's obvious from the very beginning and throughout the whole audition. Next element: the album is dark and 'freezing', not that much into the classic Metal sound anymore. The music is obviously heavy but the 'dogmatic' usage of keys does omit a good amount of rawness. There are enough spiritual/atmospheric moments in songs/parts but - in regards to the vocal lines - it's good to see Hietala keeping the classic Metal fire burning inside. Some of his singing (plus the related guitar parts) reminded me of post-80s Jag Panzer and Harry The Tyrant Conklin while - good or bad, you decide - many elements origin from/lead to the Nightwish style. Hmm, as the audition goes on and on the latter fact is more obvious.
You - the first single off this new album, backed with the classic Blue Oyster Cult cover, Veteran Of The Psychic Wars - has already topped the Finnish charts. A good thingie, I see. Classic Tarot fans will find Crows Fly Black interesting only if they - on their own - keep up to date with Metal music development (or decadence, huh). Nightwish followers - on the other side - do have a good album to keep occupied with; let aside the fact they may search a little bit into 80s Scandinavian Metal music in general after this.
P.S.: Can we - sometime - stop the '99-track-split' of promo CDs? Have mercy…

3 Star Rating

Crows Fly Black
Ashes To The Stars
Messenger Of Gods
Before The Skies Come Down
Bleeding Dust
Marco Hietala - Vocals, Bass
Zachary Hietala - Guitar
Pecu Cinnari - Drums
Janne Tolsa - Keys
Tommi Salmela - Voice, Sampler
Record Label: Nuclear Blast


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