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People making biased and unfounded statements in reviews
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Author:  MetalSupremacy [ Fri Jun 18, 2010 12:53 pm ]
Post subject:  People making biased and unfounded statements in reviews

Basically, just read this excerpt from Idrownfish's review of Iron Maiden's Piece of Mind:

Idrownfish wrote:
Piece of mind is an album that has been basically forgotten by both Iron Maiden and its fans. Except for The Trooper, which is easily one of the most popular songs by Iron Maiden, the band plays basically no songs from this album live. Some say it is a masterpiece that has been defeated by time; some say that it is simply underrated.

My first thought upon reading this was simply to shake my head. Calling Piece of Mind underrated is akin to saying Metallica's Ride the Lightening or Judas Priest's Screaming for Vengeance is underrated. Both it, Number of the Beast, Powerslave and Seventh Son of a Seventh Son are anything but underrated.



The fact that they gave Sepultura's Roots a good review doesn't mean shit in this case. The important thing is that let's face it, if Piece of Mind appears on something virtually entirely mainstream, then it's hardly underrated or "forgotten" as Idrownfish absurdly claims.

Furthermore, from Wiki:

Wikipedia wrote:
The album ranked 21 on IGN's list of the top 25 metal albums.[1]

In 1983, Kerrang! magazine published a poll of the greatest metal albums of all time, with Piece Of Mind ranking number 1, and with The Number of the Beast at number 2.[2][3]

Piece Of Mind along with Iron Maiden's follow up studio album Powerslave are the bands second highest selling albums with estimated sales in excess of 13.5 million worldwide.

In 1989, Steve Harris announced that Piece Of Mind was the 'best studio album' Iron Maiden had recorded[4]. Until 2000's Brave New World[5], this album was Bruce Dickinson's favorite album.

The worst part is, the actual review title is: "Nice and Catchy, but Overrated as Hell". So he also contradicts himself.

But this isn't a criticism of his review per se. It's a tendency I've noticed for quite a few reviewers, which is to make biased and totally unrealistic (and sometimes out and out false, as is the case here) statements about an album, either due to personal bias or ignorance. Neither of which, in my opinion, should be acceptable.

Reviews are held to standards. MA is no exception and frequently reviews that are absurdly biased or little more than rants have, in fact, been deleted.
I'm not saying that Idrownfish's review should necessarily suffer this fate, but should people really be allowed to say things that are blatantly false just because it's what they personally believe? Should reviews not be proof read by the mods for these things as well as all of the usual shit like spelling errors, inaccurate scores when compared with the review itself, etc?

To use a more extreme real life example, suppose you were a teacher and had given one of your students a project based on the battle of pearl harbour and its aftermath. Because of the student's patriotism, he or she says in the project that the reaction of the American people to the unwarranted attack was simply to laugh it off, rather than becoming determined and angry as they really did. Or, if the student is of Japanese origin and feels some need to uphold Japan's actions, they say in the project that the Americans were horrified and would have surrendered had it not been for the President's decision. You're his/her teacher. Would you tolerate such a bias?

Likewise, should reviewers be allowed to contradict well known facts about albums just because they are either ignorant or biased?

Just some thoughts.

Author:  By_Inheritance [ Fri Jun 18, 2010 1:03 pm ]
Post subject: 

He himself doesn't say it's underrated. He says "some people" say it's underrated. Unless you can provide where he himself states it's underrated you can't use that a point.

Author:  MetalSupremacy [ Fri Jun 18, 2010 1:12 pm ]
Post subject: 

By_Inheritance wrote:
He himself doesn't say it's underrated. He says "some people" say it's underrated. Unless you can provide where he himself states it's underrated you can't use that a point.

Idrownfish wrote:
Piece of mind is an album that has been basically forgotten by both Iron Maiden and its fans.

Not the exact same words as underrated, but that doesn't take away from the fact that the above quote from his review is ridiculous, and the kid clearly doesn't know what the fuck he's talking about. Piece of Mind is by fact NOT a forgotten album by any stretch of the imagination, and the same goes for every one of Maiden's albums between Number of the Beast and Seventh Son of a Seventh Son except Somewhere in Time, and I'd say that even that album isn't as underrated as is often claimed.

Another issue I have with statements such as those in his review are that a lot of the time, they're simply there to draw in readers. A good example: UltraBoris's ridiculous review of Master of Puppets. Would it be so infamous if it wasn't titled "the album that killed heavy metal"? People use statements such as these all of the time for no other reason that to get attention. That, or it reflects their bias (or, again, ignorance).

I'm not casting all the blame on Idrownfish alone - hell, I myself am guilty of making many ignorant and stupidly biased statements about Maiden in the past, and in fact I also referred to Piece of Mind as "underrated" in my review I posted in December 2009. I really need to re-write most of my Maiden reviews; half of them are just me bashing Powerslave.

The point is, though, shouldn't mods be allowed to reject a review for these reasons, I.E. if it contains factually inaccurate statements?

Author:  Napero [ Fri Jun 18, 2010 2:21 pm ]
Post subject: 

By_Inheritance wrote:
He himself doesn't say it's underrated. He says "some people" say it's underrated. Unless you can provide where he himself states it's underrated you can't use that a point.

Ah, yes, the Fox News technique... "some people say that your politics are full of shit..."

Author:  failsafeman [ Fri Jun 18, 2010 2:44 pm ]
Post subject: 

Wikipedia calls them "weasel words". Basically, things that imply corroboration without being specific. They're fine if it really is something generally accepted (Iron Maiden are considered by many to be a classic band), but they don't belong in your main argument.

As for the OP...well, we're getting into difficult territory here. Our standards have been rising over the years, and you're right in that I wouldn't have given that a good grade if I were a professor and he a student. But these aren't essays, they're reviews. Honestly I don't really have an answer for you at this point, I'll have to think about it.

Author:  Ice_As_Steel [ Fri Jun 18, 2010 11:38 pm ]
Post subject: 

Mods already check for and reject reviews for blatent factual errors, so if you are asking for more vigilence in that regard, then ok. Keep in mind that a lot of reviewing is people giving their subjective take on various things related to the work which they are reviewing, and that it is up to the reader to determine what things in a review they want to accept as literal or objective.

Author:  Idrownfish [ Sun Jun 27, 2010 3:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Meh.

Piece of Mind is in fact ignored in most of Iron Maiden's concerts.

What I am trying to say is that it IS in fact ignored and that it SHOULD be ignored, because Iron Maiden has recorded albums that are much better than that. Some hardcore fans (and even magazines and what not) label it one of the "greatest albums of all time" and that is why it is overrated.

For real, if you have no clue of what you are talking about, don't make such statements on a public forum before e-mailing me. My e-mail is always available, and bashing me before talking to me personally is an act of disrespect.

What you have done here, my friend, is letting people read the sentence that introduces my review, and then claiming that I don't know what I am talking about.

Author:  Empyreal [ Sun Jun 27, 2010 3:11 pm ]
Post subject: 

Nah, Piece of Mind is their best. Not by much, but it just has their best overall collection of songs. Tough call though.

Author:  Idrownfish [ Sun Jun 27, 2010 3:23 pm ]
Post subject: 

Yea, I know, but that is a matter of opinion ._.

What annoys me is that he didn't try to actually read my review, and then said that I didn't know what the fuck I was talking about.

What makes things worse is that he contradicted himself just after that, saying that I was just trying to get attention. Mate, if I didn't know what the fuck I was talking about I wouldn't intentionally make use of innacurate information.

Also, instead of e-mailing me in order to discuss the issue, he posted it on the forums. I partially agree with him in the rest of his message, and I will try to not to do that kind of stuff (I did that once in a Nightwish review, thankfully a friend of mine didn't let it last more than a day online).

By the way, I am taking the review out of MA for now. Not because it has innacurate information, but because it can be improved in a lot of ways.

The original review is:

Piece of mind is an album that has been basically forgotten by both Iron Maiden and its fans. Except for The Trooper, which is easily one of the most popular songs by Iron Maiden, the band plays basically no songs from this album live. Some say it is a masterpiece that has been defeated by time; some say that it is simply underrated. I, however, say that Iron Maiden has done stuff much better than this album.

Piece of Mind is Iron Maiden's second album featuring Bruce Dickinson, and in this one, Steve Harris clearly tried to push Bruce's vocals to the limit. It works well in the first half of the album (mainly in Where Eagles Dare, The Trooper and Die With Your Boots On), but fails spectacularly on Quest For Fire. The bass is completely audible and plays a very important role in every song, but hey, this is Iron Maiden, it is always like this. The guitars... Oh well, the guitars aren't as complex as they are in albums like Brave New World and Somewhere in Time. Harris tried to focus on the bass and the vocals, while leaving McBrain and Murray with interesting but predictable stuff.

Let me start with the song that is probably the worst one Iron Maiden has ever recorded: Quest For Fire. The lyrics are dumb, the drumming and riffing are predictable and even the bass sucks in its own way: it is way too quiet and sometimes non-existent. Actually, Steve Harris probably had an idea for making Dickinson hit the highest possible note, and structured the whole song in order to fit this note, which leaves us with a song that looks like a Dickinson's solo project.

The album starts out nicely: Where Eagles Dare is not an Iron's masterpiece, but it has every quality that made Iron Maiden so respected and known. The song starts out with a pulse-like, emotional beat, and is followed by a heavy and catchy (although predictable) riff. Even if the middle sounds way too repetitive, this mistake is easily covered by the quality of the guitars, which were very well produced and had all the attributes of true heavy metal.

Alright, the last part was a lie. The guitar's timbre is terrible in a lot of ways, and ends up turning Piece of Mind into a mix between hard rock and heavy metal. Whether it was intentional or not, I am not sure, but it would surely ruin the riffing and most-likely the whole album if it was not for Steve Harris' consistent bass and Dickinson's amazing vocals.

The Trooper is one of Iron Maiden's best songs live, and I beg the reader to not hate me when I say that it is not that good in the album. Don't get me wrong: the vocals are nice, the galloping drums are cool and the lyrics are emotional enough. However, the guitar attack, which is supposed to be the best part of this song (well, it really is live) suffers from the poor production. Anyway, it is worth noting that "amazing" is "not that good" in Iron Maiden's standards, so the song is far from bad.

"Flight of Icarus" shows that even The Trooper's lyrics are not epic enough, and is probably the most emotional song of the album. It is also helped by Dickinson's amazing chorus, a part that was so good that people that are not into metal at all tend to like it very much. Maybe that is due to the nature of the song: excluding "Quest For Fire", "Flight of Icarus" is the song that resembles metal the least. Suffering from the weak-toned guitars, it is easily mistaken as an old hard rock song.

"Revelations" is an atmospheric song, that manages to be both dark and beautiful. Bruce's performance here is the best he would deliver until the album "Brave New World", varying from soft to aggressive (not actually agressive, more like... Forceful) easily. The guitars do have great moments here, which is surprising since Dickinson wrote it (if you are his fan, remember his "contribution" to Powerslave before bashing me).

"Die With Your Boots On" is awesome. The lyrics kill, the drums kill, the vocals kill (Harris and Smith do some nice backup, by the way), and even the guitar is unique in this amazing song. This song is probably the one that suffers the least from the hard-rock guitars. Although it does feel like hard rock sometimes, "Die With Your Boots On" is very metal-oriented, having nice riffing and epic (and kind of dark) lyrics.

"Still Life" is one of the songs that most benefits from double guitars, and is at least partially into power metal. The melody here is good, but there are no memorable parts, which makes the song become ultimately boring once it reaches four minutes. Also, the spoken introduction tries to create a heavy atmosphere to the song, which fails miserably. Another song that exemplifies the epic tendency of this album is "Sun and Steel", but the melody here is much better and the song is actually epic, while "Still Life" simply tries very hard in order to be epic.

"To Tame a Land" is a decent way to close the album. However, even if it has some nice melodies and lyrics, and very good vocals, it falls in the category of "regular", partially because it definitely shouldn't be almost 8 minutes long, partially because it has simply no memorable parts.

"Piece of Mind" is a nice album, but definitely doesn't live up to its "epic masterpiece" status, mainly due to the crappy production on the guitars. This release has a terrible filler (Quest for Fire is barely tolerable), and when compared to releases like "Brave New World" and "Somewhere in Time", it is kind of weak. Although these musicians have proven us that they are incapable of recording something terrible, they could have done much better in this recording.

Author:  holyrebels [ Sun Jun 27, 2010 9:47 pm ]
Post subject: 

This is a good review and I have no problem with the comment about the album perhaps being "forgotten" by the band and it's fans.

Iron Maiden has solicited input from fans for their classic setlists on at least one occasion. The fact that "Piece of Mind" tunes were not making the "cut" lends legitimacy to the reviewer's statement. Personally, I love that album and I consider it unforgettable, as do most fans my age (mid-late 30s).

The only issue I have were the comparisons to "Brave New World". That album is 17 years removed from "Piece of Mind", and the interim also included a 6 year span where the creative team for both albums was disbanded.

Author:  TheSacred [ Thu Jul 29, 2010 6:59 pm ]
Post subject: 

isn't EVERY SINGLE metal review slightly biased?

Author:  NeptuneDNA [ Fri Jul 30, 2010 6:44 pm ]
Post subject: 

TheSacred wrote:
isn't EVERY SINGLE metal review slightly biased?

Uh huh.

Author:  BringMeMyScissors [ Sat Aug 07, 2010 3:51 pm ]
Post subject: 

i think biased and unfounded statements are totally right-on as long as they are used to tell the overall TRUTH, whether it be "true" or not.

also, "horsed".

Author:  MetalSupremacy [ Sun Aug 08, 2010 12:48 pm ]
Post subject: 

EDIT: Double post, sorry.

Author:  MetalSupremacy [ Sun Aug 08, 2010 12:53 pm ]
Post subject: 

Hey, Idrownfish,

Yeah, I should have discussed it with you over PM instead. Sorry about that dude, I was in a real piss at the time.

My real problem is simply when anyone says Maiden, or anything related to them, is remotely "underrated" or "ignored", because it's plainly a load of bollocks. Iron Maiden is the biggest classic metal band of all time. Do people call Sabbath an underrated band? No. And Maiden have outsold Sabbath 2 times over. I just fucking hate it when anyone refers to a band that has sold 100 million albums as "underrated".

To be honest, your review wasn't really bad. If one thinks about it seriously, PoM is probably less well remembered than NOTB, Powerslave, or Seventh Son. Compared to SiT, however, it's very much a visible and highly-regarded album.

BringMeMyScissors wrote:
i think biased and unfounded statements are totally right-on as long as they are used to tell the overall TRUTH, whether it be "true" or not.

also, "horsed".

Which would be fair enough, if it wasn't for one thing: the truth is invariably subjective, not objective.

"Horsed"? What does that mean?

Author:  Idrownfish [ Sun Aug 08, 2010 8:12 pm ]
Post subject: 

Thank you for responding.

I have no problems related with this thread at the moment - I was also pissed off when I answered it - and i recognize that the comparison that I made with BnW and SiT was not exactly usual (let alone devoid of possible misinterpretations). Anyway, I am thinking about writing a new review for PoM and deleting the current one, as I have recently realized that it simply doesn't stand up to my standards (let alone this site's standards).


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