Lengthy five years it has taken the Finns of TAROT to come around with "Suffer Our Pleasures" and with that their by now sixth album. The engagement of Marco Hietala with NIGHTWISH for sure also was a reason for that, but that doesn't matter anyway, because the successor to "For The Glory Of Nothing" shows very clearly that the quartet has a raison d'ętre also in 2003.
What also is absolutely remarkable is the fact that TAROT have the same line up for 16 years now, with Marco and Zachary Hietala, Janne Tolsa and Pecu Cinnari. Nowadays even more than remarkable… But you hear that on each of their albums, that they are perfectly meshed together, also on "Suffer Our Pleasures", with which they finally also see a release on a bigger label internationally, in this case Motor, which is part of the Universal group. They have deserved that for a long time now.
In their beginnings TAROT stood for traditional Heavy Metal in the style of the Eighties, then turned a bit more progressive to finally arrive in traditional Melodic Metal, with both legs, by the way, and with a modern production. Nothing has changed that on "Suffer Our Pleasures", the band still is tight as a clockwork, melodic, but never flat, never even coming close to any happy HELLOWEEN-isms, with the very characteristic and good voice of master Hietala, which truly manages to leave its mark on the songs.
Opener "I Rule" convinces right away with a dense atmosphere and a surprisingly aggressively sung chorus, while on "Pyre Of Gods" the great melodies that have been a trademark of TAROT ever since the beginnings come more to the fore, in a very well arranged song with good riffing and a truly inspired vocal performance, strong song! And it continues like that, "Rider Of The Last Day", with rather measured tempo and a certain epicism, before pressing on the gas in the second half, even the ballad "Of Time And Dust" has power and expression and is far, far away from sap or shallowness, in stark contrast to that we get a powerhouse like "From The Void" or a fast smasher in the style of "From The Shadows".
TAROT do not sound like HELLOWEEN, do not sound like IRON MAIDEN, they do not even take them as influences, the two most probably most influential bands (sounds better than most copied) of traditional Metal, but they sound like, well, TAROT! The song structures and especially Hietala's vocals are the guarantors for this Finnish quartet having a really unique sound and that is worth a lot these days. Even more, if the quality is right as is the case here.
The production and a very good cover round off this album, which I would like to recommend to anybody, who is interested in the traditional styles and can appreciate high-class songwriting, which does not follow any trends or streams. After now six albums and 19 (or 20) years TAROT have more than deserved to get the recognition that they should have received years ago. "Suffer Our Pleasures" has everything that you need and more, so don't let me beg you any longer, get it! (Online September 10, 2003)