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MidlandsRocks
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Sun Mar 06, 2011 7:26 am
Posts: 14
PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2015 9:35 am 
 

With access to music being so easy (band websites, soundcloud, bandcamp, etc.), is it worth writing reviews anymore?
Does anyone read them?

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StainedClass95
Metalhead

Joined: Fri Jul 04, 2014 4:14 am
Posts: 427
Location: United States
PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2015 5:46 pm 
 

Yeah, the reviews get read. Even with easy access, many of us are reluctant to blindly invest the time to listen to an album and would prefer to have some idea of whether or not we'll like it. As to whether or not you personally should do some reviewing, it just depends on if you want to or not.

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Diamhea
Eats and Spits Corpses

Joined: Wed Feb 14, 2007 7:46 pm
Posts: 4437
Location: At the Heat of Winter
PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2015 5:51 pm 
 

You'll definitely get some looks, but I wouldn't expect any responses unless you either really get under peoples' skin by saying something they perceive as outlandish, or write in a very attention-grabbing style that a few around here do very well.
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caspian
Wanderer of the Wastes

Joined: Tue Dec 07, 2004 11:29 pm
Posts: 6166
Location: Australia
PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2015 7:30 pm 
 

Personally I just think it's a good "when you're incredibly bored" activity. Writing in itself is kinda enjoyable, especially when it flows :) Is it worth doing? In the context of other stuff you could be doing, probably not, but in the context of "wasting time on the internet": yeah, beats the shit out of reddit and facetube and redporn
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AcidWorm
Veteran

Joined: Wed Dec 22, 2010 11:37 pm
Posts: 2868
PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2015 7:41 pm 
 

When everything is on youtube to begin with and it takes as long to download a few songs as it does to read a review on something I rarely find myself browsing the reviews anymore. I also almost never have the urge to write a review anymore, which is probably influenced by this.
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Ancient Sunlight
Metal newbie

Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2014 10:36 am
Posts: 30
PostPosted: Sun Feb 01, 2015 11:20 am 
 

I read the reviews while listening -- it makes me feel others are enjoying the music with me (or not). When there is no review (or very few) for an album that I enjoy, I write it, because I'd have wanted there to be one (or more). It's that simple.

It is also particularly useful when viewing a band's entire discography for the first time. The review scores will give a vague indication of what is best and what is worst, and then the reviews educate me about the circumstances. Personal tales and stylistic flourishes are especially appreciated in that department. You can hear the music easily, but you cannot read a tale about someone's concert experience seeing the band back in the '80s everywhere.

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Wilytank
Not a Flying Toy

Joined: Thu Jul 30, 2009 7:21 am
Posts: 3617
Location: United States
PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2015 9:09 am 
 

MidlandsRocks wrote:
With access to music being so easy (band websites, soundcloud, bandcamp, etc.), is it worth writing reviews anymore?
Does anyone read them?


Even if it is easier to listen to stuff, why not just read the review first anyway to see if it's worth your time?
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Zodijackyl
Lazy Wizard

Joined: Wed Apr 30, 2008 5:39 pm
Posts: 5308
Location: United States
PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2015 4:04 pm 
 

Wilytank wrote:
MidlandsRocks wrote:
With access to music being so easy (band websites, soundcloud, bandcamp, etc.), is it worth writing reviews anymore?
Does anyone read them?


Even if it is easier to listen to stuff, why not just read the review first anyway to see if it's worth your time?


Most reviewers have no respect for your time and will waste as much of it as they can. If you see that you need to scroll down to read a review, are you going to give the time to that review, or to listening to a song which is readily available? I'll offer two instances, one of an album you may not have heard, and one that you certainly have.

For example, look at the first paragraph of every review of Darkest Hour's Undoing Ruin:

Quote:
Darkest Hour may be looked over by "true" metalheads because of the Victory Records logo on their albums. The label does not make the band. Darkest Hour seem to have poured their hearts out to create their latest effort, Undoing Ruin. This album is filled with great riffs and songs, as a whole. The band establishes more of a "Swedish" sound, as many would say, with less "hardcore" than before. This album is balls-out intensity - John Henry screams throughout the entire album - this doesn't ruin the music, it further intensifies it - over the dual guitar harmonies (in thirds, of course).


Quote:
The first Darkest Hour song I've ever heard was "The Sadist Nation." Amazing song. My favorite Darkest Hour song ever. Set the bar high for when I finally got my hands on "Hidden Hands of a Sadist Nation," to be sure. Alas, "Hidden Hands" was one, repetitive, LOOOOOONG song. Except for "Veritas, Aequitas" and the aforementioned "The Sadist Nation," I was bored while listening. Now, when I heard that Darkest Hour was working with Devin Townsend for "Undoing Ruin," my interest piqued; Townsend was and still is one of my favorite musicians, and I wondered what he would do with Darkest Hour. Turns out, he worked a miracle. Bar none, one of my top 5 releases of 2005.


Quote:
This is the first Darkest Hour album I picked up, and I thought it to be very enjoyable. The band seems to be gelling quite well and the songs are very well crafted.


Quote:
I've noticed two recent trends in death metal. The first being deathcore, which I find, to some degree, very enjoyable. The second being the storm of criticism from "true" death metal fans on this genre. I enjoy the originality in some of the bands, namely Suicide Silence, Arsonists Get All the Girls, and Veil of Maya, while others I agree with the criticism (Job for a Cowboy is overrated and just not that good). This brings me to Darkest Hour, one of the few -core bands that cannot be cracked on. Their riffs are original and not ripped from At the Gates's masterpiece, Slaughter of the Soul, and to even note their originality they collaborated with Tomas Lindberg on occassion.


Quote:
I'm not a fan of metalcore, as you'll probably be aware if you've ever read another of my reviews. Basically it just sounds like shit to me. A couple bands manage to somehow avoid becoming a part of that though, namely Karkaos and to some extent Lamb of God, but for the most part I could never understand the enjoyment to be found within metalcore. And that's where Darkest Hour come in, because they're actually pretty good despite all of the typical metalcore flaws.


At a glance, how many of these give the impression that the rest of the review is worth your time rather than looking up a song on YouTube? Are you going to finish reading any of these if you see them stretch beyond the bottom of your screen? Likely not. Three of these five stumble so heavily out of the gate that it's easy to dismiss the author based on their introduction.

Here's a stronger contrast of writing, from reviews of Slayer's Haunting the Chapel:

Quote:
This is the strongest EP Slayer has ever made and I simply cannot imagine that in their current state they could beat this EP, had this EP become a full album it would have taken Reign in Blood's spot as that must have thrash album. Yes it is that insanely good. Everything you loved about Hell Awaits and Reign in Blood condensed into one EP but without the mistakes.


Quote:
This review is going to be short as well. With only 4 songs (I'm reviewing the re-issue) this ep is only 17 minutes of thirst-quenching Slayer. If you've read my recent Show No Mercy review, I mentioned that it has everything minus the 6-7 minute songs like on Hell Awaits and that's where this comes in. Chemical Warfare, which is still played to this day, clocks in at 6:02 and like Show No Mercy has none of the "half songs" of Reign in Blood. It also has Captor of Sin, Haunting the Chapel, and Aggressive Perfector, which I think has been added to just about every reissued Slayer album. Of course I'm joking, but it's been used on reissues multiple times. This version is a little slower and has different vocals in the chorus.


Quote:
“…see the sky burning, the gates are ablaze, Satan waits eager to merge…”

Of Slayer’s entire catalog, the three songs on Haunting the Chapel are perhaps their dirtiest, most unloving inventions. There’s a friendless, merciless singularity about the triad, some sibling bond that bestows a unique oneness in them, like three Antichrists born of the same womb that have simultaneously risen where there were none for thousands of years. Any force thrown against this ep…Creeping Death, Fistful of Metal, Apocalyptic Raids, Sentence of Death…would just deflect off its impregnable field that was as mean and unforgiving as De Sade, black as slave hatred, and actively horrific as a live grenade rolling around the floor of a maternity ward.


I think these three examples are stellar. In my eyes, only one of these three writers "gets it." The first two make no mistake that their reviews are about their opinions and the context of the release within their opinions. The third review is unmistakably about the music and the context of the release within its time and peers.

This raises the question: Why are you reviewing? Do you ever feel the need to justify your opinions, reinforce the fact that you are reviewing? Those first two Slayer reviews do. Do you believe that you have a genuinely worthwhile opinion which deserves publication? The first and third Slayer reviews seem to firmly believe so, yet there is an immense gulf of self-awareness between the reviewer who was born around the time Slayer released Diabolus In Musica and the guy who was nearly that kid's current age when he heard Show No Mercy a couple months before this EP was released. Sure, I'm taking a liberty of 2-3 years here, but as a reviewer, do you have enough perspective that your reviews aren't going to be obsolete/embarrassing in a couple years?

I'll leave you with this piece of advice: When I published page-long reviews of demo, the majority of readers closed the page before scrolling down. When I started publishing demo reviews which fit next to a 200x200 thumbnail of the artwork, the column with five reviews led to most readers also viewing the next article.
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Derigin
Anthropophagus

Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2006 6:25 am
Posts: 2900
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2015 5:07 pm 
 

MidlandsRocks wrote:
With access to music being so easy (band websites, soundcloud, bandcamp, etc.), is it worth writing reviews anymore?
Does anyone read them?

People have a score of different reasons for enjoying reviews, and the types of reviews (short, long, simple, detailed, etc.) that they prefer, though I suspect that nobody is really answering your question. Or, at least, they're not venturing very far from the author's perspective of why writing reviews or even a certain type of review is better than the alternative. You seem to be looking more for an existential answer to your question, and not so much an answer that presumes reviews are already worth writing.

Anecdotal as it may be, over the years I've witnessed how online distribution has grown and changed with the metal scene, in part due to my work here. Right now we live in a time when music is more accessible than it ever has been, but the fact that music is accessible (or is once accessible) does not necessarily translate into it remaining as accessible or available. Unless an album is popular by demand, it tends to slip into obscurity and that process is no different online; how easily accessible an album is can be fleeting. Music that might have been widely available on many different sources 5 or 10 years ago, for example, might be incredibly difficult to find nowadays. Not impossible, of course, as once something is online (or even simply public) it's "out there" forever. However, sources die or move on, albums cease to be made widely public, and even music you could pirate a few years ago (or months ago) is not so easily found. Soundcloud, Bandcamp... in the grand scheme of things, the music currently available on those sites is also not lasting. You can already see that with MySpace, Blogspot, and a whole torrent of file-sharing sites. So, what we take for granted today as being so easy to find may not - will not - be that way tomorrow.

If you value reviews as a way of giving you a glimpse into the features, sound, and style of an album, that value holds true regardless of the accessibility of that album. Not to presume that any one reviewer is objectively correct, however, a single person's glimpse into an album is better than none at all. Many of the reviews I write tend to be for albums I acquired long ago which you likely can't easily find nowadays, unless you really look for them... and perhaps, reviews help serve the purpose for why you should seek out an album. Beyond the popular and infamous albums of the day, the vast majority of music will statistically be the average, obscure variety which, if you have no reason to attain it, will slip into the waste piles of history. So, from this perspective, I suppose it's still worth writing reviews to give others a reason to attain something (or avoid something) they might not otherwise acquire, easily or not.

The value of a review, however, eventually ends with you, the reader. If this thread is a testament to anything, it's that - regardless of your question - people still value reviews for a variety of reasons. Although, perhaps asking a forum of reviewers whether writing reviews would only satiate their desire to circlejerk their chosen profession, I doubt their sentiments vary from the general readership of metal reviews. It may just be that the "worth" of a review is not clearly reduced to a question of accessibility (or the lack thereof) for accessibility's sake.

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RapeTheDead
Metalhead

Joined: Tue Mar 16, 2010 10:48 pm
Posts: 486
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2015 1:14 pm 
 

There's another opinion I often think goes unsaid in these discussions: what about people who have already heard the album in question? Do reviews mean anything to them? Surely there's some value in reading in-depth interpretations of an album you're already familiar with? Yeah, you're not gonna agree with a given writer on many points more often than not, but there's numerous times where I'm just browsing though reviews here and a particular opinion makes me revisit an album in question and causes me to see new things in the music I may have missed the first couple of times around.

Zodijackyl wrote:
At a glance, how many of these give the impression that the rest of the review is worth your time rather than looking up a song on YouTube? Are you going to finish reading any of these if you see them stretch beyond the bottom of your screen? Likely not. Three of these five stumble so heavily out of the gate that it's easy to dismiss the author based on their introduction.


For those reasons, this whole "if you have to scroll down to read a review it's probably bad" thing is sorta bogus. An hour is a lot of time for an album and a lot of different things are going to happen that may require a lot of words to describe what's going on musically. The length of the review does not even seem to be a factor in the criticism you're making...more just the quality of the reviewer's writing. If you're really concerned about "wasting time" or whatever in checking out new bands, why not just skip the "reading reviews" part of that equation and just check out the first thing that pops up with a click of the random band button? Is our current world really plagued with such an attention-deficit disorder that we can't bother to take a few minutes to gain a greater appreciation and understanding of the music we're listening to?

I dunno, I've always liked reading/writing reviews (that's sorta why I signed up for this place). The purpose of independent review-writing always seemed pretty clear to me: giving a distinct, passionate commentary on the metal underground, no matter how inaccessible it might be. I'm glad people on here don't write like it's a metalsucks review article all the time. It allows me to see what they're actually feeling, as individuals, and your own subjectivity is the single most important thing you bring to your experience of an album. Sometimes hearing someone else's personal experience will allow me to better understand my own.
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Zodijackyl
Lazy Wizard

Joined: Wed Apr 30, 2008 5:39 pm
Posts: 5308
Location: United States
PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2015 4:00 pm 
 

RapeTheDead: Before you read my reply, please begin listening to this.
http://fiendcandle1.bandcamp.com/releases

RapeTheDead wrote:
For those reasons, this whole "if you have to scroll down to read a review it's probably bad" thing is sorta bogus. An hour is a lot of time for an album and a lot of different things are going to happen that may require a lot of words to describe what's going on musically. The length of the review does not even seem to be a factor in the criticism you're making...more just the quality of the reviewer's writing.


If the first eight minutes of a 60-minute album are markedly amateur and generally uninteresting, are you going to finish listening to the album? What if it is 20 minutes? 12 minutes? Good musicians and good writers don't just drop the first thing they write at the start. You can easily tell if something is an unpracticed teenager seeking the only publisher available for their mediocre opinions. While we filter out a lot of the worst content, you'll still find some mediocre stuff that seems almost halfway cromulent. I listen to a lot of demos made by amateurs, and I'll usually hear it out if it's relatively short, but it gets more and more torturous to try to finish a bad demo when its length hits 30, 40, 60, even 70+ minutes.

Is the Fiend Candle demo shaping up to be worth your time?

Quote:
If you're really concerned about "wasting time" or whatever in checking out new bands, why not just skip the "reading reviews" part of that equation and just check out the first thing that pops up with a click of the random band button? Is our current world really plagued with such an attention-deficit disorder that we can't bother to take a few minutes to gain a greater appreciation and understanding of the music we're listening to?


If you're using the random band button, or browsing through new releases as I do, do you filter anything out? There's over a hundred thousand metal bands out there, how do you determine which are worth checking out? It is very difficult to mentally turn off these filters, because browsing bands itself has utility and is entertaining in itself, but do you really want to spend your time seeking worthwhile music/knowledge on a musician wearing clown corpsepaint or a reviewer named Crank_It_Up_To_666?

I seriously doubt you spent your time reading that whole Machine Head review. How about that Fiend Candle demo? Skipping tracks? Turned it off? Not to entice you, but it gets worse.

The example of those Slayer reviews underscores the point: the first impression of a review really matters. Do you think any of these reviews whose introductions literally mention the fact that they're reviewing - they they are starstruck by merely writing about a favorite album - are going to be worth reading in large quantities? Even one, really? Looking at a list of 25 reviews for Show No Mercy is like a speed-dating night: you get first impressions, you want to get away from a few as quickly as possible, you find a few you want to get to know a bit better, and you see the best ones again. Well, there are some worth the time if you're on Metal Archives, but if you're reading RYM you're probably either discouraged or getting pegged by DeathRiderDoom right now. There are other places you'll find a review or two at a time, like zines/blogs/sites. Perhaps that doesn't lead well into the final point, oh well.

The point of this is that writing reviews is not worth doing if your only merit is that you have heard something. Writing reviews with a narrow realm of knowledge and angle of insight for the sole purpose of validating your amateur opinions (i.e. the last five users who reviewed Slayer) should be discouraged. Are any of these conducive to the idea to "take a few minutes to gain a greater appreciation and understanding of the music"? Only if the author is able to make it worthwhile. Look at all the reviews from 2004 that are on the way out - this one should probably be deleted - does this really provide a picture of an album that sounds like Metallica, Megadeth, and black metal vocals but not Cradle of Filth? Certainly not.

What a great reviewer can do is provide a high level of insight into an album. I once listened to an album, thought about reviewing it, then read OlympicSharpshooter's review of that album and it was like he had my thoughts, he split it in half and gave a tour of the inside. Gutterscream's reviews fill in the world around an album and show you through the door.

What a competent reviewer can do is demonstrate the right frame of reference for the release - someone who more or less knows what to expect and how to frame it, one who simply gets the context and doesn't get caught up in the differences between a clean modern metal production, an 80s demo, a war metal album, or a black metal tape. The style of bands and how it relates to other bands of the style and era - a mix of both the obvious ones, the more peripheral ones, and even some lesser-known but worthy points of reference.

Poor reviewers often attempt this but miss the mark. Those whose frame of reference for a Venom review is Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, and Mayhem. Someone who thinks that Burzum has the rawest production ever and compares it exclusively to a Darkthrone/Immortal/Mayhem. Worst of all, people who think watching a documentary, reading a Wikipedia article, or buying a Rolling Stone best-of issue give them some sort of in-depth understanding. The guy who submitted a review of Black Sabbath's debut which hinged on the point that downtuning guitars shaped its sound. The guy who submitted a Venom review which stated that it was a major influence on black metal, but he didn't know how, other than a Venom cover on Mayhem's first full-length album. That bonehead who thought Blasphemy were a Darkthrone clone with Burzum ambient influences. Ugh, please don't be that guy who just wants to write reviews for validation of nonexistant authority.

Done with that Fiend Candle album yet? If that were a review, I would've stopped reading by now.
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BastardHead
Magic Mike

Joined: Thu Aug 18, 2005 7:53 pm
Posts: 5671
Location: Oswego, Illinois
PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2015 8:28 pm 
 

ITT: Zodi uses 502 more words than his intentionally-as-bare-bones-as-possible-to-make-a-point Wintersun review to essentially just say "noobs shouldn't review until they get a better grasp on the music".

Anyway, yeah anybody can check out anything with ease, but I think most of the best writers here write and read for a combination of themselves and a love of the analytical dissection of albums they already know. Writing as a "buyer's guide" is pretty antiquated at this point, and there's a reason most of the best stuff on the site is more retrospective in nature. It's fun to read about albums you already know, and it's fun to read about albums you don't know when the writer can keep it fresh and interesting beyond "it sounds like this". Granted, "it sounds like this" is all we really ask and is all that's technically required, but when you go the extra mile and inject your own opinion and personality into a review, that's when I think it actually blossoms into a real piece worth reading.
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Zodijackyl
Lazy Wizard

Joined: Wed Apr 30, 2008 5:39 pm
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2015 8:51 pm 
 

BastardHead wrote:
ITT: Zodi uses 502 more words than his intentionally-as-bare-bones-as-possible-to-make-a-point Wintersun review to essentially just say "noobs shouldn't review until they get a better grasp on the music".


Finally, I've made you feel like I do when I see your reviews! :lol:
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Hi guys, I submitted my band Mercelel couple days ago and it got rejected by Zodijackyl today. After doing multiple google researches of his name around the archives, he doesn't look like the most liked person on this site so I can't trust his opinion whatsoever.

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BastardHead
Magic Mike

Joined: Thu Aug 18, 2005 7:53 pm
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Location: Oswego, Illinois
PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2015 8:58 pm 
 

I'M SO PURPLE I COULD EAT PEOPLE
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dystopia4
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2015 7:41 pm 
 

I think the whole what's the point if everything is already on youtube attitude is quite stupid and completely misses the point. First of all, sure everything is on youtube, but fucking everything is on youtube. There's so much out there that wading through a sea of horse shit to find a gem has become a chore. A lot of the bands I love I have found out about through the reviews of a few quality reviewers here.

Letting people know that this is a good album in this style isn't really why I write (or read) reviews, anyway. While they usually are awful, the buyer's guide style of review can be done well, but I usually like in-depth criticism more. My favourite reviews are generally thoughtful analysis of albums I already know, it's nice to get a fresh perspective that might have picked up on some things I haven't thought of. Even if they have the same opinion, it's nice to see it coming from someone else.
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Grave_Wyrm
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2015 11:58 pm 
 

^ Agreed.

Mining for gold in the river of crap that is youtube is a hellish undertaking, if one goes in blind. That said, youtube is fantastic for immediate reference of an album or artist happened across, recommended, or reviewed here. Without considered reflection and at least a reasonably well-crafted review of any band, it's just another name on a list.

I'm also nonplussed by general, vague "buyer's guide" reviews (an apt phrase). I appreciate a to-the-point summary, don't get me wrong. Saves me a world of hurt. But I skim or skip any fanboy trying to sell me something. Same with reviews bewailing the terrible. If done with focus, it can be amusing, but wankery stales (and we all know what that smells like). It goes without saying that intelligently critical or reflective reviews are the best and well worth writing. These are not on youtube. A good review can be written for either a good album or a shitty one. The quality of the album does not determine the quality of the review, and I greatly appreciate the time and effort that writers put in when invested in quality and communication.
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Zodijackyl
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2015 1:14 am 
 

Would you agree that reviews are relatively worthless if the writer fails to establish credibility? Be it an amateur incapable of critiquing, or even digesting a promo he is sent, a lone review of a band with little critical voice, or a scenester praising an otherwise unacclaimed band? Are any of those really going to sway you, or does the mere existence of a review provide little credibility unless the author has established it? Is the lone 100% reviewgoing to bring your attention to this album, or are the other two noteworthy names going to lead you away from it? I don't mean to toot my own horn here, but don't think Noctir's girlfriend giving his album a 100% score is going to lure in many listeners when I deservedly gave it a 10% rating and an overall very negative review.
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Hi guys, I submitted my band Mercelel couple days ago and it got rejected by Zodijackyl today. After doing multiple google researches of his name around the archives, he doesn't look like the most liked person on this site so I can't trust his opinion whatsoever.

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BastardHead
Magic Mike

Joined: Thu Aug 18, 2005 7:53 pm
Posts: 5671
Location: Oswego, Illinois
PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2015 12:13 pm 
 

So... are you saying that the only reviews with any worth are yours?

I get what you're trying to say, basically nobody should review unless they're already good at it, which is obviously silly and counter productive.
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Empyreal
The Final Frontier

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2015 12:18 pm 
 

A better way to say it would be to say that people should try and be more informed about what they're reviewing, and that all the 15 year olds writing dumb reviews should take a leaf out of this forum's book and look at the critiques offered here. But yeah, they won't really learn that if they don't review stuff shittily beforehand - that's just how you grow. My old reviews sucked, but now I think I'm at least better than I used to be. You grow from experience.
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Zelkiiro
Pounding the world with a fish of steel

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2015 1:00 pm 
 

And then there's my reviews, which are always shitty. Sometimes you just don't improve no matter what you do. :V
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Empyreal
The Final Frontier

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2015 1:06 pm 
 

I always did think you'd be a good motivational speaker.
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Zelkiiro
Pounding the world with a fish of steel

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2015 1:10 pm 
 

It's a gift.
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Zodijackyl
Lazy Wizard

Joined: Wed Apr 30, 2008 5:39 pm
Posts: 5308
Location: United States
PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2015 6:38 pm 
 

Empyreal wrote:
A better way to say it would be to say that people should try and be more informed about what they're reviewing, and that all the 15 year olds writing dumb reviews should take a leaf out of this forum's book and look at the critiques offered here. But yeah, they won't really learn that if they don't review stuff shittily beforehand - that's just how you grow. My old reviews sucked, but now I think I'm at least better than I used to be. You grow from experience.


Yes, but it isn't even simply limited by age nor experience. The driving force behind a good review, behind the learning of a listener isn't the expression of one's own opinions nor the experience in listening to music, but the habitual examination and critique of music itself. Not simply the consumption, but the enduring will to understand both the inner workings and the final product itself. I'd liken it quite a bit to beer, where sheer volume and breadth of consumption don't necessarily make for someone who could explain what a beer you haven't drank tastes like using both the names of ingredients and offering reference points. If you're not focused on it yourself, you can't tell the difference between the person who understands it and the person who simply recommends the popular brands.

Some very good reviewers have crafted this learned proficiency through writing - I'd note Empyreal and MutantClannfear as well as myself. Worthwhile five years ago, but with greatly expanded insights and proficiency now. Some reviewers were just gifted from the start, like OlympicSharpshooter, and some had 20 years of insight before they landed here and impressed, like Gutterscream. Outside of this learning process, there are still bad reviewers who don't get better. The guy who drank Boston Lager 20 years ago and still knows it's the best. There's a reason why Orbitball's reviews were as bad five years ago as they are today. A lack of self-awareness leading to self-improvement and a lack of purpose beyond self-gratification. Some reviewers don't grow because they just don't get it. Awareness is the key to ascension.

To put it simply, your reviews will reflect how you review yourself. Better critique requires critique, better examination requires examination.
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BastardHead
Magic Mike

Joined: Thu Aug 18, 2005 7:53 pm
Posts: 5671
Location: Oswego, Illinois
PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2015 8:14 pm 
 

See, now I think you're starting to make sense, the problem is that we're now so far off the original topic that I still don't know if you think reviews are worth writing :lol:
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OzzyApu
Metal freak

Joined: Fri Oct 13, 2006 12:11 am
Posts: 9987
Location: Seattle, United States
PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2015 9:24 pm 
 

Zelkiiro wrote:
And then there's my reviews, which are always shitty. Sometimes you just don't improve no matter what you do. :V

I realized that for my own stuff on November 20th, 2013.

When it comes to this site I like to read reviews to get the opinions of users on bands / albums. I might have a ton of bands bookmarked and often times the one thing to really make me push forward and listen to one of them is a reviewer doing a good job at making a compelling reason to listen to them. With the amount of music I could listen to in seconds at any time, I want that personalized approach so as to not get pile-drived by dozens of bands and their all too accessible music.
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HeySharpshooter
Metalhead

Joined: Sun Sep 17, 2006 3:12 am
Posts: 408
Location: United States
PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2015 3:46 am 
 

I just do it for myself. I like writing them, and if other people enjoy reading them then cool. Doesnt mean I dont try to do a good job and not sound like a stupid asshole, just that my motivations are not driven by "reads" and especially ones I cant track.

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bug_man
Metal newbie

Joined: Sun May 11, 2014 12:11 am
Posts: 347
Location: New Zealand
PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2015 6:35 am 
 

MidlandsRocks wrote:
With access to music being so easy (band websites, soundcloud, bandcamp, etc.), is it worth writing reviews anymore?

Nope.

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CardsOfWar
Metal newbie

Joined: Fri Aug 29, 2014 6:33 am
Posts: 301
Location: Australia
PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2015 7:56 am 
 

MidlandsRocks wrote:
With access to music being so easy (band websites, soundcloud, bandcamp, etc.), is it worth writing reviews anymore?
Does anyone read them?


I dunno whether it's 'worth it' in any broader sense, but I just write for fun anyway, even if it's not likely anybody is going to be reading it. Most of the writing I do is either entirely narrative (Tabletop RPG modules to run .etc.) or pretty superficial, (Schoolwork) so it's nice to try my hand at writing something a bit more analytical in the form of reviews. Also, it's important to remember that publications like Pitchfork and Sputnikmusic that employ multiple writers and reach a broad audience cover metal with relative regularity.
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lord_ghengis
Metal freak

Joined: Mon Dec 04, 2006 8:31 pm
Posts: 5416
Location: Australia
PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2015 11:12 pm 
 

I haven't done it in a while now, but yeah I think it is. Increasingly less so if being a "buyers guide" is you're sole goal in reviewing music, but as others have said it kills time, and a big one for me at least, is that it can help you really identify what you actually like about music. For people who play instruments that stuff may come more naturally, but before I wrote (poorly) for a long time I basically just identified things I liked as "sounds cool" or "makes me feel things", but really digging into music, in order to dissect it for a non-pulpy review has helped me learn what elements of bands I like I'm really drawn to, and can seek them out better elsewhere.

As for when I write, it's pretty much when I've got a spare few hours and have had some kind of vague, but sprawling statement to make about an album, band, scene or genre and it's too convoluted and sprawling to dump on a message board somewhere, so I'll review some crap to try and get my own thoughts sorted out and understood in a more structured manner. But basically, yeah, for shits and giggles mostly.
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Panflute
Metalhead

Joined: Sun Mar 15, 2009 11:11 am
Posts: 459
PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2015 1:00 pm 
 

It depends on what you look for. If you (as a reader or a writer) view reviews as mere buyer's guides, they are less relevant than ever before for obvious reasons. At best they can serve as promotional blurbs that bands and labels can wave around, or to provide a short update on what you might have missed as a listener.

However, I do think proper music criticism has a place in this world, perhaps more than ever. With the music industry having evolved the way it has, music is abundant meaning that less time is being invested in each individual record. Music criticism has the potential to contribute to providing depth to the music experience once more by helping to properly channel music that may not be processed well after listening just a few half songs on YouTube.

I write both very long reviews and short blurbs (it varies per publication), and judging by the response from readers I can easily say the former have had a much more fundamental impact on the way some of them experience the bands I talk about. Short blurbs are great for more clicks and ad revenue, but content-wise they are absolutely disposable.
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zeingard
Metalhead

Joined: Wed Aug 01, 2007 7:49 pm
Posts: 548
PostPosted: Wed Mar 04, 2015 11:58 pm 
 

No it isn't worth it. It is a self-masturbatory exercise.

The thought that a fat neckbeard in a mustard stained Periphery shirt getting in a fluster over a negative Fallujah review is pretty much the only reason I write anything.

But for real, I think it's a fun little exercise to analyse and really think about why I like a particular band or album. I read other reviews either for insight or entertainment but rarely as a buyer's guide at this point since it is often quite easy to find at least some piece of a band's music on the internet to use a preview.
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