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Nebster173
Metal newbie

Joined: Thu May 17, 2012 8:22 am
Posts: 295
PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2013 9:27 am 
 

List your top ten reviewers with a short description under each.


Edit: Also list your bottom ten with a short description as to why.


Last edited by Nebster173 on Tue Dec 17, 2013 8:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RapeTheDead
Metalhead

Joined: Tue Mar 16, 2010 10:48 pm
Posts: 452
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Tue Dec 17, 2013 12:48 pm 
 

#5: caspian/Empyreal. Tie for #5 cause I don't want to go to 10 and these guys are skilled in different ways. Empyreal's very airtight in his writing style and caspian's very loose, and both are better because of their own respective styles, even though they differ. Neither of them often have similar taste as me, but their reviews manage to keep me interested to the end, even if they're reviewing Sonata Arctica or some drone band or something.

#4: droneriot. I think he deleted a lot of his reviews recently, but the way this guy could completely destroy every facet of an album in a negative review is unparalleled. Known for a clear, scathing tone, he left no stone unturned and made you very aware of why he thought the album in question was bad.
Rec'd reads: Lunar Strain, Dicitus Te Necare

#3: Cheeses_Priced. Short reviews that tell you all you need. He's funny without overtly trying to be, somehow can manage to make me decide whether or not to buy something in a couple paragraphs, he's essentially what all reviewers wish they could be.
Rec'd reads: Black Metal ist Krieg, Awaken the Guardian

#2: BastardHead. The first review that ever grabbed my attention on this website was this man's Five Finger Death Punch thrashing, now gone from the site like the band. The blend of humor and description in his writing is a mix that all reviewers should strive for (his only modern contemporary is Liquid_Braino, who's pretty good himself but didn't make the list), and I'm honored to have done a review collaboration with him a few months back.
Rec'd reads: Haunted (for an older one), Obtained Enslavement ( :-D )

#1: Noktorn. Say what you will about the guy and his questionable behaviors (I'm still waiting to hear back from him after he so conveniently disappeared almost two years ago now), his crossroads between heavy description and concise reviews (although sometimes he sacrificed the latter quality for further description) is hands down my favorite sort of review to read and the consistency of his quality is astounding given the massive backlog of reviews he has. A glorious mix of quality and quantity that is unparalleled.
Rec'd reads: Si Momentum Requires, NeChrist

alright, I got the ball rolling. If there's more talk and I remember more names as it goes, I may add more, who knows, the universe works in mysterious ways.
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iamntbatman
Chaos Breed

Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 5:55 am
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 17, 2013 3:35 pm 
 

droneriot actually deleted every last one of his reviews.

I have trouble coming up with a list because many of my favorite reviewers are just so completely different from one another that it's really hard to make any sort of useful comparison. I really enjoy dismember_marcin's reviews because the guy has so much knowledge/experience in underground death metal (and black metal, to a lesser degree) and totally unmatched enthusiasm that oozes through his reviews, turning even standard "here's the story of how I discovered this band/album" opening segments into interesting reading. Despite having questionable taste, Noktorn is hard to describe as anything other than a fantastic reviewer. RapeTheDead really hit the nail on the head with that one. I also really enjoy the_navy_blue_vicar/BringMeMyScissors' reviews, limited in scope though they may be. Guy's a total enigma and I think it would've been wonderful had he been more prolific. Similarly, Nightgaunt's handful of reviews are among the site's best but I don't think he has much interest in reviewing anymore, which is a shame. Cheeses_Priced is like UltraBoris but worth reading; really one of the better more casual/comedic reviewers. Napero's great, too.
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MutantClannfear
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Joined: Thu May 27, 2010 12:12 am
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 17, 2013 7:22 pm 
 

Yeah, I'm gonna be at a loss to list ten, but here are a few of my favorites in no particular order:

  • caspian: the master of the short and casual review. I think RapeTheDead once described his reviews as "somebody sitting down next to you at a bar and just talking to you about the album over a beer", which is a perfect way to describe it. His voice makes it entertaining to hear him review *anything*, since it's just like having a dude chit-chat about it with you. His humor's dead-on and doesn't take an entire paragraph to flesh itself out. Like review popcorn, basically.
  • Noktorn: the man. Absolutely hilarious reviews, possibly the funniest I've ever seen on this website. ("Having seen a used copy of 'Volcano' sitting around the local record shop for about six dollars, I said why not and picked it up. Were it only that I could go back in time and KICK MYSELF IN THE BALLS until I could no longer bring it to the register, I would do it a thousand times over.") Between that, his always-on-point musical description, his passion for the music in question and his tastes lining up almost perfectly with my own, it's no wonder he's one of my favorite reviewers. Though I feel like sometimes he overstated his authority and tried to make vast statements about bands and albums that didn't hold up very well, his prolific nature at the very least should be enough to inspire praise.
  • RapeTheDead: probably one of the most intelligently-composed writers on the website. It's hard to explain, but everything the dude does has this sense of intricacy, like every single word is in the perfect place. He's a master at writing longer reviews that never, ever drag, and he's good at writing negative reviews so satisfactorily that they almost warp back around and seem polite (I'm looking at his reviews for Dingir and Om, in particular). His tastes have basically 0 overlap with my own, but I usually go out of my way to read his reviews even if they bear no relevance to my own preferences in metal.
  • BastardHead: a big part of the reason I started upping my review game from Amazon.com/iTunes quality. While he gets a bit self-indulgent at times (so self-indulgent that he starts becoming aware of his self-indulgence), I feel like he might be one of the best reviewers when it comes to infusing humor with musical description without sacrificing either. His jokes are funny and his musical description is interesting to me since he usually deals with genres I wouldn't touch with a ten-foot-long pole (review-wise, at least). He's probably also one of the best reviewers when it comes to building up tension in his writing - the "ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?!" in his Christopher Lee review is gold.
  • Immune_to_Poison: sort of an underdog I guess, as he only has 22 reviews on the website, but they all tackle the BDM/goregrind scene (which is a huge plus for me) and he writes with a pleasant mix of passion and aloofness. He's also extremely good at comparisons which describe the music perfectly: "If Carcass' Heartwork album was recorded in a modern, board certified hospital, then Grinding Opus of Forensic Medical Problems was made in the dungeon of a bubonic plague ridden medieval infirmary." I've seen this guy's more recent work on random websites like Sevared Records and Amazon and he's definitely still got it, even if his reviews over there tend to be a bit briefer.
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Metantoine
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 17, 2013 8:20 pm 
 

Even if it's ass licking, I'll do a list as well.

1) iamntbatman. MA's own super hero is a very good writer. He's not a spectacular and "LOOK AT ME I JUST WROTE POOP IN A REVIEW" dude but he's very cohesive and his flow is tremendous. He knows the technical aspects of metal while never getting too mecanical and his taste is interesting and stable. Even in his longer reviews, he doesn't waste any time and he's precise.
One of my favs from his shorter ones: http://www.metal-archives.com/reviews/S ... amntbatman

2) Napero. The funniest reviewer on the site. It's never pretentious and it's always informative. He's also choosing interesting and often Finnish bands that are quite unknown so it's fun to read. He's rambling but it's like an old dude getting drunk with you and telling you why he likes something.
One of my favs: http://www.metal-archives.com/reviews/C ... 107618/Nap

3) Liquid_Braino. Another funny but excellent reviewer. He can be quite poetic at time (something I like in writings and I try to develop in my own).
"Amongst this unholy cacophony can be heard the angry wails of a woman, luring impressionable fresh-faced boys away from the gentle touch and wisdom provided by the "men of the cloth" and into the arms of this wretched succubus. Her voice alone reeks of impurity, tempting good christian youth into performing unspeakable acts of self-molestation. The bitter words she intones describes a world gone mad with unabashed hatred, greed and immorality, and offers no solutions to these global ills, denying the truth in which peace can be achieved through Christ's love and forgiveness."
http://www.metal-archives.com/reviews/S ... uid_Braino

4) MutantClannfear. His reviews are way too long, he's often immature and his taste is more miss than hit but Dillon is certainly the best reviewer under 20 years old alongside the aforementioned RapeTheDead. I'm trying to convince him to study something related to writing, maybe I'll succeed!
One of his best, a recent one: http://www.metal-archives.com/reviews/O ... tClannfear

5) Orionmetalhead. Simply a very good writer with a great balance of description and creative writing (when needed)
Perhaps my favorite, his 100% for Aeternus: http://www.metal-archives.com/reviews/A ... nmetalhead

6) RapeTheDead, his Bongripper review is a 8pointer, fun and interesting dude
7) Ilwhyan, his poetic love for black metal is pertinent.
8) GuntherTheUndying, always good and never dead.
9) Dystopia4, despite a lack of distinct personality and some "lifeless professionalism", Thumbman is a good writer.
10) Androdion, see 9)

Worthy mentions: Mad_Submarine, Empyreal, Caspian and BastardHead who could be in the 6 to 10 spots for sure.

Spoiler: show
But we all know the best reviewer is me, whaahahahahhahahahahahahahahah! Ok, maybe not!
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dystopia4
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Joined: Mon Nov 16, 2009 6:47 pm
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 17, 2013 9:40 pm 
 

Metantoine wrote:
9) Dystopia4, despite a lack of distinct personality and some "lifeless professionalism", Thumbman is a good writer.

Hey at least I'm not NausikaDalazBlindaz :-P . Yeah, I asked some other reviewers for constructive criticism and they said it was a bit sterile at times, and I think they're right (probably comes from writing too many goddamn essays). I've been working on it lately.

Anyway, I'll do a top 5 and throw out some honourable mentions:
1. Noktorn
Sure he might have been a pretentious asshole who liked a lot of horrible BDM and ultra-raw black metal, but goddamn could the guy write. Besides being one of the most prolific and consistent writers here, he always knew how to perfectly ride the line between intelligent description/analyses and (often immature) humour and entertainment. By far my favourite reviewer, loved his blog, too.

2. Caspian
The short casual loose type of writing he goes for would otherwise suck, but he's got that talking to dude at a bar/"talking to a stoned guy in his boxers eating cereal" thing on lock. Plus his reviews turned me on to a lot of cool shit. When I started reviewing him and Perplexed_Sjel (more on him later) where really the only two reviewers I payed attention to.

3. Napero
Surely I don't have to explain this pick...

4. MutantClannfear
Very similar to Noktorn, but I don't really see how that's a bad thing. Like Noktorn, often goes for BDM and deathcore (which I'm generally not into), but his writing is good enough that I read it anyway.

5.RapeTheDead
We have similar tastes with a lot of shit, even if he did hate on OM. Really good at the longer more involved reviews and is always entertaining and insightful.

Other reviewers I like:
Bastardhead: Very little overlap with taste, but he writes some very funny shit as we all know.
Lord_Ghengis:His new Agalloch review is a perfect example of where I totally disagree with the opinion but still think it's a great review.
Metantoine: For all your obscure mum-doom needs!
Perplexed_SJel: I'll surely get a bit of shit for this pick, but hear me out. I know he does go overboard with the purple prose and has paraded lots of black metal albums around like they're some divine transcendental miracle created by god himself as the meaning of life, but I really think people tend to shit on him more than he deserves. Maybe it's the nostalgia talking (first reviewer I started following regularly), but I think he's a pretty decent writer. Turned me on to lots of good black metal.

Edit - Him posting reminded me I forgot to include him. Iamntbatman has some pretty sweet reviews. Good flow, definitely knows what he's talking about and it's nice to see someone else who likes to cover things that are crust flavoured.
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Last edited by dystopia4 on Wed Dec 18, 2013 11:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
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iamntbatman
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Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 5:55 am
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 18, 2013 4:03 am 
 

Hey, thanks Tony! I'm pretty critical of most of my reviews; I tend to get stuck in this rut of wanting to be sure I cover all the bases when it comes to giving people a straightforward picture of how I interpreted the music on the album that sometimes relies pretty heavily on giving a fairly clinical overview of the music itself. There are definitely reviews of mine that I think are much stronger than others and in general I'd like to push harder to have my writing be of a consistent quality (at least, in my own estimation).
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androdion
Metal freak

Joined: Thu Sep 28, 2006 10:34 am
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Location: Portugal
PostPosted: Wed Dec 18, 2013 1:18 pm 
 

Metantoine wrote:
9) Dystopia4, despite a lack of distinct personality and some "lifeless professionalism", Thumbman is a good writer.
10) Androdion, see 9)

What the hell is my name (alias actually) doing in a "best reviewers" list?! :p

Nah, I just happened to write a few good ones at a certain point in my life but I'm hardly what you'd call a writer. Reviewing albums was to me a way of better perceiving them, and music itself, so it was a part of my life I don't regret (although some of my reviews are pretty cringeworthy) but that I also don't miss. I told some of you earlier this year that I needed some distance from writing, life and all that, and the fact is that I've realized I needed to stop writing and just concentrate on actually listening to and enjoying music. That's probably why my style has never been "set in stone", because there was always this conflict between how I feel the music and how I could write about it.

So yeah, it's official dudes. I may be definitely retired from the race since I don't really feel like I need to write, or that I can enjoy myself doing so.

As for a "top 5" MA reviewers chart... I don't know, I've read so many reviews over the years... Napero is an obvious choice because he's one of the few people who always cracks me up while still being completely serious about musical description. Autothrall is a no-brainer given the influence he had on me, both musically and in terms of writing. I really like BastardHead's recent (last year or two) style, kind of following in the footsteps of Nappy but with a more overboard expressive style. I'd close the list (in no particular order though) with Hells_Unicorn and ANationalAcrobat who are two of the most interesting writers in terms of short and condensed reviews that are still highly descriptive and pleasurable to read.
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Metantoine
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 18, 2013 2:09 pm 
 

Forgot ANA in my top 10, he's also awesome!
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Acrobat
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 19, 2013 8:06 pm 
 

Reviewers wot I like:

UltraBoris, alright, so his stuff isn't always good, in fact, a lot of it's crap. But he's really helped me discover shitloads of great bands... and he did have a very good style when he wanted to actually bother with writing a proper review.

failsafeman's great for certain styles and when he really loves an album he really does it justice with a great review. Also, I must say that he's written some stories about vegetables from outer space, too.

Cheeses_Priced was excellent. He'd always manage to say a lot about an album in a very concise manner. Often he was very funny, too.

Abominatrix is often very verbose and imaginative and for that style of reviewing I think he's really excellent. I always get a good mental picture of the stuff he's reviewing even if I've not heard it (that and he has excellent taste).

Droneriot was excellent, too, but he's deleted all his reviews recently.

Hells_unicorn is a weird one, because I think that he got into that reviewing "en masse" style ala Noktorn/autothrall for a while. But I've always found his reviews to be very readable and I like how much he hates the 1990s. It's like he has a personal vendetta against them.

Other people I like: Gutterscream, caspian, lord_ghengis, OSS, PhOTO, saintinhell (his reviews no longer exist on this site, however), Napero, DRD.

Oh yeah, and if you link a review blog at the end of every review I automatically hate you. :)
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AcidWorm
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 20, 2013 4:41 pm 
 

I never read reviews much anymore and I used to a lot more a few years back.

Gutterscream and Drowned were two of my favorites. I will add Abominatrix as well as he was a favorite back around 2005 when I actually read a lot of reviews.

Gutterscream brought a lot of knowledge to the table and reviewed albums in a historical context that I liked.
Drowned is just very solid and not overlong. Like Gutterscream he would bring a lot of historical context in.
Abominatrix is one of the few reviewers that can write a long review that will hold my attention all the way through. I have a short attention span so this is quite difficult to accomplish.
Peregrin was a regular from a few years back who was very good. His reviews were very well written, and he was able to bring a lot of big words in without coming across as pretentious like many other reviewers did. I recall he deleted a bunch of his reviews though.
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shouvince
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 24, 2013 3:42 am 
 

Tough to pick out ten reviewers because I follow only a handful.

Napero: His reviews are hilarious. None of them require an effort to read. When it comes to entertainment, nothing beats Nappy's reviews.

iamntbatman:
Helped me discover Slugathor and some really kickass bands. Neither too flamboyant nor too simplistic. He gets the musical description pretty much bang on.

Metantoine, lord_ghenghis:
I'd say they're at par and I enjoy reading the odd review from them. Usually, I'd see the review score and more often than not concur with that.

Macmoney:
He needs a mention. Though he doesn't write much but from the ones that I've read, he does a good job keeping things brief and to the point.

Notable mentions:
Gunther, Zodi, ANA, Caspian - they got good taste and I keep an eye out for the albums they review.

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Smoking_Gnu
Chicago Favorite

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 02, 2014 1:30 pm 
 

Further props to Noktorn for his well-written Hellveto reviews, which helped me get into the band's otherwise daunting discography. Plus his review of Dusk and Her Embrace was pretty smart.
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droneriot
RETIRED

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 02, 2014 1:37 pm 
 

Thanks for the kind words, those who mentioned me. Yeah, I deleted everything because I don't think the audience on this site works out for me. I will keep posting reviews on my blog, though, droneriot.blogspot.com, and might one day publish them here. Not any time soon, but it's a possibility that exists for me.
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joncheetham88
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Joined: Wed Nov 26, 2008 10:41 pm
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 02, 2014 11:59 pm 
 

ANationalAcrobat wrote:
Oh yeah, and if you link a review blog at the end of every review I automatically hate you. :)


Is that really a thing? It's thanks to HeySharpShooter doing that I came across his amazing blog Curse of the Great White Elephant. And subsequently read it in its entirety; it's a more convenient way of appreciating all of someone's material.

Anyway, surprised there aren't more mentions for autothrall, but he's my personal favourite. Unbelievably prolific considering how detailed and absorbing his reviews have become in the past few years. I haven't seen any other writer on the site improve as hugely as this guy did in such a short space of time. Not to mention he has a unique ability to sound authentic when discussing a wide range of genres in an informed manner and with rich historical context, whether the most soulless and abyssal black metal or the burliest olskool heavy metal bands.

There are a few others I always read if I'm already on the list of reviews for a release, and others I know to always skip, but autothrall and HeySharpShooter are the writers that I actively seek out here.
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iamntbatman
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Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 5:55 am
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2014 12:03 am 
 

droneriot wrote:
Thanks for the kind words, those who mentioned me. Yeah, I deleted everything because I don't think the audience on this site works out for me. I will keep posting reviews on my blog, though, droneriot.blogspot.com, and might one day publish them here. Not any time soon, but it's a possibility that exists for me.


Not melodramatic enough?
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Diamhea
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2014 1:32 am 
 

joncheetham88 wrote:
Anyway, surprised there aren't more mentions for autothrall, but he's my personal favourite.


Yeah! He can be really clever and creative in his descriptions. It doesn't come off as attention-grabbing or trite either.
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dystopia4
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2014 11:44 am 
 

I've said it before and I'll say it again - Autothrall is an excellent writer but he spreads himself way too thin and I highly suspect that he doesn't give enough listens to most of the records he reviews. A lot of his review are just alright, but his good reviews are really good. I'll be honest, as much as I loved the album I probably wouldn't have reviewed Zealotry's debut if I wasn't assigned to by TMO because his review is so damn good and says most of what needs to be said about the album.
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TheMirroringShadow
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Joined: Wed Jun 02, 2010 6:04 am
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2014 10:39 pm 
 

#1 UltraBoris

Although the "riff here" is great, "riff there" is not so good can get a bit tiresome and his style can be repetitive in some cases. His great reviews like the one for Master Of Puppets, Dark Angel, ST. Anger are awesome and hilarious. Hell, even his scathing The Haunted reviews are funny to me. And he is pretty good at highlighting interesting or standout songs/parts of an album. He is sorely missed today!

#2 Napero

Got me into Mokoma and some other Finnish bands I really enjoy. He has a superb and fair style of reviewing and is very funny. A big inspiration for me to pick up reviewing myself.

#3 Autothrall

Really consistent reviewer. Knows so much about metal you'd think he is a walking encyclopedia. Gives a lot of background information if he knows the band well, very fair and reasonable. While you know what to expect from him, you're never really let down by any of his reviews. Quite the contrary, if it's Autothrall - it's good.

#4 Noktorn

Really funny reviews when he is pissed off/annoyed at the music. Like the review he did for Scarve's Translucence entitled "Make it fucking stop". That one had me rolling in laughter... Also consistent and always a fun read.

#5 Bash

An unknown but awesome reviewer who I learned a lot from. Reviews the same type of music I enjoy a lot, so his reviews were always a great read. Sadly he has been inactive for a long time. I actually sent him an email. I enjoy his Stam1na reviews that much! Without Bash and Napero I probably wouldn't be writing reviews. A great influence to me personally.

#6 Lord_Genghis

Great at wordplay both for titles and references inside the actual review. His review for Meshuggah - I, "Attack of the random snare" was great, the title drew me in and the review is scathing and has some really funny moments. Good at describing the music and making points for and against.

There are a few other one hit wonder reviewers who just kind of came and went. But these 6 have stood out the most to me.

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lord_ghengis
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Location: Australia
PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2014 7:23 am 
 

Thanks, quite a few big names to be mentioned with there. Interesting that you pointed out an older review of mine, I'm kinda ashamed of 99% of my pre-2011 or so stuff, so I'm glad to see that some people didn't find me as awful as I perceived myself to be back then. Thanks again.
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TheMirroringShadow
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Joined: Wed Jun 02, 2010 6:04 am
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2014 8:31 am 
 

lord_ghengis wrote:
Thanks, quite a few big names to be mentioned with there. Interesting that you pointed out an older review of mine, I'm kinda ashamed of 99% of my pre-2011 or so stuff, so I'm glad to see that some people didn't find me as awful as I perceived myself to be back then. Thanks again.


My pleasure. Strangely enough I sometimes prefer the earlier eras of reviewers. I sometimes get the sensation that there is a playfulness and curiosity in a new reviewer's style. While not technically brilliant, you can kind of "feel" how fun and interesting the newbie reviewer thinks it is to write a review and have it published on MA. I know how much time I spent working on my first reviews to get them accepted. And while they are not all that technically brilliant, there is a lot of hidden fun and passion within the writing that is entertaining to me... It's hard to explain and quite weird frankly.

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Gutterscream
The Last Old Schooler in Town

Joined: Fri Feb 18, 2005 3:59 pm
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2014 7:31 pm 
 

Here's five for now in no particular order:

Napero - Nappy writes some funny stuff while being serious, yet without sinking into the goofiness mire. Love his mile long Master of Puppets review as well as his hilarious Burzum critique that had us all in stitches even while it was structured as a poem (which I don't think is on the site anymore, but I'm sure is lurking somewhere in his personal vault). Good-sized, personable reviews that you can tell mimic his personal nature.

http://www.metal-archives.com/reviews/M ... 547/Napero

OlympicSharpshooter - Considering he was around 19 when he wrote most of what you see on these page, he was ahead of the pack. He has a colorful, confident way with words that's more casual than pomp. Alas, he's one reviewer I miss new stuff from.

http://www.metal-archives.com/reviews/R ... arpshooter
http://www.metal-archives.com/reviews/Y ... arpshooter

Nightgaunt - he's still around, of course...in fact, he's <i>always</i> around, and while his reviews amount to a finger beyond a handful, they are anything but hastily assembled. We've all read his posts on various threads at one time or another, and when he weighs in it's hardly ever on a whim. Unsurprisingly, his known seriousness, palpable confidence, and way with words carries over to his reviews.

http://www.metal-archives.com/reviews/E ... Nightgaunt

Cheeses_Priced - an all-around solid reviewer with a sense of humor (humor is an important ingredient in reviews, I feel, but it doesn't always have to hit you over the noggin - you have to know when to use it). Unlike me sometimes, he gets his point across without fumbling around for the ball.

http://www.metal-archives.com/reviews/A ... ses_Priced

Bastardhead - And speaking of humorous reviews. Vibrant without being flashy with a sense of, well, common sense.

http://www.metal-archives.com/reviews/S ... astardHead
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Napero
GedankenPanzer

Joined: Sun Jan 02, 2005 4:16 pm
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2014 7:06 am 
 

Thanks to all of you who have put in kind words of my works. I have been less active lately, due to other constraints on my time, but I hope to get the writing rolling again. Truth to be told, I think I'd be very annoyed as a mod by anyone writing like I do, if I had to moderate the stuff. I tend to wander off the topic too often, and I write more for the fun of it than to educate people about the releases.

Gutterscream wrote:
...as well as his hilarious Burzum critique that had us all in stitches even while it was structured as a poem (which I don't think is on the site anymore, but I'm sure is lurking somewhere in his personal vault).

I actually don't have it anywhere, I searched my old hard drive a few days ago. It seems I've lost most of the original Notepad files at some point. It used to be available on the net in various places a few years ago, and I'm prety certain it will come back to haunt me at some point; someone will probably dig it up to torpedo my chances in Finland's 2032 presidential election's second round of public vote.

I have had trouble actually enjoying reviews lately. I guess I burnt something out when I toiled on the reviews queue a few years ago, before Derigin appeared and stole my thunder... In any case, a bunch of my favourites from the past decade, in random order:

Gutterscream and Drowned:

These two share certain characteristics: both write excellent reviews, with an obvious wealth of experience. They also extremely rarely wander into any territory familiar to me, but the point is that the reviews are always of very high quality, to the point, and, well, for a lack of a better word, professional. Both show humongous knowledge of the history of their chosen genres, for which I'm forever jealous. I was listening to Master of Puppets when they were already exploring the depth of the murky underground.

Peregrin and Cheeses_Priced:

I don't quite know why I feel like lumping these two together, but I get a similar vibe of rather intelligent sense of humour from the two. Come to think of it, I can't recall any specifics or details of any of the works by either one, but the usernames bring very positive recollections from the years I spent scourging the reviews queue.

autothrall:

Say what you will, but the man is a reviewing machine. Yes, he has templates, and doesn't wander outside his comfort zone very often, but then again, the templates and the comfort zone work for him, and as far as ratings go, I trust his judgement without question. He seems to pick the ratings I'd choose 97% of the time. The same goes for UltraBoris, with a bit more error, but outside of the generally hilarious insults, his works are not very readable, to be honest.

caspian, DeathRiderDoom, Empyreal, GünthaDaUndyed, Razakel, a BIG bunch of others:

There are too many of these people, really. The real downside of the current scribe system is that there are fewer high-quality reviews in the queue, and there's often an atmosphere of mediocrity there. I haven't read much of the good stuff since the system was instituted, and I have honestly fallen behind the times. There's a big bunch of people who'd deserve a shout-out, my apologies to those I fail to pinpoint right now. And no, despite the obvious bias on the list, it does not help you get on this list if I've seen you nekkid, drunk & sweaty...

I guess that the reviews I like the most always show a joy of writing for the sake of writing, rather than some kind of duty or aim to impress. Reviews are opinions on a form of entertainment, but for me, at their best, they can be a form of entertainment on their own merit. Comedy, serious contemplation, essays, outrageous gimmicks, anything goes as long as the quality is good and the author knows what he's actually capable of and doesn't overreach his abilities. Start small, and grow, please.
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Ilwhyan
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2014 8:00 am 
 

That's definitely true about starting small. Many embarrassing reviews are actually written by people who are technically capable of reviewing music in a more limited scope but overreach themselves by an enormous margin, motivated by a vague desire to create something "epic" or to impress. See this piece of epic crap: http://www.metal-archives.com/reviews/M ... 7/Wra1th1s

Wra1th1s has written decent reviews. His better ones are the more concise and focused ones. He then attempts to impress everyone with epicness and homage our old chum UltraBoris, which results in an unreadable, meandering, pointlessly bloated corpse of a review.

I'm also guilty of overdoing it. It's especially easy to fall for when you're reviewing something you have very strong feelings about. When it's your favourite album ever, you feel that it deserves a grandiose review, and when you're really bashing something, you might feel that insufficient description of the sheer shittiness of the music would come across as unjustifiedly dismissive, and sometimes you just hate something so much that you can't stop throwing insults at it. :lol:
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Diamhea
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2014 8:12 am 
 

Ha! "Cliffy gets seriously neutered here." almost made that review worth it, but otherwise it is pretty bad. The first three paragraphs, I hate that shit. That stream of consciousness rambling always irks me. I hear you on that last paragraph you wrote, though. The closest I ever probably got to that was my review for Limbonic Art's Ad Noctum, I really adore that album and felt the need to get everything out of my system. Wraith's Ultraboris references are indeed pretty lame; gotta learn to do it in a more subtle fashion. One of my reviews I make a vague reference to one of his phrases: "headbang now, survive later", but I often try to hide little references in a lot of my reviews. I'm sure nobody actually gets them, but whatever, it makes writing more fun.
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Razakel
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2014 7:10 pm 
 

Ilwhyan wrote:
I'm also guilty of overdoing it. It's especially easy to fall for when you're reviewing something you have very strong feelings about. When it's your favourite album ever, you feel that it deserves a grandiose review, and when you're really bashing something, you might feel that insufficient description of the sheer shittiness of the music would come across as unjustifiedly dismissive, and sometimes you just hate something so much that you can't stop throwing insults at it. :lol:


Being concise is something that I've learned makes for stronger reviews simply by reading other people's reviews. Longer reviews have their place, but the vast majority of the time, sprawling reviews could benefit from some trimming. I haven't being reviewing lately, but I've generally come to aim for between 500 - 600 words. It's more impressive if you can explain why an album rules or sucks without spending thousands of words doing it.

I really need to get back to reviewing when this semester's over with, especially because I just got a shout out from Napero :-P

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Gutterscream
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2014 10:50 pm 
 

Another in no particular order:

Failsafeman - another who usually has a lot to say and says it well, and he can be just as longwinded as the best of us (http://www.metal-archives.com/reviews/H ... ailsafeman), but sometimes ya just gotta let it all out. A serious reviewer without much of the hot steam of seriousness, plus he and I roll in a lot of the same metal mud.

http://www.metal-archives.com/reviews/O ... ailsafeman
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HeySharpshooter
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2014 11:26 pm 
 

I admit that although I post a lot of reviews, I read very few here. It's largely because of time constraints, and every time I get into reading some I find that 9/10 are just totally worthless and boring beyond words. That said, there are a few reviewers I seek out

autothrall: He's just one of the best. Not every review is a winner by any stretch, but his volume is so high that he's kind of the Carmelo Anthony of the boards(for the basketball fans): takes a lot of shots and scores a ton of points. And his taste is very diverse.

joncheetham88: Strong, detailed reviews. Don't always agree with him, but he backs everything up and never says anything that seems flat out wrong.

Hells_Unicorn: Not really into the exact same things, but I just dig his style. It works for me, even if we completely disagree.

MutantClannfear- Again, I'm about 50-50 for agreeing with him overall, but his reviews don't piss me off and he backs up his opinions and I love his Odz Manouk reviews.

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novakm
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2014 9:42 pm 
 

In no order, other than OSS:

OlympicSharpShooter- I wish he still reviewed. Definitely my favorite here.

Zeingard- Whatever happened to his reviews? Really enjoyed a lot of his work.

Noktorn- He had pretty much no rhyme or rhythm to what he liked or disliked, but he definitely had a unique voice. Good guy too.

Empyreal- Lots of humorous/insightful points made on various albums and subgenres of metal.

Autothrall- Reliable reviewer of a large assortment of subgenres and bands.

UltraBoris- Some of his reviews were terrible, but a lot of his reviews of thrash and straightforward metal were helpful to me in discovering new bands. Many of his reviews have to be taken with a grain of salt though.

Gabometal88 (or whatever number it was)- It was a shame he got caught plagiarizing because he reviews were fun to read.

GuntherTheUndying- Solid reviewer all around.

BastardHead- See GuntherTheUndying

Radagast- Always seems to have an opinion on the power metal and speed metal albums I'm researching. I very much enjoy his prose even if he wrote for the laughably bad metalcdratings.com

Notably mentioned- Flamos, Hells_unicorn

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AcidWorm
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 29, 2014 12:05 pm 
 

Yeah, Gabo was a pretty good reviewer. I recall his reviews were heavy with grammatical and spelling errors though, due to English being a second language and that was a bit off-putting.

And with Ultraboris, his reviews were funny about 10 years ago when I was younger, and he had the most reviews out of anyone on the site for a while. Now I just find a lot of his reviews to be very short and thin lacking substance, particularly when he does track by tracks just saying this song sounds like Priest, this one like Maiden and has a killer hook etc. His mocking doesn't really entertain me any more either. His reviews have always been easy to read though. Boris' reviews did help me get started in to thrash metal though he mostly just reviewed the more well known bands, but that is probably also due to how over the past 10-12 years how easy it has become to find everything.
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Empyreal
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 29, 2014 12:12 pm 
 

Thanks for the mention novakm, glad to be recognized!

UB wasn't the greatest, had some subpar reviews. But he was great when he did longer more detailed ones. He had personality - something many young reviewers these days lack.
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Gutterscream
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 29, 2014 3:52 pm 
 

Another:

Autothrall: It's easy to miss one of his reviews due to the sheer velocity he churns 'em out, and at that rate you'd figure he'd cut corners and be kinda 'off' a lot of times, and if it's happened then I've missed those moments. Quality isn't something his reviews lack and he's all over the place in his tastes, which can be off-putting to some, but it proves he's not resting in some pigeonhole or plays it safe. Here's one I happened upon just recently that I missed and it's my humble opinion that he's on the ball with his own.
http://www.metal-archives.com/reviews/N ... autothrall
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Diamhea
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 29, 2014 4:10 pm 
 

I generally abstain from posting in this thread, as most people get multiple mentions anyway. However, Left Hand ov Dog deserves a nod. He writes very eloquently and always stands out from the pack. He hasn't been active in a while, which is a damn shame as far as I am concerned.
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Rykov
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 29, 2014 11:07 pm 
 

MutantClannfear's high up there, as his reviews tend to be thorough and amusing to read, though I tend to agree with his overall views of the music only about half the time (his veneration of Cephalotripsy frankly baffles me, and the logic behind his contention that Aborted and Cerebral Bore are 'poppy' continues to evade me).

Autothrall, needless to say, merits a spot in this thread not only by virtue of how damn prolific the dude is as a reviewer, but also by virtue of his ability to maintain fairly consistent quality with his reviews whilst maintaining that pace. His reviews have introduced me to some pretty decent bands (including a number he himself was none too fond of).
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GuntherTheUndying
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 30, 2014 12:15 am 
 

Thanks to everyone who mentioned me in this thread. Appreciate it.
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BastardHead
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 30, 2014 3:01 am 
 

Yeah, definitely have to give my thanks as well. Getting fanmail from dudes in their thirties when I was seventeen was a surreal experience that I never got over and it's still weird to me to think that I'm minorly famous in any capacity. I go on and on about how much I love myself but really that's almost entirely my reviewing persona, and I'm very humbled to see mentions in this thread. So thank you, you're all beautiful people.

I don't think I really have enough in me right now to thoroughly explain why I enjoy the writers I do since it's 1am, but I'll at the very least give my shoutouts as well:

OlympicSharpShooter is probably the biggest one for me. I mean, my early stuff was obviously just raping UltraBoris's style for all it was worth, but OSS was one of the first that made me want to get more serious about this whole reviewing thing. The dude had an astounding amount of class and was just on the ball 100% of the time. You never doubted his opinions, even when they were strange (95% for Load?), because he just had such a fantastic way with words that left no sense of uncertainty in your mind. Even great writers like droneriot and Zodijackyl have those certain reviews where you just can't help but feel like they started off as an attempt to be simply contrarian or make some sort of bizarrely facetious artistic statement, but you can't shake the feeling that they've just gone so far into character that they can't get out. OSS never had that, no matter how fervently he was standing behind whatever it was he was standing behind. His drunken review for Ribspreader is an essential read. I don't know if it's still up there, but he had a list of reviewers he recommended in his profile, and the day I saw "BastardHead" get added to that list was the day that I felt like I "made it". Huge inspiration to me and definitely one of the best writers the site ever had.

If OSS was the best writer of yesteryear, I'd almost be willing to say that RapeTheDead is the best one of the current generation. So strange considering he blames me for him getting into the whole reviewing thing in the first place, and maybe it's because he's also a dude I have the pleasure of talking to outside of MA relatively frequently, but he emulates OSS in the sense that he's very eloquent and almost always has these airtight arguments for why he feels the way he does on everything. You know how the only way to be a really good liar is to make sure you cover every single possible base in your lie? Like if you're a kid and decided to go out and cause trouble, you had to know your excuse to tell your parents where you were, you had to know all the players in your alibi and if they would have any way of confirming through any particular source whether or not your story was legit. It's like chess, you always have to think two moves ahead to be a good chess player, you need to think two lies ahead to be a good liar, and RapeTheDead has always thought two counterpoints ahead in every case he makes for every band and every album and he just always has the most perfectly sound reasoning for every statement he makes. A while back, I entertained the idea of bringing a second writer onto my blog to cover some of the genres I tend to neglect (and also to keep the updates a bit more constant), and RapeTheDead was the first and only candidate I had in mind.

Basically tied with him for the best writer right now is lord_ghengis, who is everything I just said about RTD along with also having one of the sharpest wits and most effectively scathing brands of humor I've ever seen. Only guy more entertaining to read would probably be Liquid_Braino, who is essentially my spirit horse for writing in a similar style as me, covering all the silly Japanese weeaboo metal I enjoy, and being one of the funniest goddamn people on the site. For that awesome blend of humor, prose, voice, and actual description of the music, I'm also gonna have to be the millionth guy to crown Napero as the god-king of entertaining reviews. zeingard was similar in the sense that he was always immensely entertaining and always managed to give you a perfect picture of the album as well. I wish he was around more, I can't be the only guy making Futurama jokes in my reviews!

Then there's also MutantClannfear, who also reminds me of myself in his tendency to say about three times as many words as necessary but always manages to keep things clear and easy to read and, even with most of his really long reviews, never once feels like he's just bloating his word count. You can read them all the way through without ever feeling like you've just gone through a short story. A lot of noobs use a lot of words to say very little, MC uses a lot of words to say a lot. He can cram every last amount of his thoughts into what he says, and he chooses every word carefully and has somehow mastered the art of making it easy to read. There are... umm, some other reviews on this site that I will not mention that read like unbelievably dry thesis papers, and then there's MC who wrote his thesis on how to properly do the moonwalk and he got an A fucking Plus. Entertaining writer who says a shitload without repeating himself ten times like I just did with this paragraph. He gets accused for being Noktorn-lite, which in a way I can kinda see, but there's no denying that he has his own voice and he's very fun to read. He's basically the stylistic opposite of caspian while achieving the same goal. MC holds a presentation on Czech slam and makes it interesting, while Casp just sits down next to you at the bar and chats about what he thought of the new Conan album. The difference is that most people who try to keep it short and simple end up telling you very little past "it sucks" or "it rocks", whereas Casp gives you the full picture in very few words, states and backs up his thoughts, and then surfs off into the sunset, off to go do something rad. Also I bolded Noktorn's name because even though his persona rubbed people the wrong way a lot and even though he's probably the most pretentious kid the site's ever seen, he's also one of the best writers simultaneously. Somewhere in his oeuvre, he has a simile about a house made out of waffles, and it's the greatest thing ever.

Quick others since I rambled FAR more than I planned on: Nightgaunt is literally the only cut-and-dry-matter-of-fact-fuck-being-funny-just-say-something-about-the-music-and-carry-on-with-your-day reviewer that I adore. He's only written like what, six or eight since the site's been around? But that doesn't matter because all of them are flawless and essential reads. cheeses_priced is an OG comedian who can manage to make me laugh out loud with alarming regularity, along with the_navy_blue_vicar who has written some of the best reviews I've ever read period. ANationalAcrobat is special as well. You know how some people find an album they hate and then they just go completely overboard trying to find every stupid simile possible to describe how awful it is and just end up making a plethora of terrible jokes and tell nobody anything? ANA is like the only guy who does that for things he loves, but he's actually a great writer who is both immensely enthusiastic and also smart and knowledgeable about what it is he's goobing all over. One that almost nobody will know off the top of their head is probably Desert_Eagle, who has a whopping four reviews on the site, all submitted on the same day, all of them just side splittingly hilarious.

I know I've missed a couple. Gutterscream, Razakael, GuntherTheUndying, droneriot, dismember_marcin, RageW, Metaintoine, Zodijackyl, Empyreal, surely there's more. You're all great, keep on keepin' on.


Also, you notice something about all these things I've said? Never once have I praised somebody's volume. Don't focus so much on how many reviews you can submit in a year, focus on writing reviews that are enjoyable to read, inject some personality into them, don't try to gab on about the classics or focus solely on the underground. Just... write. Write what you know, be entertaining. That's the best advice I can give to new, aspiring reviewers. autothrall is very admirable in his sheer output and consistency (as was hells_unicorn back in the day), but at the end of the day, we all remember the people who made a mark on us with their charm, their voice, their enthusiasm, their prose, class, skill, humor, all these other intangibles that make them memorable. Once you get to the point where you can describe music without sounding like a wikipedia article or some other sort of robot, that's when you'll realize the true joy of writing these reviews.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
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Ilwhyan
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 30, 2014 10:35 am 
 

Diamhea wrote:
I generally abstain from posting in this thread, as most people get multiple mentions anyway. However, Left Hand ov Dog deserves a nod. He writes very eloquently and always stands out from the pack. He hasn't been active in a while, which is a damn shame as far as I am concerned.

But his taste. :ugh: 96% for Phantom Antichrist? It's not as bad as kluseba, and probably not as bad as Orbitball either, but I usually don't read anything he posts because he often rates sucky stuff very highly.
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iamntbatman
Chaos Breed

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 30, 2014 11:19 am 
 

The award for "most mentions of his own reviews and their excellence in a post ostensibly about his favorite reviewers on the site" clearly goes to BastardHead.

BastardHead wrote:
...Getting fanmail from dudes in their thirties when I was seventeen was a surreal experience that I never got over and it's still weird to me to think that I'm minorly famous in any capacity. I go on and on about how much I love myself but really that's almost entirely my reviewing persona, and I'm very humbled to see mentions in this thread....I don't know if it's still up there, but he had a list of reviewers he recommended in his profile, and the day I saw "BastardHead" get added to that list was the day that I felt like I "made it"....So strange considering he blames me for him getting into the whole reviewing thing in the first place, and maybe it's because he's also a dude I have the pleasure of talking to outside of MA relatively frequently....A while back, I entertained the idea of bringing a second writer onto my blog to cover some of the genres I tend to neglect (and also to keep the updates a bit more constant), and RapeTheDead was the first and only candidate I had in mind....Only guy more entertaining to read would probably be Liquid_Braino, who is essentially my spirit horse for writing in a similar style as me, covering all the silly Japanese weeaboo metal I enjoy, and being one of the funniest goddamn people on the site....I wish he was around more, I can't be the only guy making Futurama jokes in my reviews! Then there's also MutantClannfear, who also reminds me of myself in his tendency to say about three times as many words as necessary but always manages to keep things clear and easy to read and, even with most of his really long reviews, never once feels like he's just bloating his word count....That's the best advice I can give to new, aspiring reviewers....That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
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Diamhea
Eats and Spits Corpses

Joined: Wed Feb 14, 2007 7:46 pm
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 30, 2014 1:21 pm 
 

Ilwhyan wrote:
Diamhea wrote:
I generally abstain from posting in this thread, as most people get multiple mentions anyway. However, Left Hand ov Dog deserves a nod. He writes very eloquently and always stands out from the pack. He hasn't been active in a while, which is a damn shame as far as I am concerned.

But his taste. :ugh: 96% for Phantom Antichrist? It's not as bad as kluseba, and probably not as bad as Orbitball either, but I usually don't read anything he posts because he often rates sucky stuff very highly.


Well, I agree that the ratings are inconsistent, but that wasn't exactly what I was trying to point out. I try to not let peoples' opinion mar what may otherwise be an enjoyable read. As long as they make a reasonable case for their viewpoint, at least.

I also think BastardHead makes a relatively strong point regarding the better reviews having personality and being "fun" reads, but I feel that some people go a bit too far with the meta-humour and rambling anger concept at times. I think that the best reviews have a decent balance of both that and a solid appraisal of the music itself. Just off the top of my head, I recall Empyreal doing this quite well aa a few junctures, some of his Dimmu Borgir reviews, if I'm not mistaken.
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Ilwhyan
Metel fraek

Joined: Sat Sep 29, 2007 1:41 pm
Posts: 6334
Location: Finland
PostPosted: Sun Mar 30, 2014 1:22 pm 
 

Diamhea wrote:
Ilwhyan wrote:
But his taste. :ugh: 96% for Phantom Antichrist? It's not as bad as kluseba, and probably not as bad as Orbitball either, but I usually don't read anything he posts because he often rates sucky stuff very highly.


Well, I agree that the ratings are inconsistent, but that wasn't exactly what I was trying to point out. I try to not let peoples' opinion mar what may otherwise be an enjoyable read. As long as they make a reasonable case for their viewpoint, at least..

Of course, I agree completely.
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"Behold, wizard, for the last time how the sun looks, for henceforth you will watch it with empty sockets!"
Illusions Dead - death/black metal

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