Tarot was originally formed by the Hietala brothers in the early 80's. Back then the band's name was called "Purgatory". As Purgatory reached the point when they got the record deal, the label wanted Purgatory to change their name. Since then the band has been known as Tarot. Also the line-up settled in to the form of Marco Hietala (bass/vocals), Zachary Hietala (guitars), Mako H (guitars) and Pecu Cinnari (drums).
Wings of Darkness single saw the daylight in 1986 and during that same year they released their first full length album which was titled as "Spell of Iron". Next year they released again a single and it was called "Rose on the Grave". In 1988 the second Tarot album came out, this time the title was " Follow Me Into Madness ". In the eighties everything was "big" so Tarot played with enormous equipment. Even the roadies of Metallica were amazed by the Marshall piles of Tarot.
After the second album there was a brake in Tarot-land. Durind this "vacation" the line-up changed a little bit and a keyboardist was added to the band as Janne Tolsa joined Tarot, who replaced the second guitarist Mako H. And after five years of more and less silence the third album, To Live Forever , was finished in 1993. Tarot got good publicity in Japan so their first live album was released in 1994 only in Japan. The gig was recorded at Tavastia Club, Helsinki. Fortunately some of the songs from the live album were released during the next year on a limited edition bonus cd with the next studio album, Stigmata .
Again there was a little break in the timeline and "For The Glory of Nothing" came out in 1998. Also during the same year, Shining Black, a Tarot compilation album came out in Japan. After this they returned into silence. Luckily the silent wasn't complete, they did gigs here and there. But when Tarot wasn't active, Marco was. He played in Conquest and Sinergy. He also did some gigs with the other Conquest guys as a cover group "Metal Gods". Marco also joined Nightwish in 2002 and along that, some more attention came also towards Tarot. Janne Tolsa played the keyboards for Virtuocity's Secret Visions album as Marco sang a few songs for it. At the end of summer 2002 Tarot did a special 80's gig in Kuopio, they played material only from the first two albums. And to complete the 80's the guys looked like they were still stuck in the 80's!
During the year 2003 the Shining Black compilation was released again in the rest of the world. Tarot signed a new record deal with Spinefarm Records and the new studio album Suffer Our Pleasures was released.
The Suffer album did quite well here in Finland, but somehow the record company, at that time, managed to blow it up in the foreign countries. The album was real hard to come by in foreign record stores and the advertising was done poorly. This was naturally a big disappointment for the band as once again the album included some of the greatest material the band had ever written. Despite the negative aspects of the album's marketing, Suffer Our Pleasures opened new doors and gave the band more underground status than ever. Thanks for the active touring.
Three years have now passed since the release of the Suffer Our Pleasures album. A lot has happened between 2003 and 2006, some great and some not so great moments.
During these years Marco kept busy with his another band Nightwish by recording and touring around the world. Janne did the album with Eternal Tears of Sorrow and a lot of gigs with an industrial metal band called Turmion Kätilöt. In 2006 it was time for Tarot to get serious again.
Early spring 2006 the late record company Bluelight Records released a Re-Masters collection, which included all the first six albums with a huge collection of bonus material, un-released demos, live and special versions of the songs and some covers. Some of the albums were also remixed.
The fans had been expected the re-releases for years and the collection succeed so well that in May 2006 when Tarot released the new single "You", it made number one on the Finnish charts for the first time in the history of Tarot.
In the same time the band formalized their backing vocalist Tommi "Tuple" Salmela as a true band member, after being with the band more than ten years.
Now Tarot is able to perform more widen vocal performances than ever, using two lead singers as a band called Deep Purple did in the golden era with Coverdale/Hughes.
Tarot changed the record label again and now they work in Finland with KingFoo Entertaiment. Kingfoo Entertainment is at the same their booking and management agency.
Summer 2006 was been really busy for the band as the band toured various clubs and festivals throughout the summmer. In the mean time Tarot also composed, demoed and recorded new material.
The new album is called Crows Fly Black - the darkest and gloomiest Tarot album written to date. Only the crows fly black...