Tarot is a heavy metal band from Finland. They are most famous for the song "Wings of Darkness" from the 1986 album Spell of Iron. While having enjoyed a broad underground popularity in Finland, the band has never been very famous elsewhere until gaining new success in the recent years when their singer and bassist Marco Hietala joined Nightwish in 2002.
Formation and Early years (1982-1984) edit:
Tarot was originally formed by the Hietala brothers in the early 80's. Back then the band's name was called "Purgatory". As Purgatory reached the point when they got the record deal, the label wanted them to change their name. Since then the band has been known as Tarot. The line-up settled in to the form of Marco Hietala (bass/vocals), Zachary Hietala (guitars), Mako H (guitars) and Pecu Cinnari (drums).
The beginning (1986-1988) edit:
The "Wings of Darkness" single saw the daylight in April 1986 and in December that same year Tarot released their first full length album Spell of Iron. In April 1988, following the release of a single Rose on the Grave, their second album Follow Me Into Madness was released.
"To Live Forever" and "Stigmata" (1989-1996) edit:
After the second album there was a hiatus in the band. During this "vacation" the line-up changed a little bit and a keyboardist was added to the band as Janne Tolsa joined Tarot and replaced the second guitarist Mako H. After long preparation, the third album To Live Forever came out in February 1993. Tarot received good publicity in Japan, making their first live album to be released as a Japanese special edition in November 1994. The live album was recorded at Tavastia Club, Helsinki in August 1994. Some of the songs from the live album were released the following year on a limited edition bonus CD with the next studio album, Stigmata. To Live Forever was remixed and re-released in 2006 together with all the previous albums.
"For the Glory of Nothing" and hiatus (1997-2002) edit:
Much anticipated For the Glory of Nothing came out in 1998. Shining Black, a Tarot compilation album, came out in Japan in December 1998. While Tarot was inactive, Marco also played in Conquest and Sinergy. Together with other members of Conquest, Marco played cover songs under the name "Metal Gods". Marco became a member of Nightwish in 2001. Janne Tolsa played the keyboards for Virtuocity's Secret Visions album as Marco sang a few songs on it. In summer 2002 Tarot played a special 80's gig in Kuopio, playing material only from the first two albums.
"Suffer Our Pleasures" (2003) edit:
In March 2003, Shining Black compilation was released again in the rest of the world. Tarot signed a new record deal with Spinefarm Records and the new studio album Suffer Our Pleasures was released. While the album did well in Finland, it was barely noticed elsewhere.
Hiatus, remixes and comeback (2004-2008) edit:
During these years Marco kept busy with his other band Nightwish by recording and touring around the world. Janne worked on an album with Eternal Tears of Sorrow and toured with industrial metal band Turmion Kätilöt.
Early spring 2006, Tarot's earlier label Bluelight Records released a collection of the band's first six albums remastered with a large amount of bonus material, unreleased demos, live and special versions of the songs and some covers. Some of the albums were also remixed.
The fans had been expecting the re-releases for years and the collection was so successful that in May 2006 when Tarot released the new single "You", it made number one on the Finnish charts for the first time in the history of the band. During that time, the band formalized their long-time roadie/backing vocalist Tommi "Tuple" Salmela as a band member after being with the band for more than a decade.
Early 2006, Tarot was signed to KingFoo Entertainment in Finland, with Nuclear Blast covering the rest of Europe. During summer of 2006, the band not only toured various clubs and festivals but also composed, demoed and recorded new material. The album Crows Fly Black was released in October 2006.
On June 11, 2008, Tarot released their first live DVD, Undead Indeed. The DVD also had a live album counterpart. They followed the release with a short tour in support of Undead Indeed, which began January 30, 2009.
Gravity of Light (2009-2010) edit:
Their new album, entitled "Gravity of Light" was released in Finland on March 10, 2010, in Europe on April 23, 2010, the UK on April 26, 2010, and in the US on June 8, 2010.
Spell of Iron MMXI (2011-Present) edit:
Re-recorded first album, some updated lyrics and updated sound. Released in conjunction of the 25th Anniversary of their No. 1 single "Wings of Darkness" back in 1986.
Current members edit:
Marco Hietala - lead and backing vocals, bass, acoustic guitars (1985-present),
Zachary Hietala - guitars (1985-present),
Janne Tolsa - keyboards (1988-present),
Pecu "Spede" Cinnari - drums (1985-present),
Tommi "Tuple" Salmela - backing and lead vocals, sampler (2006-present),
Former members edit:
Mako H - guitar (1986-1988)