"The Gravity of Light"

By Colonel Angus

Europe has always stayed true to heavy metal and it amazes me at the amount of quality releases coming out of there. Case in point , Finland 's Tarot and their latest, "Gravity of Light".  If you count their greatest hits album and their DVDs, this is their 12th release and they show no signs of slowing down. I have heard their music over the years, but calling me a casual fan would still be stretching it a bit.  Since I never had to review one of their disks before, this is the first time I  dedicated myself to really "listen" to one of their CDs. Aside from a couple of spots where I just didn't "get it", this is one great record.

The thing that I like about "Gravity of Light" is that it has many facets of metal within the whole CD as well as each individual track. If you are into Euro power metal, then "Pilot of all Dreams" and "Sleep In The Dark" will take care of that need. If you like straight ahead metal, then "Satan Is Dead" and "Rise!" will satisfy that urge to fist bang. For symphonic metal, try "Gone" on for size. All of this is well and good but take a track like "Rise!" that starts off in a Euro power metal direction but then falls into an Iron Maiden groove (something from "The Final Frontier" comes to mind) and you've got something special. Elsewhere, you can hear a little Judas Priest, especially in "Caught In the Deadlights". There's really quite a bit to sink your teeth into on "Gravity of Light". My only complaint would be that "I Walk Forever" gets a little too close to sappy power ballad territory (although the chorus is really good and catchy) and "Gone" has a couple of spots that try too hard to be epic. The song is an epic but parts just seem a little forced. Aside from those two minor quibbles, I would definitely give this CD the highest marks.

The stars of  "Gravity of  Light" are naturally the founding members Marco and Zachary Hietala. Marco's voice is the perfect fit for Zachary's melodic guitar playing. Zachary certainly knows his way around a fret board but his true talent is crafting solos that fit the song yet still somehow tell a story of their own. Just listen to "Magic and Technology" for a good example of that. The rest of the band...Janne Tolsi (keyboards), Pecu Cinnari (drums) and Tommi Salmela (samples, vocals) ...all play their part perfectly and make up one tight outfit. Nuclear Blast has always been a label for great heavy metal and this is another jewel in their crown. I'm not as familiar with Tarot's previous releases, but if you were going to look into getting something from these guys, "Gravity of Light" is a great place to start.