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gasmask_colostomy
Metalhead

Joined: Thu May 27, 2010 5:38 am
Posts: 846
Location: Behind the wall of fire
PostPosted: Sat Dec 07, 2019 9:05 am 
 

Animalistic wrote:
Anyone willing to offer a word on review ideology, or more specifically where to draw the line in your review content? I'm looking to write a review that stakes part of itself in providing a thesis over what genre an album fits into. I'm not exactly looking to use this thesis as the meat of the review, but I find it an interesting view and a good jumping off point to what makes or breaks the specific piece of music.

In my head, I would like to shed light on why I think people might have some misthoughts on an album, without bringing that actual strife into the review itself. Is writing a review with the idea of using it as a bit of a postmortem, and reviewing it through that specific lens (album is great viewed as blend of ___ and ___ ) worth writing or reading? I've never seen anyone discuss this view point, and believe it to be an exciting way to consume the album and look at a band's progression.

My apologies if this was a bit hard to understand, as I'm having a hard time parsing my own thoughts on what I'd like to make and why it might not be a fair review.

Sounds alright, as long as it focuses on specifics of the album in question. However, you should be sure that the debate is really worth having before you write that. If it was your own weird opinion and had no grounds, people wouldn't really want to read that.

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Animalistic
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Sat Dec 07, 2019 12:00 am
Posts: 5
Location: United States
PostPosted: Mon Dec 09, 2019 8:24 pm 
 

gasmask_colostomy wrote:
Sounds alright, as long as it focuses on specifics of the album in question. However, you should be sure that the debate is really worth having before you write that. If it was your own weird opinion and had no grounds, people wouldn't really want to read that.


No weird opinions or straw men here. Just curious if it’s worth making a reader consider an album with a certain perspective. Thank you for the feedback!

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Cat III
Metal newbie

Joined: Fri Apr 21, 2017 11:44 am
Posts: 318
Location: United States
PostPosted: Tue Dec 10, 2019 4:19 pm 
 

Putting an album in context and providing a perspective on it that we may not have considered is one of the things that can make reviews worth reading, so I say have at it. Just be sure your thoughts on the subject are substantive, i.e. supported by the contents of the album itself with examples you provide. It could even be the "meat" of the review as long as the discussion directly involves the music itself so readers will get an idea of what the record sounds like and if it's something they'd be interested in.

Let me know once you've published your review. I'm interested in reading it.
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Animalistic
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Sat Dec 07, 2019 12:00 am
Posts: 5
Location: United States
PostPosted: Thu Dec 12, 2019 6:02 pm 
 

Cat III wrote:
Putting an album in context and providing a perspective on it that we may not have considered is one of the things that can make reviews worth reading, so I say have at it. Just be sure your thoughts on the subject are substantive, i.e. supported by the contents of the album itself with examples you provide. It could even be the "meat" of the review as long as the discussion directly involves the music itself so readers will get an idea of what the record sounds like and if it's something they'd be interested in.

Let me know once you've published your review. I'm interested in reading it.


To be honest, I’m not sure if I see any other way of writing it. I either include the ideology entirely and it bleeds through out the piece, and I use it to compliment (or detract) in my elaboration. Making just a mention of it without any discussion past my theory would be weak for the review, I think.

I’ll keep you posted, and odds are the review will get posted here first. Between work and making music, the review will fall, well, somewhere in my priorities. I have a lot to hammer out, to make my point as clear as can be. With trying to prove that I believe there’s an odd combination of genres going on, I’m finding myself having to spend more time on clearing up my thoughts on the matter, and researching to see if I’m even right or it’s just a gut feeling.

Oddly enough, I was set off on this whole idea by more than just my own feelings. I was looking through the band’s webarchived site and saw that they had listed their sub genres, with black metal being one of them. Yet past that one webarchived page, I’ve never seen them use the tag, nor have I seen anyone else ever make mention of it. So I’m rather passionate about getting this right in hopes of making a direct link to the influence.

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Grave_Wyrm
Metal Sloth

Joined: Sun Mar 04, 2012 5:55 pm
Posts: 3921
Location: Across the croggy plain
PostPosted: Sat Dec 21, 2019 1:29 pm 
 

Animalistic wrote:
Just curious if it’s worth making a reader consider an album with a certain perspective.

What is that perspective? It's difficult to recommend a course of action with so little to go on.

Considering that you're having trouble parsing your thoughts in the most general terms, I'd suggest workshopping your premise here before launching into the full review.

What is the new perspective you're hoping to encourage? What's your motivation? What examples are you going to give to clarify your position? Without clarity and precision, this will get confusing pretty fast. If you're going to brainstorm, do it here first and not in your first draft. That can be discouraging and make you drop the project.

So clarify your concept here first. Worry about the review once the basic questions are answered.
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The all powerful Steve
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Mon Jul 15, 2019 1:38 pm
Posts: 1
Location: United Kingdom
PostPosted: Sun Jan 19, 2020 6:35 pm 
 

The first release of Gaahls wyrd a new project fronted by infamous Norwegian black metal musician Kristian ‘Gaahl’ Espedal.
The first thing one tends to think about when you hear the name Gaahl, apart from ominously and pretentiously uttering the word Satan with long pauses like an edgy preteen, is Gorgorth and their intensity as well as spectacular live shows. While Gorgorth served as a powerful and abrasive sounding black metal assault, that is likely to get your neighbors to assume your sacrificing goats in your house, Gaahls wyrd serves as a more atmospheric and grand sound.
Right from the first song, we can see this. The first song is called Ek Eriler and it gives ominous ambient sounds and then kicks in with the first blackened riff. This blackened assault then slowly transitions into chanting which makes the listener imagine an evil cult conducting a sermon and returns to ambient playing which gives a cold and isolated feel. For an opening track, it sets the mood surprisingly well. The second song is most memorable for me as it gives an incredibly intense black metal feel similar to Gorgorth which I enjoy. the riffing is intense and the music is dark and its perfect for any black metal listener. But what interested me in this song was the guitar tone. It is less harsh than black metal and reminded me of more iron maiden sounding guitar work. This blended well with the song as it gave contrast to most black metal albums and also allowed the musicians on the album to show off some of their technical skills. Gaahl's voice is great on this song as he replaces intensity and heaviness with the atmosphere. His clean singing, in particular, is very effective in sending shivers down the spine but I will talk more on that later. The drumming on from the spear is also fantastic as it has a very militaristic quality which helps bring some speed to the song and keep it interesting and rhythmic. The song carving the voices stands out on the album. It is the main single from the album. If ever there was a song that nailed atmosphere it would bow down to the pure musical majesty of this song. Gaahl's voice as I mentioned earlier is deep and ominous which helps keep a dark tone of the song and helps create images of dark Norwegian landscapes and forests. The song has only one growled line but the use of the singular line helps bring a climax to the song. The growl is delivered by transitioning a sung line into a growl which helps up the intensity of the track. Lastly, there is a section in the song where Gaahl lets out a long hauntingly delivered cry which drips with the emotion of pain and helps the listener get into the head-space of the song. The musicianship is also incredible in this song as the guitar playing is fast but not to the point where it is distracting. If you weren’t going to purchase the album give this track a listen and see if it changes your mind.

in conclusion, despite the design of the album has quite a minimalist style, the content is grand and powerful and the only downside to the album is that all the stand out songs for me were on the first half of the album. But with grim soundscapes and powerful singing, this is an album you can’t afford to miss.

Any feedback you guys could give me would be much appreciated. Be as mean as you want.

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droneriot
incelgender

Joined: Sat Aug 28, 2004 1:17 pm
Posts: 9551
Location: Spahn Ranch
PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2020 4:21 am 
 

No need to be mean. Just proofread. And then proofread again. Not just the spelling and grammar but the wording, too. Read it out loud and listen if you sound like you're making sense.
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Lane
Metal newbie

Joined: Sat Nov 09, 2002 11:54 am
Posts: 285
Location: Finland
PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2020 6:33 am 
 

I wrote a lengthy review for Helloween 'Keeper of the Seven Keys - The Legacy'. It does include bits about every song, just because it is so varied, music-wise (just like 'Chameleon').

I'd appreciate if you could read it and tell me, if it was suitable to be included in MA, thank you:

http://archaicmetallurgy.com/review.php?rid=1514
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gasmask_colostomy
Metalhead

Joined: Thu May 27, 2010 5:38 am
Posts: 846
Location: Behind the wall of fire
PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2020 7:54 am 
 

The all powerful Steve wrote:
The first release of Gaahls wyrd a new project fronted by infamous Norwegian black metal musician Kristian ‘Gaahl’ Espedal.
Spoiler: show
The first thing one tends to think about when you hear the name Gaahl, apart from ominously and pretentiously uttering the word Satan with long pauses like an edgy preteen, is Gorgorth and their intensity as well as spectacular live shows. While Gorgorth served as a powerful and abrasive sounding black metal assault, that is likely to get your neighbors to assume your sacrificing goats in your house, Gaahls wyrd serves as a more atmospheric and grand sound.
Right from the first song, we can see this. The first song is called Ek Eriler and it gives ominous ambient sounds and then kicks in with the first blackened riff. This blackened assault then slowly transitions into chanting which makes the listener imagine an evil cult conducting a sermon and returns to ambient playing which gives a cold and isolated feel. For an opening track, it sets the mood surprisingly well. The second song is most memorable for me as it gives an incredibly intense black metal feel similar to Gorgorth which I enjoy. the riffing is intense and the music is dark and its perfect for any black metal listener. But what interested me in this song was the guitar tone. It is less harsh than black metal and reminded me of more iron maiden sounding guitar work. This blended well with the song as it gave contrast to most black metal albums and also allowed the musicians on the album to show off some of their technical skills. Gaahl's voice is great on this song as he replaces intensity and heaviness with the atmosphere. His clean singing, in particular, is very effective in sending shivers down the spine but I will talk more on that later. The drumming on from the spear is also fantastic as it has a very militaristic quality which helps bring some speed to the song and keep it interesting and rhythmic. The song carving the voices stands out on the album. It is the main single from the album. If ever there was a song that nailed atmosphere it would bow down to the pure musical majesty of this song. Gaahl's voice as I mentioned earlier is deep and ominous which helps keep a dark tone of the song and helps create images of dark Norwegian landscapes and forests. The song has only one growled line but the use of the singular line helps bring a climax to the song. The growl is delivered by transitioning a sung line into a growl which helps up the intensity of the track. Lastly, there is a section in the song where Gaahl lets out a long hauntingly delivered cry which drips with the emotion of pain and helps the listener get into the head-space of the song. The musicianship is also incredible in this song as the guitar playing is fast but not to the point where it is distracting. If you weren’t going to purchase the album give this track a listen and see if it changes your mind.

in conclusion, despite the design of the album has quite a minimalist style, the content is grand and powerful and the only downside to the album is that all the stand out songs for me were on the first half of the album. But with grim soundscapes and powerful singing, this is an album you can’t afford to miss.


Any feedback you guys could give me would be much appreciated. Be as mean as you want.

Steve, to really become all powerful, you need to sort out your grammar, spelling, and punctuation. That might sound boring, but the review will definitely be rejected because there are loads of mistakes in here. Put in Microsoft Word and note where all the red lines are. Yes, you need capital letters to start every sentence. Yes, you need capital letters for people's names and for song's names. Yes, you need to use commas in your sentences. I think the part that makes it clear you haven't checked it is how you've spelt "Gaahl's Wyrd" and "Gorgoroth" wrong several times.

Your actual description is not bad, giving a good idea about how the music sounds. That's great, because it means you know what you're talking about. Having a better structure would make it clearer though, so you need to introduce paragraphs and separate different ideas into 3 or 4 points. Try not to talk about every song, because that will get the review rejected too. Just pick some suitable examples, and you'll be able to describe the album fine. Good luck with that!

Lane wrote:
I wrote a lengthy review for Helloween 'Keeper of the Seven Keys - The Legacy'. It does include bits about every song, just because it is so varied, music-wise (just like 'Chameleon').

I'd appreciate if you could read it and tell me, if it was suitable to be included in MA, thank you.

Lane, I think the review will probably be rejected for the reason that you mention. It mentions each song in order, so it's too obvious to miss. Personally, I don't find the structure of the review helpful, because it separates all the songs and then all the musicians too carefully, plus it's much too long for what you need to say.

Why not talk about the two epic tracks as a comparison, pick some other songs you think work well, and criticize some of the pieces you didn't like? You will probably talk about the contribution of each bandmember at the same time, as well as summarizing the overall sound of the album better. To be honest, reviewing it in that very formulaic way is kind of boring.

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TheMeh
Metal newbie

Joined: Tue Jun 24, 2014 10:18 pm
Posts: 50
Location: United States
PostPosted: Mon Jan 27, 2020 5:08 pm 
 

I don't suppose you guys might be willing to give me some feedback on my latest review - Devin Townsend's 'Ziltoid the Omniscient'? https://www.metal-archives.com/reviews/ ... Meh/339203

I kind of feel like parts of it might be incredibly dense (in good ways, of course), but I overall feel like it's one of my strongest-written up to now. I just want to kind of gauge how others may feel before I consider this review to be up there with my better ones.
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gasmask_colostomy
Metalhead

Joined: Thu May 27, 2010 5:38 am
Posts: 846
Location: Behind the wall of fire
PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2020 5:25 am 
 

TheMeh wrote:
I don't suppose you guys might be willing to give me some feedback on my latest review - Devin Townsend's 'Ziltoid the Omniscient'? https://www.metal-archives.com/reviews/ ... Meh/339203

I kind of feel like parts of it might be incredibly dense (in good ways, of course), but I overall feel like it's one of my strongest-written up to now. I just want to kind of gauge how others may feel before I consider this review to be up there with my better ones.

It might be one of your better ones, although I've not read all of them, perhaps several in total. Why's it better than some others? You give some useful details about what makes the album special, such as Devin becoming a father, Thordendal helping with the drum programming, its self-referencing to other parts of Devin's discography. You've got a lot of knowledge about SYL/Devin and that's the best thing about doing a discography review - you can interlink your comments.

On the other hand, this review still has those hallmarks of your writing that frustrate me as a reader. Essentially, it's one single issue, but I'll break it down into 3 parts: wordiness, grammar, and lack of focus.


1. I feel like you're trying to say simple things in a complex way. Readers won't take you more seriously if you use bigger words and longer sentences - they will stop reading, because it's annoying. This is the sentence that opens your second paragraph:
TheMeh wrote:
...and so, it is with that sentiment that I have sat down, pondering the approach I would end up undertaking, writing this review for 'Ziltoid The Omniscient' - an album that, by all means, should not work as well as it does on paper, but exceedingly exemplifies these core ideological pathways in a strange, grandiose way.


Here's my rewriting of that, minus wordiness:
gas wrote:
That subjectivity is key to this review, because 'Ziltoid The Omniscient' is an album that works better and seems grander than it appears on paper.


Some of your sentences are so convoluted that they just get lost halfway. Can you explain what happened to the other part of that clause with 'he'? Do you know what 'its' refers to? Well, I sure don't.
TheMeh wrote:
In that, by the end of this album, the representative god has bestowed the knowledge that he, and all surrounding the world this album creates - that we are all puppets of its will.



2. Part of the issue is that, when you complicate these sentences and use unnecessary synonyms, it gets difficult to follow the grammar. It really doesn't help that there are lots of grammar mistakes (or phrasal errors) that make those sentences even harder for the reader to follow. Let's check out the first paragraph to see what's going on (bold text shows changes):
TheMeh wrote:
In the grand schema scheme of The Metal Archives, there is no real "right" way to review - or, there is no right way to identify that which we might quantify to be regarded as "politically correct writing". Regarding mannerisms and the like, each and every person has a methodology, a practitioner's touch, to for their product. It translate translates to a lot of different mediums, if we're being honest - there is no right way to really do anything. Music has been, and will continue to be, written to be both good or bad (1. either/or; both/and; 2. you surely don't mean that music is intended to be bad) - and if we are to be objective in our pursuit as critics of a medium, we should acknowledge and accept these kinds of ideal paths. After all - what is a real "right", if our understanding of that correct ideological right is considered in the pretense that all else surrounding cannot be, by definition, perfect and infallible to being wrong? (I can't make any sense of this sentence at all. Are you talking about "right" as an adjective or a noun? What does "infallible to being wrong" mean?) Indeed, there have even been times where I, myself, have found my logic and ideals have proven to become incorrect over time - recently, in fact. Of course, it's logical to say that these issues are the probable result , if not responsible, of being borne of a volition to write writing a product out of from pure emotional surges, or that the product one writes simply does not exemplify the core beliefs that said person once believed in, when makingthat product at its initial stages was first made.


And then here's what happens if you reduce the wordiness of that opening paragraph:
gas wrote:
.

That's right. It wasn't relevant to your review at all. If you re-read the review critically, I think you would know that too.


3. I think the above example should show something about the lack of focus. As a reader, I'm usually okay with reading one introductory paragraph - maybe two at a stretch - that promises to reveal something deeper about the album in question. However, your introduction seems to just be padding, and that was evident before I had finished reading the first few sentences. That introduction should read "This album deserves to be viewed subjectively." Then you can skip straight to this sentence, which - with a few tweaks - is an awesome opening sentence.
TheMeh wrote:
As, with all things, tThe creation of one item can spurn spring from the creations of another, or destruction of another.


However, the lack of focus also extends to the meat of the review. During the musical comments, this sentence really stood out to me.
TheMeh wrote:
Aspect-wise, it should be said that the collage of sounds we've been given are relatively flawed by design - and that is, itself, due to the mixing of the album.

But do you ever tell the reader what's wrong with the mixing? Unfortunately, I can't find that part. When you say something, you've got to explain it. Don't switch to another topic until you've explained it. With that in mind, try to choose one thing to discuss per paragraph. That might keep your writing moving forward more logically. Also, please review your writing before you submit it; I'm sure you can find lots of these things by reading it over.


Mr. Meh, if you've read this far, then I truly believe you're going to be a good writer, because it means you can take advice and think about how to improve. I know that I've picked apart your review a great deal, but - as I wrote above - there's really just one problem with your writing style, and that's focus. You need to focus on the big things, such as your opinion of the album and what the album generally sounds like. Then you need to focus on the small things, such as how to make your points clear and orderly, as well as what grammar will help the reader to understand. In general, take it easy, and keep trying. Maybe it will help to think about this quote that I like:
Albert Einstein wrote:
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough."

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Tekdeth
Metal newbie

Joined: Sat Dec 21, 2019 6:32 pm
Posts: 56
PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2020 3:47 pm 
 

I'd like some feedback on the first draft of my review. The album in question is Illuminations of Vile Engorgement by Enmity. This is my first review and I plan to write more (and become a better writer) regardless of how bad this one might be, therefore anything is appreciated.

Spoiler: show
One small step for man, one giant leap for brutal death metal – 90%

Brutal death metal has never been a genre known for its innovation, nor will it ever quite be. Few genres can have the word ‘hyperbole’ as a general descriptor of their musical aspects. It is this descriptor that might cause one to conclude that brutal death metal leaves no room for the aforementioned innovation. After all, isn’t the genre already an ‘innovation’ of old-school death metal? What are you going to do, re-innovate a genre? The first time that I asked myself this question something strange happened. I heard a low, gurgling voice utter something, which I interpreted as the words “kind of”. I shrugged, being used to stuff like this. It wasn’t until this same voice continued by uttering “by the way, my voice is not pitch-shifted” that I froze. How the fuck can someone produce such sound naturally?

That is one of the many questions I had upon first listening to this album, alongside “Is this even metal?”, “Do people actually enjoy listening to this?” and more. The aforementioned term ‘innovation’ certainly wasn’t one of the first things that came to mind. Though the route I travelled to arrive at that term is interesting to say the least. Before I was first sonically assaulted by this album, I had read some of the reviews. Surprised by the huge contrast between the individual ratings, I already started to form an opinion, having not actually heard anything yet. That opinion would have translated to a 50% rating. I looked up the album on YouTube immediately after. A sound f̶i̶l̶l̶e̶d̶ entered my ears (the volume and quality of the audio were low). After turning up the volume I began concentrating. Most of my attention was grabbed by the near-constant vocals, which I found to be too high in the mix at first. The drums were also able to get a hold of my attention, though it appeared the guitar was playing hide & seek. He would appear five seconds into the album (in the form of a slam), only to seemingly vanish again. Luckily he couldn’t hide from the volume knob.

After confirming that the guitar was, against all odds, indeed omnipresent, I was already getting bored. I scrolled down to the comments, which gave me a good laugh. No one seemed to really take it seriously, and I left it at that for the day. My initial rating of 50% still stood (mentally, that was). My second time experiencing this album was a couple of weeks later. At that point, my interest in the album had risen again and I had read all of the reviews. Back on YouTube, I discovered that there was another upload of the album, with less views but way better quality. This is part of what led this second experience to be way more enjoyable than the first. The fact that I had become more acquainted with brutal death metal in general in the weeks before also played a role. It started to make sense to me that this sort of music is an extreme case of ‘acquired taste’. I suddenly enjoyed the vocals a lot more, I could make out the guitar better and the overall atmosphere of the album really started to grow on me. It all clicked. In fact, every consecutive listen made me enjoy the album more.

Contrary to some reviewers, I think the production of the album is quite fitting for what it’s trying to achieve (though I hated the production at first too). It really helps create this atmosphere of brutality, something I had never quite heard before. Turning the vocals down and the guitars up would have made this album somewhat generic and less enjoyable in my opinion.

It dawned on me that I was basically listening to the purest, most monotonous ‘brutal’ death metal possible. I put brutal in quotation marks because my definition of brutality does not quite align with the general it seems. Though I’m sure that for most people this album is certainly very brutal (it is for me too, but certainly not the most brutal I’ve heard). I want to conclude this review by re-addressing the part about innovation: this album is innovative in the sense of hyperbolic ‘purification’. It strips away anything that doesn’t really belong in the genre, and pushes the inherent aspects to their limits. I definitely consider it a leap forward in the genre, which is something that seemed impossible. That is what makes this album so special.

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TheMeh
Metal newbie

Joined: Tue Jun 24, 2014 10:18 pm
Posts: 50
Location: United States
PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2020 9:46 pm 
 

You've given me a lot to respond to, and I wish to do so in kind, so... here goes.

gasmask_colostomy wrote:
TheMeh wrote:
I don't suppose you guys might be willing to give me some feedback on my latest review - Devin Townsend's 'Ziltoid the Omniscient'? https://www.metal-archives.com/reviews/ ... Meh/339203

I kind of feel like parts of it might be incredibly dense (in good ways, of course), but I overall feel like it's one of my strongest-written up to now. I just want to kind of gauge how others may feel before I consider this review to be up there with my better ones.

It might be one of your better ones, although I've not read all of them, perhaps several in total. Why's it better than some others? You give some useful details about what makes the album special, such as Devin becoming a father, Thordendal helping with the drum programming, its self-referencing to other parts of Devin's discography. You've got a lot of knowledge about SYL/Devin and that's the best thing about doing a discography review - you can interlink your comments.

On the other hand, this review still has those hallmarks of your writing that frustrate me as a reader. Essentially, it's one single issue, but I'll break it down into 3 parts: wordiness, grammar, and lack of focus.


This is probably the bulk of what I'm gonna quote from it - I did read everything else (I fuckin' appreciate the detail you put into that response), but... regardless.

For starters - I'm glad you did like aspects of my review, for sure! I appreciate the criticism too, for sure. Every review so far has felt like I've been honing the craft, and I'm glad to see that there's people around here like you to help guide along the way. With regards to the main sources I keep referring to with some of this information, Devin's site (hevydevy.com) has been nothing short of my best friend, as it mostly has just about all the main information and background that I need - which, is always better to me than Wikipedia, so, hey, 10/10 for me (also referring to lineup on the Archives of course). Don't necessarily pride myself on having the knowledge - but it definitely is handy!

I understand the criticisms, though. On the topic of wordiness itself... I hate to say that it's slowly evolved into my style of writing as of late. While I don't necessarily want to change it... I understand how it might be getting to a point where it's way too heavily wordy to an unnecessary level (maybe I just want to sound really official). While I may like the sentence you've cited as source for that, I can see why others might not appreciate that. So, on THAT end, I completely understand. In the future, I'll indeed look towards simplifying the whole shebang. On that particular cited sentence... might break that one up, too. Run-ons are a poisonous tendency that I simply don't catch sometimes!

Grammar, I suppose, is also fair, but I usually catch that. So... sorry on that one? I swear, I try to proofread as hard as I can. ADHD doesn't help.

...speaking of, focus is indeed an issue I come across a lot - and as much as I COULD blame the aforementioned disorder (which, to be fair, does not help at all - I've got a mind running a hundred miles a minute, man... I've got a lot on my mind xD), my integrity would probably take a hit. I think part of me realizes that my focus is all over the place - and I indeed believe that I SHOULD keep more of a focus on my writing and my big bullet points, i.e. mixing - although I usually do concisely keep that down to a bullet point for each paragraph. I think a part of me thought that music and the mixing fell hand and hand on this review. I could not tell you why I went that direction, though.

I've put this back in drafts for a moment - I'm going to take your criticisms into consideration while rewriting this, and hopefully I'll produce a bit of a better product for it. I'm not certain if this particular review will be quite to the caliber you've presented, of course - nor do I know if I'm going to outright abandon the style I've accustomed myself to (albeit being a good criticism) on this one. Of course, it's a process, sometimes, writing reviews - and I do try to take all the criticism to heart, and I do try to act better on those. Probably why the Explode the Commode interview is still in my drafts, if I'm being honest.

Either way - you've been an immense help. So, for that, I must commend ya - thanks a hell of a lot! It's helped immensely.
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TheMeh
Metal newbie

Joined: Tue Jun 24, 2014 10:18 pm
Posts: 50
Location: United States
PostPosted: Sat Feb 01, 2020 6:37 pm 
 

It’s probably facetious to ask again for feedback on the same review, but I would certainly like to hear what people think on it in this iteration.

https://www.metal-archives.com/reviews/ ... Meh/339203
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gasmask_colostomy
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2020 6:16 am 
 

TheMeh wrote:
It’s probably facetious to ask again for feedback on the same review, but I would certainly like to hear what people think on it in this iteration.

https://www.metal-archives.com/reviews/ ... Meh/339203

At first, I didn't think it was any different, but the second half is better. You still have that long nothingy intro and some really tangled sentences, but the musical part is better. I can see that you've tried to be more careful and more logical, and the analysis has gone a little deeper and become a little bit more justified. If that was your first draft, I would still make the same 3 points about it, though it's going the right way now.

TheMeh wrote:
On the topic of wordiness itself... I hate to say that it's slowly evolved into my style of writing as of late. While I don't necessarily want to change it... I understand how it might be getting to a point where it's way too heavily wordy to an unnecessary level (maybe I just want to sound really official).

Please don't make this your style. Wordiness never sounds important/official, it just sounds unnecessary. If you want to impress people with your writing, make really good points and make them clearly. Just like with an album, you'd hate to get several songs of filler watering down the great ideas.

TheMeh wrote:
ADHD doesn't help.

Yeah, I can definitely see how that makes things difficult. If I can make a suggestion, maybe you should give yourself a checklist for writing a review: make a little plan, write down the things that you think every review needs, then check them off one by one. Your second-to-last point will be "Check". Your last point will be "Check again". You wouldn't believe how much reading your own work helps, particularly the next day, when the original adrenaline has gone.

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gasmask_colostomy
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2020 6:32 am 
 

Tekdeth wrote:
I'd like some feedback on the first draft of my review. The album in question is Illuminations of Vile Engorgement by Enmity. This is my first review and I plan to write more (and become a better writer) regardless of how bad this one might be, therefore anything is appreciated.

Spoiler: show
One small step for man, one giant leap for brutal death metal – 90%

Brutal death metal has never been a genre known for its innovation, nor will it ever quite be. Few genres can have the word ‘hyperbole’ as a general descriptor of their musical aspects. It is this descriptor that might cause one to conclude that brutal death metal leaves no room for the aforementioned innovation. After all, isn’t the genre already an ‘innovation’ of old-school death metal? What are you going to do, re-innovate a genre? The first time that I asked myself this question something strange happened. I heard a low, gurgling voice utter something, which I interpreted as the words “kind of”. I shrugged, being used to stuff like this. It wasn’t until this same voice continued by uttering “by the way, my voice is not pitch-shifted” that I froze. How the fuck can someone produce such sound naturally?

That is one of the many questions I had upon first listening to this album, alongside “Is this even metal?”, “Do people actually enjoy listening to this?” and more. The aforementioned term ‘innovation’ certainly wasn’t one of the first things that came to mind. Though the route I travelled to arrive at that term is interesting to say the least. Before I was first sonically assaulted by this album, I had read some of the reviews. Surprised by the huge contrast between the individual ratings, I already started to form an opinion, having not actually heard anything yet. That opinion would have translated to a 50% rating. I looked up the album on YouTube immediately after. A sound f̶i̶l̶l̶e̶d̶ entered my ears (the volume and quality of the audio were low). After turning up the volume I began concentrating. Most of my attention was grabbed by the near-constant vocals, which I found to be too high in the mix at first. The drums were also able to get a hold of my attention, though it appeared the guitar was playing hide & seek. He would appear five seconds into the album (in the form of a slam), only to seemingly vanish again. Luckily he couldn’t hide from the volume knob.

After confirming that the guitar was, against all odds, indeed omnipresent, I was already getting bored. I scrolled down to the comments, which gave me a good laugh. No one seemed to really take it seriously, and I left it at that for the day. My initial rating of 50% still stood (mentally, that was). My second time experiencing this album was a couple of weeks later. At that point, my interest in the album had risen again and I had read all of the reviews. Back on YouTube, I discovered that there was another upload of the album, with less views but way better quality. This is part of what led this second experience to be way more enjoyable than the first. The fact that I had become more acquainted with brutal death metal in general in the weeks before also played a role. It started to make sense to me that this sort of music is an extreme case of ‘acquired taste’. I suddenly enjoyed the vocals a lot more, I could make out the guitar better and the overall atmosphere of the album really started to grow on me. It all clicked. In fact, every consecutive listen made me enjoy the album more.

Contrary to some reviewers, I think the production of the album is quite fitting for what it’s trying to achieve (though I hated the production at first too). It really helps create this atmosphere of brutality, something I had never quite heard before. Turning the vocals down and the guitars up would have made this album somewhat generic and less enjoyable in my opinion.

It dawned on me that I was basically listening to the purest, most monotonous ‘brutal’ death metal possible. I put brutal in quotation marks because my definition of brutality does not quite align with the general it seems. Though I’m sure that for most people this album is certainly very brutal (it is for me too, but certainly not the most brutal I’ve heard). I want to conclude this review by re-addressing the part about innovation: this album is innovative in the sense of hyperbolic ‘purification’. It strips away anything that doesn’t really belong in the genre, and pushes the inherent aspects to their limits. I definitely consider it a leap forward in the genre, which is something that seemed impossible. That is what makes this album so special.

Hi Tekdeth, your review shows a bit of promise, but seems unlikely to be accepted at the moment. The main reason is definitely musical description. I can't really figure out what the album would be like to listen to, even though I'm pretty sure it will be brutal death with loud vocals and quiet guitars. I'd really like to know what the vocals and guitars are actually doing (burps, grunts, roars, screams; slams, riffing, solos) and how the music changes. Give your reader something about bands that it sounds similar too, the pace of the music, a couple of individual songs. More than that, try to justify why you've given the album 90%. You say it's monotonous, and that has never been a good thing. Sure, you say it's pure, but not why pure is good here.

I've also colour-coded your paragraphs to show which parts have the most promise. Green is great and red is pretty useless to the reader. The introduction is interesting and develops the topic well, but the story about you going on YouTube several times really doesn't seem that relevant. You can tell the reader that the music grew on you, fine, just make sure you're talking about the music, not which YouTube video you used. (Remember that reviews on this site should be made based on the finished quality version of the album, not on some - potentially - lo-fi video.)

A good review will tell the reader what the album sounds like, and probably situate that album in the band's discography or the genre as a whole. I can see you're trying to do that, though you need to make sure your explanation helps the reader understand that too. You're a decent writer, and your approach of finding what distinguishes this album is interesting, so don't give up. Everyone's first few reviews took the longest to write.

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TheMeh
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2020 8:48 pm 
 

gasmask_colostomy wrote:
TheMeh wrote:
It’s probably facetious to ask again for feedback on the same review, but I would certainly like to hear what people think on it in this iteration.

https://www.metal-archives.com/reviews/ ... Meh/339203

At first, I didn't think it was any different, but the second half is better. You still have that long nothingy intro and some really tangled sentences, but the musical part is better. I can see that you've tried to be more careful and more logical, and the analysis has gone a little deeper and become a little bit more justified. If that was your first draft, I would still make the same 3 points about it, though it's going the right way now.

TheMeh wrote:
On the topic of wordiness itself... I hate to say that it's slowly evolved into my style of writing as of late. While I don't necessarily want to change it... I understand how it might be getting to a point where it's way too heavily wordy to an unnecessary level (maybe I just want to sound really official).

Please don't make this your style. Wordiness never sounds important/official, it just sounds unnecessary. If you want to impress people with your writing, make really good points and make them clearly. Just like with an album, you'd hate to get several songs of filler watering down the great ideas.

TheMeh wrote:
ADHD doesn't help.

Yeah, I can definitely see how that makes things difficult. If I can make a suggestion, maybe you should give yourself a checklist for writing a review: make a little plan, write down the things that you think every review needs, then check them off one by one. Your second-to-last point will be "Check". Your last point will be "Check again". You wouldn't believe how much reading your own work helps, particularly the next day, when the original adrenaline has gone.


I suppose it's going to be a while before I perfect my system. But I'm glad to see it's getting somewhere good.

These are all incredibly valid criticisms to be had, and I can say I'm glad to have them. (Though... I do already keep a concise layout in my head of what to hit on most of the time with albums - musical composition (sometimes breaking down specific segments), the mix/master, concept if there is one, and general sound overall. Not in that order always, but the layout's in my head to hit those bullet points, always.)

Either way, thank you for being so critical on me.
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Raw Ride
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2020 1:04 pm 
 

Hey all! I'm curious on where to go with this one because I'm not quite as confident with how I've written this one as I was with the two I've submitted so far. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks in advance!

Spoiler: show
Havok is a band that has plenty of potential to kick all kinds of ass. On a base level, it’s all there – the riffs sound fine, they’ve got energy and technical skill in them and Dave Sanchez has a bit of grit to his vocals (that’s eventually manifested into some manic fucking Paul Baloff-y shrieks, but that’s for another day). When they’re at their best, they pull off some real fucking rippers! When they’re not, they either at least have their moments, or they’re at least vaguely entertaining. A lot of <b>that</b> stems from knowing how good they are when they’re at their best, hoping for an album of that and then getting an album that’s half and half in that department. Time is Up exemplifies this fantastically as its best songs are the sort that propel Havok well past your typical modern thrash metal band and to the status of classic... and its other songs are pretty typical modern thrash, albeit very well played.

When “Prepare for Attack” barrels into frame, it’s all guns blazing with this blistering thrashing riff then slowing down a bit to prop up Sanchez belting his snarls out, getting us to rise up and take control before we... well, prepare for attack. Well, they’re certainly preparing for attack with this track as it hardly lets up with the thrash assault, except for these slight breaks prefacing a pre-solo and then a quick main solo before getting back to business. While it thrashes hard, it’s a remarkably melodic tune as the well-timed licks, the vocal arrangements and the gang vocals for the chorus – among other things – tie the song together to keep the song stuck in your head where the thrashing and Sanchez’s vocals are what initially grabs you by the testes. “Fatal Intervention” keeps a firm, firm grasp on them as, while it plays on many of the same cues as the opener, it changes a few things up with a pre-chorus lead that demands attention and the gang shouts and Sanchez’s almost voice-destroying screeches commanding respect during the chorus.

But the rest? Uhh... how do I put this? A lot of the other songs have some pretty sweet intros – either some melodic lick, a lead that sounds pretty cool or a riff that initially grabs you, thinking that the rest of the song is going to melt your face. Now, some of the songs manage to accomplish this. The closing titular song’s verse riffs are razor fucking sharp, “D.O.A.”’s chorus has those vocal melodies that stick well into your head almost like a Queen chorus, and “Killing Tendencies” rides on this groove that leads into this chorus that’s like musical tar. But other than that, the songs thrash on through without leaving as big of an impression as the first two songs. Like, if you’re in the mood for thrash metal that doesn’t require a lot of commitment or you’re lifting weights or something, this album will scratch that itch – the band is clearly talented, they know how to compose songs that fit within the thrash archetype and the solos, bass lines and vocals are generally well put together. But if you’re frugal with your listening time and want only the best, just keep right on going – maybe put the first two songs, “Killing Tendencies” and the titular song on your playlist and don’t look back. Now that’s a pretty fucking sweet EP right there.

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gasmask_colostomy
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 15, 2020 3:46 am 
 

Raw Ride wrote:
Hey all! I'm curious on where to go with this one because I'm not quite as confident with how I've written this one as I was with the two I've submitted so far. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks in advance!

Spoiler: show
Havok is a band that has plenty of potential to kick all kinds of ass. On a base level, it’s all there – the riffs sound fine, they’ve got energy and technical skill in them and Dave Sanchez has a bit of grit to his vocals (that’s eventually manifested into some manic fucking Paul Baloff-y shrieks, but that’s for another day). When they’re at their best, they pull off some real fucking rippers! When they’re not, they either at least have their moments, or they’re at least vaguely entertaining. A lot of <b>that</b> stems from knowing how good they are when they’re at their best, hoping for an album of that and then getting an album that’s half and half in that department. Time is Up exemplifies this fantastically as its best songs are the sort that propel Havok well past your typical modern thrash metal band and to the status of classic... and its other songs are pretty typical modern thrash, albeit very well played.

When “Prepare for Attack” barrels into frame, it’s all guns blazing with this blistering thrashing riff then slowing down a bit to prop up Sanchez belting his snarls out, getting us to rise up and take control before we... well, prepare for attack. Well, they’re certainly preparing for attack with this track as it hardly lets up with the thrash assault, except for these slight breaks prefacing a pre-solo and then a quick main solo before getting back to business. While it thrashes hard, it’s a remarkably melodic tune as the well-timed licks, the vocal arrangements and the gang vocals for the chorus – among other things – tie the song together to keep the song stuck in your head where the thrashing and Sanchez’s vocals are what initially grabs you by the testes. “Fatal Intervention” keeps a firm, firm grasp on them as, while it plays on many of the same cues as the opener, it changes a few things up with a pre-chorus lead that demands attention and the gang shouts and Sanchez’s almost voice-destroying screeches commanding respect during the chorus.

But the rest? Uhh... how do I put this? A lot of the other songs have some pretty sweet intros – either some melodic lick, a lead that sounds pretty cool or a riff that initially grabs you, thinking that the rest of the song is going to melt your face. Now, some of the songs manage to accomplish this. The closing titular song’s verse riffs are razor fucking sharp, “D.O.A.”’s chorus has those vocal melodies that stick well into your head almost like a Queen chorus, and “Killing Tendencies” rides on this groove that leads into this chorus that’s like musical tar. But other than that, the songs thrash on through without leaving as big of an impression as the first two songs. Like, if you’re in the mood for thrash metal that doesn’t require a lot of commitment or you’re lifting weights or something, this album will scratch that itch – the band is clearly talented, they know how to compose songs that fit within the thrash archetype and the solos, bass lines and vocals are generally well put together. But if you’re frugal with your listening time and want only the best, just keep right on going – maybe put the first two songs, “Killing Tendencies” and the titular song on your playlist and don’t look back. Now that’s a pretty fucking sweet EP right there.

I know the album you're talking about and agree there's a feeling of half measures with some of it. It should kick your ass, but doesn't quite finish the job. Your review gets that point across very clearly, and you've described the music reasonably well, though you could still make some improvements. Here's what I suggest:

Think deeper. Essentially, you've described a single issue with the album in quite a lot of detail, alongside a fairly general outline of what Havok's modern thrash style sounds like. Granted, you've picked a pertinent issue to focus on, since the album's style is pretty solid, yet it amounts in the end to saying, "This song is good, this one doesn't work so well." It might be nice to examine why the other songs don't really work, because the review currently lists strong points without spending much time on the weak elements. That makes it feel like you haven't listened to the album many times.

Choose your tone. This review swings from informal to formal very quickly. Look at the first paragraph: it starts very casually, with oral language and some swearing, then ends with a complex, formal sentence. That doesn't harm what you're saying exactly, but it shows your indecision about the album and also makes it a bit harder for the reader. I think unless the informal parts serve a particular purpose, you could probably make them more like regular written sentences.

Proofread and make changes. This is more of a style point, since you haven't made many grammar mistakes or anything like that. Take the first few sentences, where there are lots of lazy little things creeping in:
Raw Ride wrote:
Havok is a band that has plenty of potential to kick all kinds of ass. [These are just padding, and they make the sentence vague.] On a base level, it’s all there – the riffs sound fine [Fine? How the hell does kick ass?], they’ve got energy and technical skill in them and Dave Sanchez has a bit of grit to his vocals (that’s eventually manifested into some manic fucking Paul Baloff-y shrieks, but that’s for another day [Tell the reader now; they aren't going to phone you tomorrow to chat about it]). [Why not just expand the point about the vocals, instead of making most of it in brackets?] When they’re at their best, they pull off some real fucking rippers! When they’re not, they either at least [You've got 2 clauses with "at least" in, neither really needs it.] have their moments, or they’re at least vaguely entertaining. A lot of <b>that</b> [Sorry, a lot of what? They're vaguely entertaining during bad songs because their best songs are great? I'm not sure it makes sense.] stems from knowing how good they are when they’re at their best, hoping for an album of that and then getting an album that’s half and half in that department [Just a lazy phrase that says nothing. Are you talking about this album? All Havok albums? Or are you finishing a hypothetical thought that I haven't been able to follow?].

Proofreading for readability (not just grammar) at least once or twice on the review will greatly improve the quality of the writing, and probably help you make your points more clearly and logically.

Read the other reviews for the album if that helps, because I fancy someone has already mentioned the same kind of issue. If someone makes a point you agree with, you can emphasize it. If someone said something you don't like, state your reasons about why it's wrong. There's no point adding the same kind of review again, but you can always find something new to talk about.

Have a try at these things, and if you find the review isn't what you want, save a draft and keep it for a while. You'll probably be able to look at it more critically after some cooldown time.
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Raw Ride
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Joined: Tue Mar 12, 2019 9:42 am
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2020 11:56 pm 
 

I think with all the advice posted up, I've tightened up the review and gotten into sufficient detail about the weaker points. Cheers man!

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Tekdeth
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Joined: Sat Dec 21, 2019 6:32 pm
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 23, 2020 4:32 pm 
 

gasmask_colostomy wrote:
Tekdeth wrote:
I'd like some feedback on the first draft of my review. The album in question is Illuminations of Vile Engorgement by Enmity. This is my first review and I plan to write more (and become a better writer) regardless of how bad this one might be, therefore anything is appreciated.

Spoiler: show
One small step for man, one giant leap for brutal death metal – 90%

Brutal death metal has never been a genre known for its innovation, nor will it ever quite be. Few genres can have the word ‘hyperbole’ as a general descriptor of their musical aspects. It is this descriptor that might cause one to conclude that brutal death metal leaves no room for the aforementioned innovation. After all, isn’t the genre already an ‘innovation’ of old-school death metal? What are you going to do, re-innovate a genre? The first time that I asked myself this question something strange happened. I heard a low, gurgling voice utter something, which I interpreted as the words “kind of”. I shrugged, being used to stuff like this. It wasn’t until this same voice continued by uttering “by the way, my voice is not pitch-shifted” that I froze. How the fuck can someone produce such sound naturally?

That is one of the many questions I had upon first listening to this album, alongside “Is this even metal?”, “Do people actually enjoy listening to this?” and more. The aforementioned term ‘innovation’ certainly wasn’t one of the first things that came to mind. Though the route I travelled to arrive at that term is interesting to say the least. Before I was first sonically assaulted by this album, I had read some of the reviews. Surprised by the huge contrast between the individual ratings, I already started to form an opinion, having not actually heard anything yet. That opinion would have translated to a 50% rating. I looked up the album on YouTube immediately after. A sound f̶i̶l̶l̶e̶d̶ entered my ears (the volume and quality of the audio were low). After turning up the volume I began concentrating. Most of my attention was grabbed by the near-constant vocals, which I found to be too high in the mix at first. The drums were also able to get a hold of my attention, though it appeared the guitar was playing hide & seek. He would appear five seconds into the album (in the form of a slam), only to seemingly vanish again. Luckily he couldn’t hide from the volume knob.

After confirming that the guitar was, against all odds, indeed omnipresent, I was already getting bored. I scrolled down to the comments, which gave me a good laugh. No one seemed to really take it seriously, and I left it at that for the day. My initial rating of 50% still stood (mentally, that was). My second time experiencing this album was a couple of weeks later. At that point, my interest in the album had risen again and I had read all of the reviews. Back on YouTube, I discovered that there was another upload of the album, with less views but way better quality. This is part of what led this second experience to be way more enjoyable than the first. The fact that I had become more acquainted with brutal death metal in general in the weeks before also played a role. It started to make sense to me that this sort of music is an extreme case of ‘acquired taste’. I suddenly enjoyed the vocals a lot more, I could make out the guitar better and the overall atmosphere of the album really started to grow on me. It all clicked. In fact, every consecutive listen made me enjoy the album more.

Contrary to some reviewers, I think the production of the album is quite fitting for what it’s trying to achieve (though I hated the production at first too). It really helps create this atmosphere of brutality, something I had never quite heard before. Turning the vocals down and the guitars up would have made this album somewhat generic and less enjoyable in my opinion.

It dawned on me that I was basically listening to the purest, most monotonous ‘brutal’ death metal possible. I put brutal in quotation marks because my definition of brutality does not quite align with the general it seems. Though I’m sure that for most people this album is certainly very brutal (it is for me too, but certainly not the most brutal I’ve heard). I want to conclude this review by re-addressing the part about innovation: this album is innovative in the sense of hyperbolic ‘purification’. It strips away anything that doesn’t really belong in the genre, and pushes the inherent aspects to their limits. I definitely consider it a leap forward in the genre, which is something that seemed impossible. That is what makes this album so special.

Spoiler: show
Hi Tekdeth, your review shows a bit of promise, but seems unlikely to be accepted at the moment. The main reason is definitely musical description. I can't really figure out what the album would be like to listen to, even though I'm pretty sure it will be brutal death with loud vocals and quiet guitars. I'd really like to know what the vocals and guitars are actually doing (burps, grunts, roars, screams; slams, riffing, solos) and how the music changes. Give your reader something about bands that it sounds similar too, the pace of the music, a couple of individual songs. More than that, try to justify why you've given the album 90%. You say it's monotonous, and that has never been a good thing. Sure, you say it's pure, but not why pure is good here.

I've also colour-coded your paragraphs to show which parts have the most promise. Green is great and red is pretty useless to the reader. The introduction is interesting and develops the topic well, but the story about you going on YouTube several times really doesn't seem that relevant. You can tell the reader that the music grew on you, fine, just make sure you're talking about the music, not which YouTube video you used. (Remember that reviews on this site should be made based on the finished quality version of the album, not on some - potentially - lo-fi video.)

A good review will tell the reader what the album sounds like, and probably situate that album in the band's discography or the genre as a whole. I can see you're trying to do that, though you need to make sure your explanation helps the reader understand that too. You're a decent writer, and your approach of finding what distinguishes this album is interesting, so don't give up. Everyone's first few reviews took the longest to write.


Huge thanks for the feedback! I finally got around to re-writing the review. I left the first paragraph and part of the second paragraph as-is, but the rest has been completely rewritten. I tried to implement as much of your feedback as possible, mostly the part about musical description. If you have the time, I'd also like some feedback on this version. (No rush ofcourse, I highly appreciate the fact that you spend your time helping others at all)

Here's the review:
Spoiler: show
Album: Enmity – Illuminations of Vile Engorgement
One small step for man, one giant leap for brutal death metal – 90%

Brutal death metal has never been a genre known for its innovation, nor will it ever quite be. Few genres can have the word ‘hyperbole’ as a general descriptor of their musical aspects. It is this descriptor that might cause one to conclude that brutal death metal leaves no room for the aforementioned innovation. After all, isn’t the genre already an ‘innovation’ of old-school death metal? What are you going to do, re-innovate a genre? The first time that I asked myself this question something strange happened. I heard a low, gurgling voice utter something, which I interpreted as the words “kind of”. I shrugged, being used to stuff like this. It wasn’t until this same voice continued by uttering “by the way, my voice is not pitch-shifted” that I froze. How the fuck can someone produce such sound naturally?

That is one of the many questions I had upon first listening to this album, alongside “Is this even metal?”, “Do people actually enjoy listening to this?” and more. Innovation certainly wasn’t one of the first things that came to mind, though the route I travelled to arrive at that term is interesting to say the least. After having initially dismissed the album based on the quality of the YouTube video I listened to, I gave it another shot, this time with a high-quality version I downloaded. Immediate sonic assault followed: deep gurgling vocals, a blast beat & an insanely down tuned guitar just chugging along. No eerie intro, none of that bullshi… wait, what did you say? All the tracks were accidentally put in alphabetical order on the final release, so there is an intro but it’s actually track 5? Well that’s fucking ̶s̶t̶u̶p̶i̶d̶ brutal. Anyways, after about 5 seconds they deem it enough and the listener is blessed with a slam, a decent one even. The guitar sounds tuned down even more during the slam(s), so much so that the guitarist could probably use his bottom E string as a guitar strap too. His confidence in this particular slam is apparent, as he proceeds to play it again, only this time it’s even slower. After that it’s back to non-stop blasting, gurgling and chugging.

Now, I could copy & paste the above description another 8 times and end up with a pretty accurate description of my first experience with all of the tracks (besides track 5 and 11, as those are different). That, however, wouldn’t stand the test of time, as this album very much requires multiple listens to become interesting. After a couple of listens it became apparent that aside from the slams, there were actual good riffs being played during the parts that seemed completely monotonous at first. They are kind of hard to make out due to the guitar being relatively low in the mix (and also due to the vocals being very loud), but they are certainly audible. In my opinion, the necessary amount of variation is properly provided by these riffs. The drums occasionally contribute to the variation too: despite literal non-stop blasting during the non-slam parts, we can sometimes hear fills being played during the parts that do consist of slams.

All in all it seems that there are multiple things that make this album great (duh) and keep it from being monotonous. The intro being track 5 for example causes an Accidental Decrease of Monotony (hmm, my descriptions are starting to sound like BDM song titles…) due to the fact that it is a relatively quiet yet eerie ambient piece of about half a minute, creating a gap in the album (so to speak). Though it wasn’t intended, it kind of gives you some time to breathe again, which you might need if you’re used to listening to pop-rock bands like Brodequin or Defeated Sanity. Just kidding of course, though this is probably unlike anything you’ve heard before.

On that topic, sounding unlike anything heard before is surely an indication of innovation right? Indeed it is. Who would’ve thought about creating something original by turning all the metaphorical knobs up all the way? Only these 2 guys apparently, and I sincerely appreciate them for it. They stirred up quite the controversy and negative attention, but in the end we are left with this great piece of pure death metal (and as a bonus, we are also left with a nice little acoustic piece as an outro/closer). Interestingly, around a decade after this album’s release, the band Encenathrakh has made another successful attempt at pushing death metal to its limit. If you find this album interesting, I certainly recommend them too.

In conclusion, I see this album as a classic, both for being a true leap in the genre and for the huge amount of hate it received.

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