The Spell of Iron MMXI

01. Midwinter Nights
02. Dancing On The Wire
03. Back In The Fire
04. Love's Not Made For My Kind
05. Never Forever
06. The Spell Of Iron
07. De Mortui Nisi Bene
08. Pharao
09. Wings Of Darkness
10. Things That Crawl At Night

Marco Hietala – lead and backing vocals, bass, acoustic guitars
Zachary Hietala – guitars
Janne Tolsa – keyboards
Pecu Cinnari – drums
Tommi “Tuple” Salmela – backing and lead vocals, sampler

Spell of Iron (1986)
Follow Me Into Madness (1988)
To Live Forever (1993)
Stigmata (1995)
For the Glory of Nothing (1998)
Suffer Our Pleasures (2003)
Crows Fly Black (2006)
Gravity of Light (2010)



Released 6/5-2011
Reviewed 30/4-2011


Returpack is the Swedish equivalent to Tarot which of course mean that they recycle stuff that has been used. It is marked with the three arrow symbol that I used in the Swedish version of this review but will not use here as I have already done a much funnier remark or maybe not if you are a serious person without any humour. They are releasing their debut album from 1986 in a new and reformed fashion which is kind of like the new Batman movie series which is a remake of a remake of a movie based on a television series that was based on a comic figure. As I said the recycling has always been a central part of what Tarot is doing.

Sound wise this band sound exactly like heavy metal, period!

So what about this remake then, twentyfive years has passed so there has to be differences, or has it? Well, yes there has to be but you will have to look quite hard for them at first glance but one thing you will notice quite fast is that the production is better. Another thing is the fact that there is an additional vocalist so that we don’t only need to live with the rather terrible vocal skills of Marko Hietala and that is of course something that constitute a change for the better.

Overall though I think that the changes are too small and it still feel like it is more of recycling than using the old cans and bottles to make something new and amazing, I don’t really think Tarot understand those two words: new and amazing as they carry a meaning they have never really heard about. Though it could also be thought of as Marko Hietala spending most of his skill on Nightwish the more well known finnish band of which he is a part and sees Tarot as a side/hobby project and does not invest any more than that into it. I have no idea but the fact remains that Tarot does sound and has always sounded like they don’t want to add something new, they are the musical equivalent to Swedish organisation Returpack who are responsible for the recycling of drink bottles and cans amongst others and then turning it into new cans and bottles much like Tarot find music they like and turn it into new similar music they like, which of course is a simplified way to look at it.

I am not saying that they are bad because they are not, they are a decent band but I wish they would stop just copying everything that has already been done and try to do something that feels like it is their own and their own ideas and not things that has been done many times before. There are ten tracks on the album and the best thing about these is that they keep them within the length of the good old vinyl record which is slightly over forty minutes which feels acceptable for this kind of album, anything longer and I would not have been as nice to them.

The title track is the best track on the album, it is a good song but nothing fantastic and revolutionary but then again, who expects that from Tarot? The rest of the tracks are good but forgetful which is actually a quote that works rather well for the entire album as well, it is good but forgetful.

I find that in the end I see no real point in this album, if you have The Spell of Iron from 1986 there is no reason whatsoever to get this album. If you want one of them, this album is clearly better as it sounds nicer and more modern. But as I said, I see no point in this album at all, maybe as a giveaway to commemorate the 25th birthday of the album but to sell it, it feels more like a ripoff than anything else. But seriously I cannot just bash this album as it is still good enough and that is in the end the main part in how we review music.

I think that in this case it would have been better not to recycle as it brings nothing new to the table, it is decent enough for a decent rating though.


Label - Nuclear Blast
Three similar bands - Nightwish/Judas Priest/Iron Maiden
Reviewer: Daniel Källmalm