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Osore
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Thu Apr 10, 2014 9:55 am
Posts: 9
Location: Serbia
PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2014 9:59 am 
 

First time my review was rejected for the following reasons: "The contents of your review are acceptable, but it is poorly formatted and difficult or annoying to read." Then I've done certain changes, checked possible grammar mistakes once again, created new paragraphs and stylistically changed critical sentences. Polished review was rejected again because there is "Way too much focus on preconceptions and abstract descriptions/references. This isn't really coherent as a whole and doesn't get the point across effectively." I'm confused I don't know what's wrong. English is not my native language and it's not perfect, but I suppose that biological terms may be a problem. As a biologist and writer, I love to apply eclectic manner. Two different people gave me two different comments about the same content (Diamhea and Zodijackyl). Here is the review and I hope someone can give me an advice:

Let’s listen to this album pretending nobody knows it is categorized as black metal.
What we hear now is just music, what we feel is a real astonishment, not disturbance, because there is no thought of hipster black metal.
Based on my own standards and criteria, Try Not to Destroy Everything You Love is a high quality album. Its unique sound evokes and resurrects depressive, melancholic, grey-sparkling and silent emotions & meanings while ordinary black metal stays black and loud. I appreciate all dark-colored works of art as long as I can see deeper while hearing. This album enriched me because it ingeniously captures insignificance, weakness and transience of fragile personalities and hopes to preserve it as a warning and a cure.

Songs seemed uniformed to me at first, but it doesn't mean they are all the same, boring and non-diverse. They are just covered in the same glitter, connected with unique, recognizable, flowing sound. Different layers of catchy, distorted and often slow walls of guitars collide and merge with other elements (described in the last paragraph) remembering of Gladiolus on the cover, formed from hybridization between the few different plants. Lo-fi production is not the problem, but advantage. With a clearer sound, this might be a new mallcore band. Cover picture isn't crystal clear in its appearance, but does it mean that An Autumn for Crippled Children don’t have commercial, mainstream tendencies? Typical black metaller has a negative, impetuous respond. Relying on the power of observation, we discovered a lot of colorful (black) metal covers, but must admit that pale pink is quite unusual on the first sight, especially for extreme metal. After taking a closer look we found vocals on this album to be sharp and fragile, just like a Sword lily, Little sword or simply Gladiolus. Possible conclusion is that flowers represent objects of love like victims because they are arranged in a spike inflorescence on a sword-shaped peduncle; unifacial leaves resemble saber. White flower may symbolize a dead person; band member MXM stated in the interview: “Hearts of Light is about someone who passed away, who totally did not deserved it. Truly a heart filled with only light.” Disintegration of above-ground plant parts on every year corresponding to destruction of love; tuber-like bulbs, called corms, storage the energy for rebirth - wonderful, but ephemeral flowers come to life. Living and feeling is dangerous and brief. We are constantly loosing. Album title is a magnificent advice which helps us to reduce that fading. MXM said: “Avoiding Winter is about hope. Trying to hold on and not be defeated by the lack of light sometimes.” He’s right, at the very beginning we hear keyboards and imagine glorious Gladioli flicker on the breeze and at 02:49 comes melodic, bright breakdown.

Interpretations and ideas are endless. AAFCC broadened the horizon of expectations and illuminated everything with kaleidoscopic spectrum. Or not?
It is natural and logical for fans of classic/raw/true black metal to be upset after they discover this release and try to defend their treasure from invasion of difference. An Autumn for Crippled Children tried not to destroy everything they love and this is why their album has just one characteristic typical for black metal – shrieked, high-pitched vocals. But black metal is something more than just screeching, right? This album cannot be called even blackened. Stupid necessity for classification brought true black metallers here to try this and call it shit.

Throughout the history, in every art form (weather it is music, literature, painting, theater, etc.) little revolutions were emerging: romanticism, for example, stood out with something different and opposite from medieval and enlightenment manner of crafting and content of created. An Autumn for Crippled Children made album that falls under the umbrella of metal – everyone agrees. Problem for some fans of elder sound as opposed to the new post 2010 wave of post-black (metal?) music is a wrong point of view. They shouldn't be angy like the residents of Paris when Les Fleurs du mal was first published in 1857. Baudelaire said to his lady: ‘’Yet thou shalt be as vile a carrion’’ [Jack Collings Squire, Poems and Baudelaire Flowers (London: The New Age Press, Ltd, 1909)]; An Autumn for Crippled Children mixed layers of electronics, keyboards and melancholic vibrations with odd tremolo picking, high-pitched vocals and at the top of it captured slow, doomy drumming. Both are despised and forbidden by some authorities.


Last edited by Osore on Tue Aug 12, 2014 10:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
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LeMiserable
Milhouse van Houten

Joined: Sun Dec 08, 2013 7:42 am
Posts: 567
Location: Netherlands
PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2014 10:36 am 
 

I'd still reject this, this is a unreadable wall of text. You're making it look like you're writing for the Catholic Church. I guess people wanna show off their skills but I'd rather have a simple and readable review. You use things nobody gives a shit about (quotes from 100 years ago), you use terms you can only find in a library, and you make the review very annoying to read. You make yourself look like a philosopher trying to explain your view to the guy right next to you.

ps. take a look at autothrall and Noktorn on MA itself, they use reasonably difficult terms as well but their reviews are very easy to read.
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Osore
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Thu Apr 10, 2014 9:55 am
Posts: 9
Location: Serbia
PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2014 11:43 am 
 

I didn't have any intention to sound unreadable and I'm surprised to hear that. I think I'm skillful, but only in my native language. I considered my review as a really simple one. I used terms which are in every day use in my language, but I didn't know how poor is English. For example, we have word цваст for inflorescence which is not derived from Latin inflorescentia. You can not talk in English about plant parts without considering dictionary, but it has to do something with people's wisdom. Smarter nations have words for things they know about and these words are not terms, they are in every day use (луковица means bulb and лук means onion - you can see the word лук is also in луковица and it means that people know that onion has a bulb and called them in a similar way but it's not the case in English; maybe it will be easier on Latin alphabet which is also in use: luk-lukovica). Okay, sorry for the lecture.

How nobody "gives a shit" about Charles Baudelaire? I don't know anything about intellectual niche here, but I know a lot of people familiar with literacy, and Baudelaire is known around the world and he's influences are still present even in the music.

Maybe I am difficult to read because I'm not so skillful in English (as native English speakers autothrall and Noktorn are) and have no clue how it sounds to native speakers. Maybe someone just doesn't want to try to think deeper while reading. I expect from people to think because I've done pretty much the same to be able to write this. I didn't want to write newspaper-like review, but something more valuable.

Also, I haven't expected to be so annoying, unreadable and floating as a philosopher because I did this in my first review when I wasn't aware of the rules. I'll think about it as a compliment.

Shall we say I need to consider public's awareness next time and to imagine I'm explaining certain things to someone who has to understand it, never mind how it will influence the style?


Last edited by Osore on Tue Aug 12, 2014 10:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
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MutantClannfear
Metalhead

Joined: Thu May 27, 2010 12:12 am
Posts: 2366
Location: United States
PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2014 12:48 pm 
 

I'd like to offer this point of view: Your English isn't bad (though it could use a bit of work, and I'd be happy to help you proofread it if you'd like), but the bottom line is that the review feels rather fragmented. The ending paragraph doesn't feel like a decisive summary of your thoughts on the album. The review feels like the vocals are mentioned in one sentence, then you start talking about something else, then you return to the vocals for another sentence, and it repeats. It makes for a very uncomfortable read, and while using more symbolic or allusive writing in a review is fine, it's usually best to keep it to a minimum unless you have a rock-solid idea of how much you want to actually express. The review jumps from flowers, to artist statements, to French literature references (?) without fleshing out any of those concepts. Try talking more about the individual musical elements in concrete terms (note that "concrete" description does not have to be boring whatsoever), and then using metaphors near the end to tie everything together.
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Smoking_Gnu
Chicago Favorite

Joined: Sat Mar 15, 2008 11:22 pm
Posts: 2725
Location: United States
PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2014 12:57 pm 
 

Osore wrote:
How nobody "gives a shit" about Charles Baudelaire? I don't anything about intellectual niche here, but I know a lot of people familiar with literacy, and Baudelaire is known around the world and he's influences are still present even in the music.

Maybe I am difficult to read because I'm not so skillful in English (as native English speakers autothrall and Noktorn are) and have no clue how it sounds to native speakers. Maybe someone just doesn't want to try to think deeper while reading. I expect from people to think because I've done pretty much the same to be able to write this. I didn't want to write newspaper-like review, but something more valuable.


Many people here (self included) certainly enjoy philosophers/literary criticism etc., but when applying these outside sources to the context of a review, you have to make sure you're clearly explaining the relationship between the album itself and the outside sources - as others have mentioned, your injections of Baudelaire and French literature come and go very abruptly, and it's often unclear as to what points your trying to connect between the two sources.

For a great example of how to tie outside literary/critical sources into an album review, check out PhilosophicalFrog's review of Rotting Christ's "Triarchy of the Lost Lovers." He ties in thoughts on Yeats/romanticism/etc, but always clearly shows how the music displays those concepts - Rather than focusing on the critcal/metatextual side to the exclusion of the music itself.

http://www.metal-archives.com/reviews/R ... Frog/68002

Also - thanks for sticking with us for the advice! Writing such an intricate review in your second language is a hell of an undertaking, and you're definitely on the right path to getting things up to speed.
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MonumentalBlackArt
Metal newbie

Joined: Tue Feb 18, 2014 12:04 am
Posts: 305
PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2014 1:01 pm 
 

Your English could use some work but it's understandable. What you're actually trying to say escapes me though. You spend a lot of time being philosophical/poetic and it would come across as super pretentious if I could understand what you're getting at. I'm not at all an experienced reviewer, but I think that a review should do two things.

1. Describe the music.
2. Say what you think of the music.

Obviously a review for a classic should have more than that, but for most albums, checking both of those boxes should do the trick. Reading your review (I've never listened to the release), I've learned that it has lofi production, shrieked vocals, some keys, kind of a bright feel to it, and doomy drumming. That's a good start, but there's also a lot of stuff (basically the whole second paragraph) that's totally unnecessary and confuses me. I think you should leave out all of this musing until the final paragraph, after you've given a good description of the music.

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Diamhea
Eats and Spits Corpses

Joined: Wed Feb 14, 2007 7:46 pm
Posts: 3974
Location: At the Heat of Winter
PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2014 1:13 pm 
 

Err, this is sorta my fault. The "poor formatting" rejection message is actually a pre-set template, and while it opens with "The contents of your review are acceptable..." I didn't actually read the review in much detail. I rejected it for the formatting right off the bat. So in short, I am not disagreeing with Zodijackyl's opinion here, so please don't think that is the case.
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Osore
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Thu Apr 10, 2014 9:55 am
Posts: 9
Location: Serbia
PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2014 2:29 pm 
 

Thanks everyone, comments are really helpful!
I agree with everything, but let me say first something about the last paragraph. I was trying to associate readers to the fact that Baudelaire's collection ended on court and the 6 songs were restricted. An Autumn for Crippled Children also did something unexpected and reversed "the rules" in black metal circles. Relationship between the artists and the public stayed pretty much the same throughout the centuries - It is risky to brake horizons of expectation (phenomenon called horizon of change http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horizons_of_Expectation). Maybe I should be more opened and understandable in the review about this.

MutantClannfear, I like your proposal. I didn't know fragmentation is so obvious, It's little hard for me to take a bigger view on everything that has been written. I must admit, after I'd written this review I read It and ended up with a conclusion that It's not telling me so much about the music, so I decided to add one more paragraph about it (because my very first, rejected review was like short lyrical essay and has nothing to do with the music) and I was driven by my thoughts to a layer of meaning trying to interpret the album. That's how another "controversial, plant paragraph" was made. I'm not a musician so I cannot talk so much about the music without being boring. I would like to be able to review something from a composer's perspective, but you live just once, so It is impossible to be academically educated in every aspect. Of course, I don't think all reviewers are professional musicians, but the more involved in music you are, the easier is for you to write about It. At the end, I don't loose, I can be a good music recipient because the way of thinking about art is the same, weather you're encounter a picture or get attacked by a novel.

Smoking_Gnu, I've just read the review, It is marvelous! So effectively written that forces me to listen that album (although I thought only the last album of Rotting Christ is worth being in my collection)! Relies on phenomenological theory, especially this magnificent part:
"I explored the forest, colored entirely white by the morning’s snow, for the entire length of the album. I broke open the ice covering the rivers, revealing the immensity of life beneath the deadened snowfall, the small minnows swimming against the current, the invincible plants that thrived on the banks. I looked to the aging oak trees and saw that they were very much alive, in spite of their slackened appearance; there were animals creating their dens within them, feeding off of the plants buried deep within the earth. It was then, among what seemed to be a frigid and still wilderness, that I understood the nature of this album."

MonumentalBlackArt, I agree, but personally would like to read more reviews similar to the one mentioned above. Is there any difference between meaning of those words: review and recension? I thought the original meaning of review is like something written on the back of the novel or a text that tells us how some piece of art looks like, how we see (view) it, but doesn't evaluate it.

Diamhea, this is just what popped up into my mind when I read somewhere that review won't be read if it's not formatted properly. It's funny, now I need to consider deeply everything I've done - everyone thinks there's something wrong. I'm not saying It was perfect, but there was a sparkle of hope that it fits the criteria.

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Osore
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Thu Apr 10, 2014 9:55 am
Posts: 9
Location: Serbia
PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2014 9:03 pm 
 

I considered suggestions and made a lot of changes. Note that the terms are less frequent this time. I think there is the same amount of descriptions about the music as in the accepted review for the same album written by SLlMER (who has different opinion, but written in a great way) plus I connected music with the meaning and the cover. If it's not appropriate, I need to give up on this, I have a headache and it's time to study something more official.
Here's the new review, feel free to criticize, I don't want to send it to be rejected again. I expect to hear at least first two paragraphs are okay.

An Autumn for Crippled Children tried not to destroy everything they love and this is why their album has just one characteristic typical for black metal – the vocals. But black metal is something more than just monotonous screeching, right? This album cannot be called even blackened, although this is not the reason to avoid it if you are a fan of something more classic like Burzum. Let me present atmospheric sound that will make you forget all legendary bands in this particularly diverse musical field.

Songs seemed uniformed at first, but it doesn't mean they are all the same, boring and non-diverse. They are just covered in the same glitter, connected with unique, recognisable, flowing sound consisted of the mixed layers of electronics, keyboards and melancholic vibrations with odd tremolo picking, high-pitched vocals and slow, doomy drumming at the top of it. This formula is present on every song and its unusual and interesting how those elements are emerging - every time I listen discover something new. Keyboards are often hidden beneath, but they can be very prominent in some points, forming introduction on title track or subtle and repetitious parts on marvelous song The Woods are on Fire. Electronic streams carry the strongest emotions. Guitars are buzzing most of the time creating even darker feeling than pure melancholy, but often show their post-rock influenced style that certainly avoids winter and evokes slightly warmer vibe, sadder and less aggressive. Production is lo-fi, but in a good way, as dirt added to a glitter.

Putting pale pink Gladiolus on a cover seems like a crime in extreme metal unless you start thinking with different approach. Gladiolus is formed from hybridization between the few different plants and what do we have on this album if not a different layers of catchy, distorted and often slow walls of guitars that collide and merge with other elements? It may be a reason number one for putting it on the cover. So why should we stop there? Let’s dig some more interesting connections! Flowers are arranged on a sword-shaped peduncle and may represent objects of love like our victims (remember of the title). White flower in the corner may symbolize a dead person; band member MXM stated in the interview: “Hearts of Light is about someone who passed away, who totally did not deserved it. Truly a heart filled with only light.” Disintegration of above-ground plant parts in autumn corresponding to destruction of love; underground parts storage the energy for rebirth during the winter - wonderful, but ephemeral flowers come to life later in spring. Living and feeling is dangerous and brief. We are constantly loosing. Album title is a magnificent advice which helps us to reduce that fading. MXM said: “Avoiding Winter is about hope. Trying to hold on and not be defeated by the lack of light sometimes.” He’s right, at the very beginning we hear keyboards and imagine glorious Gladioli flicker on the breeze and at 02:49 comes melodic, bright breakdown.
Interpretations and ideas are endless.

AAFCC broadened the horizon of expectations and illuminated everything with kaleidoscopic spectrum. Try Not to Destroy Everything You Love is a high quality album. Its unique sound evokes and resurrects depressive, melancholic, grey-sparkling and silent emotions & meanings while ordinary black metal stays black and loud. I appreciate all dark-colored works of art as long as I can see deeper while hearing. This album enriched me because it ingeniously captures insignificance, weakness and transience of fragile personalities and hopes to preserve it as a warning and a cure.

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