Deck of Wild Cards
Tarot is a newcomer to the metal scene with this first demo released on the small up and coming Australian label Heavy Chains. Pretty involved in the Tasmanian scene, the third tape release of this label named Life and Death rocks!
There's basically no information about this band outside the fact that they're Australian so I'll just pretend K.K. Warslut (Destroyer 666), Jael Edwards (Ignivomous) and the singer of Portal are involved! Just like the Canadian project Tales of Medusa (apparently dead nowadays, sadly, review: here!), there's a voluntary obscurity here for some unfathomable reasons. There's nothing shameful here, it's not raw keyboard only black metal with a picture of some trees on it, it's proto heavy metal/hard rock played by young men in 2014!
Let me just say something about their name, Tarot is a pretty unoriginal one for a new band... I know their music is truly inspired by the sounds of the 70s and 80s but guys, internet exists now and Google is a fantastic tool! Marco Hietela's band is not quite unknown, eh? Anyway, despite this shitty decision, the music is quite good and that's the important thing.
Their sound is basically a mix of old Deep Purple and Uriah Heep with a rawer approach almost reminding me of Manilla Road at times. The title track starts with intertwined heavy guitars and organ licks just like the heydays of Blackmore/Lord. The riffs are pretty nice, both groovy and mid paced to slower, epic moments like the pleasant, contemplative start of “Sound the Horn”. The keyboards are quite omnipresent on the fifteen minutes demo but it's never cheesy or AOR influenced. There's some cool and well done guitar leads here (such as the ending “Vagrant Hunter”), if I was as talented as the songwriters here, you would surely know that I would scream that everywhere! But yeah, I'm a pretentious jackass so...
The vocals, on the other hand, remind me of more recent bands. Namely the laid back approach of In Solitude. It's nothing spectacular but I really enjoy that kind of simple vocals acting as a little cousin to the instrumental side of the band which is obviously the focus point here. The singer is pretty buried underneath the music, it seems like an artistic decision since the production is, all things considered, very decent for a first demo.
The three songs demo is definitely interesting, it's nothing new and doesn't try hard to be either and that's perfectly fine for me when the quality is there! Alongside Stone Dagger (Read my review for their demo here), Tarot released one of the best heavy metal demos of the decade establishing them (or him, I have no idea how many members the band has...) as a future player of the underground traditional scene.
Choose your card wisely and trust me! With fellow Tasmanian The Wizar'd, they're delivering a devilish tornado of metal to the mainland. Like its cover art, Life and Death is simple yet impressive and charming. A band to watch, guys.