Gravity Of Light
posted on 6/2010 By:
For anyone keeping track of Finnish metal, Tarot bassist / vocalist Marco Hietala is also a member of operatic metallers Nightwish. Like Nightwish, Tarot sports a pristine production and an epic expanse, and in pompous power metal tradition, Gravity Of Light boasts omnipresent keyboard string pads and soaring vibrato-laden choruses. In places, dashes of melancholic moodiness sit neatly atop doomy riffs; more often, epic fist-pumping melodies soar beyond the perfectly polished guitar crunch; everywhere the dueling vocalists emote and over-emote above the angelic-keyboard-tinged sounds of Bruce Dickinson, Queensryche, Dio, and Helloween all mashed together and slathered with the appropriate studio sheen.
So, yeah this is more than a bit bombastic, and yeah, it’s super-slick, but when it rocks, it rocks in a manner that hits that power metal sweet-spot.
The only real problem is that it doesn’t quite consistently rock. Or rather, it doesn’t quite rock consistently. Either way…
Gravity Of Light starts out strong, with the goofy-but-catchier’n-hell "Satan Is Dead," before then dropping tempo into the near-doom crunch of "Hell Knows" and back into the stomping "Rise." And then after that, Gravity hits something of a wall. The broken-down middle section of "Magic And Technology" is well-done and memorable, if stranded in an otherwise ho-hum tune. After that, while all is sugary sweet on the first spins, over time, the last bit of Gravity descends mostly into blandness, with unerring but ultimately unexciting tracks after the album’s midway point, songs that aren’t exactly weak but simply forgettable. The sole exception to that is "I Walk Forever." With its staccato riff and ‘Ryche-like bridge, it’s the single track from the album’s final segment that I can remember after the record stops.
Beyond the issue of complete-and-lasting impression, which is to say "on the first half of the record," everything is well within Tarot-land. Marco is a damn good singer, despite a wide epic vibrato that might turn off some listeners, and new(ish) co-vocalist Tommi Salmela has an Ozzy-like whine to his voice that is mostly pleasing but can tread upon grating. While Salmela’s lead-vocalist turns are generally the weaker moments of the disc, his position as a call-and-response backing ably augments Marco’s firmer grasp of the band’s needs. Sonically, everything on Gravity is masterfully performed and produced, perhaps too much so for many tastes, with no rough edges in either aspect. (It is power metal, after all, y’know…)
Overall, Gravity Of Light is a mostly solid record, a disc that opens majestically and that does regrettably drag on the back end. For the portion that works, power metal fans would be interested, and trad metal fans would be pleased, although both will experience diminishing returns. The rest of you would be perfectly happy to avoid the whole thing.
Register to post comments.