After it had taken them five years to get the previous album "To Live Forever" done, Finnish TAROT followed that one up with "Stigmata" already two years later and I even had the luck to get a limited edition with a bonus-live-CD, which contains most of the Japan-live-CD "To Live Again...", but more on that one later...
"Stigmata" shows TAROT in a slightly re-modeled sound, the keyboards have been granted more space and the song-material sounds a bit mrore progressive in some places, which serves a track like "E.T.I." very well, also Marco Hietala's again emotive voice harmonises very well with these sounds and the closing "Stigmata (I Feel For You)" is a real epic, broadly arranged, strong one!
But also the traditional TAROT-sound hasn't been neglected, straight crackers like "Angels Of Pain", "Race Of Light" (which bears its name deservedly) or the very dynamic "The Teeth" are prime examples for this and as always they have an outstanding ballad, or rather even two, because "State Of Grace" and "Sleepless" rank very high in the romanticism-scale, excellent efforts!
TAROT slightly different, but also even better than ever, once more ignored by most, shame on you all!
But wait, there was one more thing, the live-album! With the exception of two tracks the whole Japan-release of "To Live Again..." has been included here and it offers a nice journey through the first three albums, plus a cover-version of "Kill The King", I don't think that I'll have to mention who had been the original artist, do I?
What stands out here is on the one side the excellent sound-quality, you wouldn't think that the band was standing on a stage instead of in a studio, and on the other side that the crowd seems to be veery reserved... Make up your mind about that for yourself... But I don't want to suspect anybody here, so let's just say that it's a good bonus (even though you have (had) to pay a little extra for it!