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gasmask_colostomy
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 13, 2020 7:23 pm 
 

EzraBlumenfeld wrote:
colin040 wrote:
For me it's often the other way around. Very rarely am I able to finish a review in one go and once that's the case, then it's with regards to albums I'm already very familiar with.

While this does help me get reviews done, the downside comes down to struggling reviews that are on-hold. Especially when some reviews seem to be like 75% done and just need some re-arrangements here and there, but oh well.


That's really interesting. I wrote three reviews today (my biggest output in quite a while) and every time I stopped for more than a few minutes I had to really concentrate to get myself back in the zone.

*****

Also: I finally hit the big one zero zero just now! :hyper:

Seriously, I’ve seen Colin’s folder of unfinished reviews - he’s not joking! Sometimes there’s like 20 in there at a time.

But Ezra, I write like you, each review is better finished in a single effort. I’m not really a big editor, because I believe that as a very frequent writer I shouldn’t be producing unreadable stuff on a first draft. That said, nor do I believe in tweaking to perfection. I could always go back and write the same review 5 different ways, but who does that help in the end? However, I’ll never delete a draft if I’ve made one. Just read that back to yourself and if it doesn’t make sense, either you’ve written something strange or you don’t know the album as well as you thought. Congrats on 100!
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Five_Nails
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 13, 2020 9:29 pm 
 

gasmask_colostomy wrote:
EzraBlumenfeld wrote:
colin040 wrote:
For me it's often the other way around. Very rarely am I able to finish a review in one go and once that's the case, then it's with regards to albums I'm already very familiar with.

While this does help me get reviews done, the downside comes down to struggling reviews that are on-hold. Especially when some reviews seem to be like 75% done and just need some re-arrangements here and there, but oh well.


That's really interesting. I wrote three reviews today (my biggest output in quite a while) and every time I stopped for more than a few minutes I had to really concentrate to get myself back in the zone.

*****

Also: I finally hit the big one zero zero just now! :hyper:

Seriously, I’ve seen Colin’s folder of unfinished reviews - he’s not joking! Sometimes there’s like 20 in there at a time.

But Ezra, I write like you, each review is better finished in a single effort. I’m not really a big editor, because I believe that as a very frequent writer I shouldn’t be producing unreadable stuff on a first draft. That said, nor do I believe in tweaking to perfection. I could always go back and write the same review 5 different ways, but who does that help in the end? However, I’ll never delete a draft if I’ve made one. Just read that back to yourself and if it doesn’t make sense, either you’ve written something strange or you don’t know the album as well as you thought. Congrats on 100!


Counting through a long Open Office doc with 188 false starts, nearly theres, abandoned series, and broken notes showed me that I really need to shit or get off the pot.

Maybe tomorrow.
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colin040
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2020 11:14 am 
 

gasmask_colostomy wrote:

*****

Also: I finally hit the big one zero zero just now! :hyper:

Seriously, I’ve seen Colin’s folder of unfinished reviews - he’s not joking! Sometimes there’s like 20 in there at a time.[/quote]

At one point I nearly got that number down to 0, but currently I'm on 9. I might have told you, but my goal for now is to get 100 completed by the end of this year.

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PETERG
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2020 12:03 pm 
 

Hey guys jumping on the conversation with a totally different matter of discussion.
How bad/good/not worth talking about is praising the archives in a review?

I mean what impression would it give to a newcomer or a simple visitor?
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TheBurningOfSodom
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2020 12:43 pm 
 

You'll probably have to be more specific about it. Praising in which ways?

Regardless of that, if I were a reader I doubt I would find that useful. Sure Metal Archives is a great resource but I don't think a review would be the most apt place to convince people of that. Of course, just my opinion - of a nobody on this site, that is.
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EzraBlumenfeld
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2020 12:48 pm 
 

PETERG wrote:
Hey guys jumping on the conversation with a totally different matter of discussion.
How bad/good/not worth talking about is praising the archives in a review?

I mean what impression would it give to a newcomer or a simple visitor?


Personally I'd avoid it as a reviewer. Every once in a while I see someone write something to the extent of "I discovered this band through the amazing Metal Archives," but that'd be my personal limit. I'm sure not every non-user understands that our reviews are moderated and user-submitted instead of being written by staff writers similar to Metal Injection or something. And as much as we all try to adhere to MA's rules when we write, I'd like to think my reviews would hold up pretty well if published exactly the same somewhere else.
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Twisted_Psychology
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2020 1:40 pm 
 

I try to avoid getting too meta in my reviews personally.
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Derigin
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2020 4:21 pm 
 

Best advice I can give is to write like you're writing a review that would be published on numerous websites.

This also gives you the flexibility that, if you ever do wish to post your review elsewhere, it won't require much if any editing.
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Lord_Of_Diamonds
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2020 9:52 pm 
 

Thanks to EzraBlumenfeld for writing that review of Devourment's Molesting the Decapitated. Pretty much sums up how I feel about it: poorly produced and sloppy, but the speed of it is impressive. I'd also give some points to it for incorporating real death metal (instead of just SLAMMYSLAMSLAMSLAM) and for having processed gurgling vocals that you can actually match with the lyrics from time to time, but it's still processed gurgling vocals. Come on, what's it take for a slam band to use real death growls?

Devourment is one of the few slam bands that I can tolerate from time to time, knowing that they're the originals and therefore that widely-imitated sound is their own. I even have a Devourment t-shirt. But there's not a single work of theirs that comes to mind right now that I have genuinely enjoyed or that has stuck in my head.

I might write a review for Obscene Majesty soon if I can find the time. The awful guitar tone on that album hasn't gotten nearly as much hate as it deserves.
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Ilwhyan
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 2:13 am 
 

Speed isn't a typical thing to pick up from Devourment, as it isn't anything out of ordinary for death metal of that period. Mike Smith and Flo Mounier wrote that playbook long before.

To me - if we're talking about drumming and rhythm - that album is characterised by the catchiness of the drumming. They have riffs where the snare drum is the lead instrument. The vocals have a strong role in leading the grooves as well. I guess it's mostly from de-emphasising the guitars, that were traditionally at the centre of everything in death metal. That album is all about the grooves, and talking about how the riffs are just chromatic chugging is missing the forest for the trees.

Have you considered that maybe the album is challenging the way you're conditioned to following the guitars on a death metal album to the detriment of the whole experience?
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Lord_Of_Diamonds
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 3:25 am 
 

Ilwhyan wrote:
Speed isn't a typical thing to pick up from Devourment, as it isn't anything out of ordinary for death metal of that period. Mike Smith and Flo Mounier wrote that playbook long before.

To me - if we're talking about drumming and rhythm - that album is characterised by the catchiness of the drumming. They have riffs where the snare drum is the lead instrument. The vocals have a strong role in leading the grooves as well. I guess it's mostly from de-emphasising the guitars, that were traditionally at the centre of everything in death metal. That album is all about the grooves, and talking about how the riffs are just chromatic chugging is missing the forest for the trees.

Have you considered that maybe the album is challenging the way you're conditioned to following the guitars on a death metal album to the detriment of the whole experience?

To me the drumming is impressive because I can't think of any other death metal album that had 300bpm blast beats prior to Molesting the Decapitated, and because it was recorded when ProTools as we know it wasn't a thing. It's all genuine and no machine-made speed or timing correction is present. Also, I don't know of any other drummer who was regularly doing gravity blasts that early, and TWO-HANDED gravity blasts at that.

I follow the guitars naturally because any type of metal is, at its core, a guitar-driven type of music. The moment you try to de-emphasize the guitars or try to turn them into a percussion instrument (hardcore breakdowns and slams) then the metal gradually begins to go away. The guitars should be at the front. Also, it takes considerably less effort to write a breakdown or a slam riff than a real good death metal riff, so any such thing if used too much will make me hear the music as being lazy. Devourment have a good balance between slamming and death metal on that album, but the instruments are so muddy that you can't hear a single note.

Things that suck about certain kinds of music shouldn't be justified by saying that they're part of whatever genre. That is not a valid excuse.
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Ilwhyan
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 3:48 am 
 

Lord_Of_Diamonds wrote:

I follow the guitars naturally because any type of metal is, at its core, a guitar-driven type of music. The moment you try to de-emphasize the guitars or try to turn them into a percussion instrument (hardcore breakdowns and slams) then the metal gradually begins to go away. The guitars should be at the front. Also, it takes considerably less effort to write a breakdown or a slam riff than a real good death metal riff, so any such thing if used too much will make me hear the music as being lazy. Devourment have a good balance between slamming and death metal on that album, but the instruments are so muddy that you can't hear a single note.

Things that suck about certain kinds of music shouldn't be justified by saying that they're part of whatever genre. That is not a valid excuse.

You're listening to metal first, and music secondarily. You define a set of rules that music should adhere to, and you critique music based on its adherence to those rules, rejecting anything that doesn't. Nothing could be more destructive to creativity than that.
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lord_ghengis
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 6:03 am 
 

PETERG wrote:
Hey guys jumping on the conversation with a totally different matter of discussion.
How bad/good/not worth talking about is praising the archives in a review?

I mean what impression would it give to a newcomer or a simple visitor?


I've certainly got references to other reviewers and stuff in my reviews, but back then I was a lot more active and it was more of an inside play around thing with guys I know more or less for guys I know. For example my now 2nd last review title is a loving shoutout to our beloved Bastardhead, as he was the only reason I'd heard let alone reviewed the EP in question. As for like "I found this while browsing MA (what a great resource!)" it probably doesn't serve any purpose, generally speaking "how I found the album" stories are super duper useless, unless it's providing an angle into expectations/taste base which can be worthwhile information to give a random reader. Guess you kinda need to judge case by case if it's a fun and brief in-joke for friends, or if it's a more generally entertaining anecdote.
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TheBurningOfSodom
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 6:25 am 
 

I have mixed feelings about that Devourment review... I can't understand slam as well, and if I were to write about Molesting the Decapitated my point of view (and consequently the rating) would plausibly be pretty the same as Ezra's, but I'm not entirely convinced of reviewing an album belonging to a genre that you claim to dislike as a whole right within the first sentence. I always found drone doom the opposite of everything I like in metal, yet I would never review a drone album since I think there would be lots of people who are actually into it and would be a more useful resource rather than my eventual 'I'm a thrasher so this album is useless like all drone releases'.

Just my two cents, of course.
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lord_ghengis
Still Standing After 38 Beers... hic

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 6:33 am 
 

I think going "off genre" is totally ok. Not every review is for established fans of the style, getting the perspective of someone coming from outside is valuable for others also coming from outside. Obviously it leads to a lot of mockery from those who actually "get" the style in question, so there's a bit of personal "I'm gonna cop shit, don't care" that comes with the territory.
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TheBurningOfSodom
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 7:51 am 
 

Fair point. I'm probably too coward to expose myself to that :lol:
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Empyreal
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 9:17 am 
 

Ilwhyan wrote:
Lord_Of_Diamonds wrote:

I follow the guitars naturally because any type of metal is, at its core, a guitar-driven type of music. The moment you try to de-emphasize the guitars or try to turn them into a percussion instrument (hardcore breakdowns and slams) then the metal gradually begins to go away. The guitars should be at the front. Also, it takes considerably less effort to write a breakdown or a slam riff than a real good death metal riff, so any such thing if used too much will make me hear the music as being lazy. Devourment have a good balance between slamming and death metal on that album, but the instruments are so muddy that you can't hear a single note.

Things that suck about certain kinds of music shouldn't be justified by saying that they're part of whatever genre. That is not a valid excuse.

You're listening to metal first, and music secondarily. You define a set of rules that music should adhere to, and you critique music based on its adherence to those rules, rejecting anything that doesn't. Nothing could be more destructive to creativity than that.


I've never heard Devourment, but I agree with this on a basic level. You get more of an appreciation for how good something is if you look at what it's actually trying to do and not how it adheres to some genre dogma. I used to do it the other way when I was like 18-19 or so too, always with the rigorous adherence to what metal had to be. But the last several years have showed me metal can be all kinds of things and music doesn't really have borders of any kind.

And yeah if you're writing a review where you're coming in hating the whole genre, I don't see what's helpful about that to anyone.
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EzraBlumenfeld
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 10:11 am 
 

When I was younger, I spent most of my life with minimal internet access. As a developing metalhead, I would buy music on iTunes based on its ratings on the Metal Archives without actually listening to it. Right around when I turned 14 I decided I needed to become more learned in the various death metal sub-subgenres, and I bought Molesting the Decapitated without hearing more than a 15-second sample in advance.

I've heard quite a bit of slam, and it really is just not my thing. I like to think of myself as a pretty open-minded music lover, but that style really does nothing for me. I gave Devourment's debut 11% not because I was feeling contrarian or wanted attention, but because it legitimately does not sound good to me. I understand its historical relevance to the slam genre and I appreciate that sonically it's very different from most stuff I'm accustomed to; but I do not believe that just because I have not fully immersed myself in a certain subgenre, my opinion on an individual album is any less relevant. And just because all the people who consider themselves slam fans love Molesting the Decapitated with all their hearts does not mean I am obligated to give it a score that matches those which others have given. There are 13 other reviews in the 80-100% range, and that seemed like plenty of worship to me.

As for the "drums are the lead instrument" argument, I don't know if that was intentional. Yes, the guitars are extremely muddy and imperceptible, and the drums are tinny enough that they cut through the mix. But this seems more like a flaw with the mix than a conscious decision made by the band and producers.

Another reviewer (whose identity I will not disclose) reached out to me after I published that review offering to recommend slam I might like. He told me that before he had delved deep into the style, he too couldn't stand that album. While I don't see myself venturing further into slam any time soon, it's good to know I'm not alone in disliking that release. My guess is that those who have heard Molesting the Decapitated and don't like it have just never gotten around to reviewing it before me.
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TheBurningOfSodom
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 11:38 am 
 

EzraBlumenfeld wrote:
I've heard quite a bit of slam, and it really is just not my thing. I like to think of myself as a pretty open-minded music lover, but that style really does nothing for me. I gave Devourment's debut 11% not because I was feeling contrarian or wanted attention, but because it legitimately does not sound good to me. I understand its historical relevance to the slam genre and I appreciate that sonically it's very different from most stuff I'm accustomed to; but I do not believe that just because I have not fully immersed myself in a certain subgenre, my opinion on an individual album is any less relevant. And just because all the people who consider themselves slam fans love Molesting the Decapitated with all their hearts does not mean I am obligated to give it a score that matches those which others have given. There are 13 other reviews in the 80-100% range, and that seemed like plenty of worship to me.

I totally got your point from the review already, and I'm not questioning your good faith, of course, from such a seasoned MA user intellectual honesty is a given I guess. There's no doubt that, at the very least, a review has to reflect the writer's opinion of the album, not adhere to popular consensus. I just expressed my thoughts about it because, trading places, I wouldn't do it, but that's totally fine, we're all different obviously, and I wanted to hear some different opinions. The review was well written and exposed once more my exact same problems with slam...

Furthermore I saw nobody attacking you here, so unless you got some private hatemail, it was well received, soo...

EzraBlumenfeld wrote:
My guess is that those who have heard Molesting the Decapitated and don't like it have just never gotten around to reviewing it before me.

...it may well be true.
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Lord_Of_Diamonds
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 2:39 pm 
 

Ilwhyan wrote:
You're listening to metal first, and music secondarily. You define a set of rules that music should adhere to, and you critique music based on its adherence to those rules, rejecting anything that doesn't. Nothing could be more destructive to creativity than that.

That's not my philosophy. Sorry if it seemed like it was; I was mainly responding to how you seemed to be saying that muddy production and emphasis on groove and de-emphasizing the guitars were characteristic of slam and therefore got a free pass.

The two things I look for in my music are creativity and originality. I've listened to a lot of slam death metal and have been unable to find much of either in what I've heard. I believe that slam is one of the stalest genres of metal, right up there with deathcore and thrash. There's just nothing different in it; all the unknowns are just imitating the big names and that's why they're unknown. If your music sounds the same as everyone else's, what reason is there to listen to it? That's how the famous bands get famous. They have originality and creativity in their music and people want to hear the fresh new sound.

If you can't come up with a take on the genre that's your own, that's fine. Just don't use that as an excuse for lazy songwriting.
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Xlxlx
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 9:00 pm 
 

I take it Diamond Lord isn't a punk fan either.
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Lord_Of_Diamonds
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 9:42 pm 
 

I've not really listened to enough punk to form a conclusion, but most of what I have heard isn't bad. It just hasn't really "done anything" for me, so I don't come back to it often.
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BastardHead
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 9:55 pm 
 

I've gone through a few philosophies of musicking over the last 15 years or so with how I approach reviews. At first I basically did the metal equivalent of "I don't care as long as it has a good beat I can dance to" by emphasizing that everything needed to be aggressive and riff based while every other quality flat out didn't matter, so I hated melodeath because it is focused on melodies and hooks above aggression and riffs. Then I wanted bands to follow my idea of what I thought each particular style of metal was "supposed" to be, so I hated melodeath because I treated these bands as if they wanted in their hearts to be Cannibal Corpse but had so far failed to do so. Then I wanted creativity above everything else and held a default disdain/disinterest for anything that sounded too much like anything else, so I hated melodeath because 90% of the genre can cleanly trace its roots back to the same two or three bands, ergo they weren't being creative enough.

Nowadays I try to just take every album/song/whatever on its own merits, assume that nothing is an accident and they wrote and performed their music the way they intended to, and evaluate from there. This doesn't mean I think everything is good by default, it just means that I try to understand the reasoning behind the choices people make and let them exist as they are and do my best to honestly evaluate it and give my judgment on whether or not the idea is good on its own and if the execution is solid or not, as opposed to placing so much focus on whether or not they outsmarted their peers with whatever they're doing.

So now I hate melodeath because it's lame and boring.
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TheBurningOfSodom
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2020 5:25 am 
 

I sense a trend here...
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hells_unicorn
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 2020 1:56 pm 
 

TheBurningOfSodom wrote:
I sense a trend here...


Yeah, it's making me want to write a whole bunch of positive melodeath reviews. :-P
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 2020 3:41 pm 
 

Deep bow (wow) to NDB for her stalwart, and tres a propos and informative, on the money (w)rite-up for Moscow's Dog Chasing Sun solo formations' latest sqwonk piece. (Chien Poursuivant Soleil, quoi!)...

This, my friends, merits not only accolades, but fortuitous doom/stoner metal/post-gaze/shoeg(r)aze/navelgaze homage in form of genre-ascribed review...Anyone else in, today, for such Herculean, but well-warranted (like cherry pie) task?

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PETERG
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 18, 2020 7:50 am 
 

Sooo here is what I have been thinking about lately. How bad is to rate a virgin album with an average ( 50%-60%) or low score (<40%?)

This thought came to me while I was talking with my friend. He said that it is somehow "bad" to write negative reviews because should someone stumble upon said album/band he might be influenced by the review and, therefore, shall not give the music a shot. However, there is a possibility that this someone might have liked the record, if he had listened to it. But my negative review took that excitement from him.
What do you guys think?
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Twisted_Psychology
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 18, 2020 8:02 am 
 

PETERG wrote:
Sooo here is what I have been thinking about lately. How bad is to rate a virgin album with an average ( 50%-60%) or low score (<40%?)

This thought came to me while I was talking with my friend. He said that it is somehow "bad" to write negative reviews because should someone stumble upon said album/band he might be influenced by the review and, therefore, shall not give the music a shot. However, there is a possibility that this someone might have liked the record, if he had listened to it. But my negative review took that excitement from him.
What do you guys think?


I wouldn't say it's bad necessarily. There certainly is a chance of an album getting subsequently ignored by people who would otherwise check it out but there's also a chance of somebody following up with a positive review to get some balance. I think it depends on how well the writer portrayed the flaws as well as how much inherent appeal the album has in itself. I like to think of a review as being part of a greater discussion.
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TheBurningOfSodom
Metal newbie

Joined: Sat Jun 27, 2015 9:28 am
Posts: 58
Location: Italy
PostPosted: Fri Sep 18, 2020 11:31 am 
 

Twisted_Psychology wrote:
I think it depends on how well the writer portrayed the flaws as well as how much inherent appeal the album has in itself.

That's the crucial point in my opinion. I think that when you're the first (and consequently the only) one to write about a certain album, you get yourself a sort of "additional responsibility" to better describe its content, since there are no other reviews to gather those informations.

Ideally, regardless of the reader's genre preferences, you should make him/her understand if he/she will find something interesting or not. A consistently run-of-the-mill, unspectacular album and a compilation/split/immature album where 3-4 songs are great and the rest are filler or outright bad are two very different ~50% ratings, and the review should point that out, since the second (I think) will be more likely to be checked out if compared to the first. In any case, if you think an album is worth a 25%, by all means give it its proper rating, even if you are the first to review it. I can understand some people will be turned off immediately by a low score, without reading it... maybe not that much of a loss after all?

The best way to know if you like an album is still listening to it... even for the laughs, if its rating is extremely low :lol:
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CHAIRTHROWER
Methed-burnt rogue babelfish

Joined: Sun Dec 20, 2015 7:10 pm
Posts: 602
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Fri Sep 18, 2020 4:21 pm 
 

Folks, we need disclaimers to warn us before channeling in to certain, ahem, feckless cover art reviews...

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Lane
Metalhead

Joined: Sat Nov 09, 2002 11:54 am
Posts: 403
Location: Finland
PostPosted: Fri Sep 18, 2020 7:40 pm 
 

I think I've said enough of the music, though, in that review? Since I hear it similar now that back in the day. How much is there to say...

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CHAIRTHROWER
Methed-burnt rogue babelfish

Joined: Sun Dec 20, 2015 7:10 pm
Posts: 602
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Fri Sep 18, 2020 8:53 pm 
 

Ha, I wanted to read it, but such crude imagery prevented me from doing so.

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CHAIRTHROWER
Methed-burnt rogue babelfish

Joined: Sun Dec 20, 2015 7:10 pm
Posts: 602
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 2020 9:22 am 
 

Ok, so I just awoke and mustered my resolve; read the Waco J. Review (with right eye shut), as don't want to have such grossness tormenting my thoughts...good read, no how!

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Lane
Metalhead

Joined: Sat Nov 09, 2002 11:54 am
Posts: 403
Location: Finland
PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 2020 11:49 am 
 

That review seems to haunt you a bit, I presume? :lol:

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CHAIRTHROWER
Methed-burnt rogue babelfish

Joined: Sun Dec 20, 2015 7:10 pm
Posts: 602
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 2020 12:08 pm 
 

Not as bad as Freddy Krueger (not cougar).

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Lane
Metalhead

Joined: Sat Nov 09, 2002 11:54 am
Posts: 403
Location: Finland
PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 2020 12:15 pm 
 

Cheers. Freddy K. just killed some kiddos with hs evil knievel METAL claws.

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CHAIRTHROWER
Methed-burnt rogue babelfish

Joined: Sun Dec 20, 2015 7:10 pm
Posts: 602
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 2020 12:21 pm 
 

Speaking of haunting nightmares and Freddy K., dig this little bit of inspiration-for-said-horror-flick-lore:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ctd3iL9I0zw

(a great, informative channel, no-how)

Yeah, I know, 'tis strictly a reviews forum...on to diurnal pastures...

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