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lord_ghengis
Metal freak

Joined: Mon Dec 04, 2006 8:31 pm
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Location: Australia
PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2014 3:50 pm 
 

I don't think you need to really like a genre to be able to review it in a useful manner, you just need to be familiar with it enough to be able to form a reasonable and informed opinion on the album in regards to its goals and ideals. I recently had a discussion with someone about Ghost and mum doom in general, and while I made proper thought out arguments as to where I found that they sucked and referenced other bands which executed the concepts better, the fan basically dismissed me by arguing "nuh uh I could argue against all your points with my friend because we listen to this stuff all time and are big fans of it", basically dismissing my opinion because it was negative, even though I clearly had enough knowledge to explain my thoughts in a reasonably clear manner. If I was to go around slagging melodeath my reasoning would be a more useless "I hate this as it is melodeath and this infuriates me for some reason", but that's because I don't have the knowledge to back up my spite. Bringing it back to H_U, he clearly has a decent enough understanding of what he's writing about, and has heard enough bands in the style to be able form at least a semi coherent stance on it, even if he doesn't like it much.

Hopefully this post makes sense since I wrote it on my phone and can't scroll up.
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Last edited by lord_ghengis on Thu Feb 13, 2014 3:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Subrick
Metal freak

Joined: Sun Sep 12, 2010 7:27 pm
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2014 12:17 am 
 

I'm on the same boat as ghengis. You don't necessarily need to be a fan or enjoy the style of music the band you're reviewing plays, but you absolutely need to be as objective as possible when reviewing music you aren't into.
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GuntherTheUndying
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Joined: Mon Apr 24, 2006 4:36 pm
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2014 1:11 am 
 

Coming out of my forum hiatus to plug SLlMER's review for Sunbather, which is the most venomous review I've seen in a very, very long time. I'm not praising the sentiment, nor writing off his stance, but wow, angry pants! Got a few laughs out of it too:

Quote:
Music is not food. People approach writing music these days like they are going to cook up a fucking meal.. "I'll put on my little pink apron that says "Sunbather" on it with some nice little floral designs, and I'll take this genre, and put it in a blender with that genre, and throw in a pinch of seasoning from this other fucking stupid genre, and throw in trills and imbelishments of this and that, and this shit will be the hottest thing in underground music right now and explode like wildfire!"


That visual. :lol: :lol:
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Empyreal
The Final Frontier

Joined: Thu Nov 30, 2006 6:58 pm
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2014 1:25 am 
 

I really thought it was a terrible review. Reminds me of some of the worst stuff I used to do when I started out.
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Subrick
Metal freak

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2014 1:34 am 
 

It's absolutely a piss and vinegar, venomous rant against the band and the style of music they play. Doesn't make it a good review of the album, though.
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MeatWolf
Metal newbie

Joined: Sun Nov 19, 2006 10:32 am
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Location: Russia
PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2014 3:21 am 
 

I think the borderline here is something like this: if you like some bands in the style and don't like the others, it's all fine, you have an opinion of both what's good and what's bad about the style. If, on the other hand, you dismiss the style as a whole, your review will probably bear little sense and will be basically something like "it's bad because it's bad and can't be good". Of course you can elaborate on that, bashing all the elements of that style into oblivion, but still the review will probably be of little use and interest in general.

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Frowning_All_The_Time
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Sun Dec 02, 2012 4:03 am
Posts: 29
PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 4:20 am 
 

Excerpt of Wintersun review:

lord_ghengis wrote:
Undoubtedly my biggest issue here is the dreaded synthphonics which fill every second of this cancerous lump. Symphonies and metal already have a strained relationship with anything even remotely resembling quality music. The reasons for this are pretty obvious, first and foremost being that most bands put literally no effort into combining the two sounds with any sort of care, meaning you end up with a bunch of strings and horns over the top of completely vapid, uninteresting chug riffs or gallops. The second reason is that many bands who do this seem to have a really low tier interest in classical music despite, you know, making their music focus entirely on it, meaning you're more likely to be getting boring film soundtrack tones rather than something intricate and carefully composed. All in all, the formula tends to be pretty bad as is, boring riffs and boring movie scores played in tandem. It's not exactly thrilling stuff, despite the odd one pulling something more compelling out of their ass.

Co-existing with the bands which use real orchestras or realistic synths to attempt to recreate an authentic sound are the ones who play up their synthiness at the same time as removing the focus from the riffs, and there is no forgiveness for them. These sort of bands have all the same issues of mixing boring metal and boring quasi-classical "stirring strings", but they lack the texture or "authenticity" of it all. Instead of paying out the arse for a real symphony, or trying tweak their keyboard effects to make it sound like it features real instruments, synthphonic bands wear their fabricated nature as a badge of honour. They proudly choose the most digitized and barely approximate midi tones and slap them right up front, not aiming for the scale of a real symphony, but instead to obtain a smaller scale form of splendor. Many of these bands deliberately opt for an overall low gloss sound, using their cheapness as a form of minimalistic authenticity of its own outside of any sort of organic validity to the impersonated instruments, like Summoning for instance. The general idea does have a following due it reminding people of mid 90's RPG music, although since that style of music that ever appalled to me, so I utterly despise it with all my being, and any band who does it is bound to be a laughable joke of pseudo-epic garbage to my ears. So, where does Wintersun's fit in to all this? Simply, Time I is by far the most synthphonic album ever made.

Knowing how synth focused the style already is, finding a way to be clearly more overdone than any of their peers is a tough ask, but Time I pulls it off with ease. Wintersun's second full length album is ridiculously committed to the cause of using blatant computerised replications of real instruments to create epic soundscapes over literally every second of the album. Fast or slow, bold or pensive, it doesn't matter, this album is drowning in superfluous computer sound. The big difference they've got in comparison to other poorly synthesized symphonic acts is how they've gone about it in a shiny, slick way instead of trying to capture some kind of goofy dungeon synth or video game retro vibe. It's disgusting. As in the very concept makes me feel sick in the guts. This is loaded to the tits with layer after layer of bad sounding digitized violins, horns, choirs, Japanese instruments, random beeps and laser sounds, and whatever else the band found in the hundred and eighty three midi packs they downloaded. Every element of the music sounds like it was played by pressing a key, even when it's a supposed to sound like a number of string instruments soaring off one another; every "instrument" here plays in tones, rather than notes or plucks or chords. This isn't aiming for some kind of retro epic, this is aiming for genuine, expressive and bold grandeur and it fails horribly based on how utterly plastic, glossy and downright fake it all sounds, as well as how badly it's all written.

Just having a terrible sound is bad enough, but the composition here is embarrassingly poor too. The melodies created by the synths are simplistic and unmoving, made even worse by their pristine smoothness since they're a tone mapped to a button, not someone actually drawing a bow along a string, which keeps any character from reverberating through a single note. The band covers for the lack of individual quality by playing about eight of them at any given time and it's just way too much. The whole album is messy clusterfuck of vaguely similar melodies being played on a wide range of phoney instruments at the same time, with nothing in particular taking centre stage or developing into anything impressive. Everything stays at the same lacking standard of being a tedious melodic power or folk metal transposition, and any sort of attempted escalation or growth within the music is handled by just throwing a different tedious melodic power or folk metal transposition over the top. Individually every part sounds like shit, but as a whole the cacophony is downright annoying and it never fucking stops. I'd complain that the complete, unwavering focus on the garish and grating keyboard crap was drowning out the metal, but the metal here is somewhere between ridiculously gay 16th note abusing Euro power, rejected Ensiferum jigs, and vapid melodeath that makes the debut look halfway decent by comparison, so the fact they've buried the garbage is one of the few positive things I could say about the album..


Your review on Wintersun's I Time I was well-observed and funny, but the four paragraphs which I've quoted above make for an unnecessarily bloated essay. I've never been a fan of cheesy, fake symphonic flourishes on metal albums. I agree with everything you've written, but you've taken 1000 words and more than 50% of your review to express something which could've easily been cut to 200-300 words.

I'm not one of those birdbrains who writes "tl;dr" underneath anything which stretches more than a couple of sentences. I just think you need an editor. It seems a bit much to write a 1500 word exposition on an album which you gave a score of zero. I think it detracts from the reviewer's sense of objectivity when they take inordinate relish in slagging off an album. A little bit like seeing an NFL team running up the score in the second half of a one-sided match.


Last edited by Frowning_All_The_Time on Fri Feb 14, 2014 4:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
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MutantClannfear
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 4:38 am 
 

To give an album a score of 0% is to imply it is an artistic nadir with absolutely no musical merit, no fulfillment of potential. Most people, including myself, believe that such a strong position demands solid, fleshed-out reasoning that covers all bases in the writer's argument.

I dunno why people complain so much about reviews being long or "bloated", anyways. I'd much rather read a lengthy exposition that greatly changes how I think of the album as opposed to a quick blurb.
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Frowning_All_The_Time
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Sun Dec 02, 2012 4:03 am
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 4:58 am 
 

MutantClannfear wrote:
To give an album a score of 0% is to imply it is an artistic nadir with absolutely no musical merit, no fulfillment of potential. Most people, including myself, believe that such a strong position demands solid, fleshed-out reasoning that covers all bases in the writer's argument.

I dunno why people complain so much about reviews being long or "bloated", anyways. I'd much rather read a lengthy exposition that greatly changes how I think of the album as opposed to a quick blurb.
Well, as I stated, I think Lord Genghis repeated himself unnecessarily over those four paragraphs. The object of writing is to communicate your ideas. People are more likely to be receptive if you keep it succinct. That doesn't mean it has to be a quick blurb, but merely avoid the literary elephantiasis.

It's a busy world. Most people have a lot on their plate. They can't be bothered reading things which drag on. I know this because I'm also guilty of being too long-winded. Lord Genghis is free to accept or reject my critique of his review. I'm just offering him some constructive criticism. I'm not "complaining", as you put it.

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lord_ghengis
Metal freak

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 7:15 am 
 

I'd agree those first two paragraphs are somewhat bloated stuff where I talk about the general style and the short fallings/ideas of the concept and some related ones; this has been making my reviews of late freaking huge and not for everyone, but it has kinda been my whole reason for regaining my interest in writing. Basically I've spent the last year making reviews which at least partially function as springboards for me to discuss sub genres/scenes/bands/members/revivals/any other random indirectly related to the band/album in question point I feel like discussing, so yeah, the reviews are kinda long and are usually at least spend a few paragraphs on a tangent but it's what has kept me interested of late.

Those last two paragraphs however are straight up description of the music and explanation of my hatred. Without those two paragraphs the review is just a mass of ad hominem and piss jokes.
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Nebster173
Metal newbie

Joined: Thu May 17, 2012 8:22 am
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 9:08 am 
 

This review is terrible.
http://www.metal-archives.com/reviews/S ... 9/Wilytank

For most of it, he just goes through what happens in the song.

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Metantoine
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 9:46 am 
 

It's not terrible at all, it's even rather good... And considering the album is only one long song, describing it is the right thing to do. I think you have rather big arrogant balls to judge others without being a reviewer yourself and without bringing legit concerns and criticisms.
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BastardHead
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 11:04 am 
 

"big arrogant balls"

Never gonna stop laughing.
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Nebster173
Metal newbie

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 11:22 am 
 

Metantoine wrote:
It's not terrible at all, it's even rather good... And considering the album is only one long song, describing it is the right thing to do. I think you have rather big arrogant balls to judge others without being a reviewer yourself and without bringing legit concerns and criticisms.


Yeah, and only musicians should review music, right?

It's definitely not the right thing to do, especially when 8 paragraphs out of 10 are just that. It's boring to read and doesn't give you a good impression of the album any way. When you're reviewing a book, you don't go on about what words the author used. When you review a movie, you don't go on about what facial expressions the actors had. ...etc. All of that isn't irrelevent to the music, but it mostly is to writing a review.

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BastardHead
Magic Mike

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 11:39 am 
 

So let me get this straight... Your one and only complaint is that there is TOO MUCH musical description?

Yeah, ok mate.
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Metantoine
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 11:47 am 
 

I don't know if you noticed but most people who are contributing to this thread are actually reviewers who mostly are offering respectful and constructive comments to their peers. Of course, it's not mandatory to be one but it's certainly giving more weight to your arguments especially when you trash someone. Wilytank is an accomplished reviewer and the word "terrible" really doesn't apply to this review.
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Nebster173
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 11:52 am 
 

BastardHead wrote:
So let me get this straight... Your one and only complaint is that there is TOO MUCH musical description?

Yeah, ok mate.


Too much inconsequential description. I don't care that the song gets slow at the 14 minute mark or fast again at 17, or that the riff on 23 is the same one as on 41, or that there's exactly three acoustic bits on 37, 48 and 52. All that is useless to the reader. Things like that should only be briefly delved into, and should not make the bulk of a review.

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Empyreal
The Final Frontier

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 12:09 pm 
 

Nebster173 wrote:
When you're reviewing a book, you don't go on about what words the author used.


Why wouldn't you do that?
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Zodijackyl
Lazy Wizard

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 1:15 pm 
 

MutantClannfear wrote:
To give an album a score of 0% is to imply it is an artistic nadir with absolutely no musical merit, no fulfillment of potential. Most people, including myself, believe that such a strong position demands solid, fleshed-out reasoning that covers all bases in the writer's argument.


"Musical merit" isn't a valid criteria for how I review music. I often find this criteria used as a shotgun point to cover a general description of a band's recording being competently performed on a technical level - something about how technical an album is, how tight and perfect the performances are. That's often only a compliment to the engineering assistant who handles digital editing, because mechanically precise recordings are digitally edited to correct for errors. The other side of this is the idea that Wintersun should be given credit for the bombast of ridiculous layers of synth because there are so many things going on and they are consonant. I don't think credit is due for staying in key, no matter how many times you did it. Overproduction and overplaying seem to be what earns credit as "musical merit" but to me those are often failures of the artistic merit of the album - it's like taking an antique and cleaning the patina off of it, polishing it up to look perfect when it should look weathered and "have tons of character."

I also disagree that a lack fulfillment of potential is necessary for a failure of an album. Of course an incredible album is a fulfillment of potential, but the opposite isn't absolute in evaluation. I'll use my two least objectionable 0% reviews as a reference here. Did Soulfly fulfill their potential with Jumpdafuckup? They teamed up with a rising star as they were falling and united for the most nu-metal song ever. That's a fulfillment of potential, but to some of us it is also the artistic nadir that you spoke of. It's garbage. On the other side I gave two 0% reviews to Straight Line Stitch, who hadn't yet fulfilled their potential to be an inoffensive alternative rock band (which they did years later), but as I said, "If I told you that a band sounded like a crudely assembled mashup of Evanescence and Korn cover bands, would you bother to listen to verify that such an abomination exists?" OK, maybe you'll listen, but it's bad.

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Nebster173
Metal newbie

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 1:36 pm 
 

Empyreal wrote:
Nebster173 wrote:
When you're reviewing a book, you don't go on about what words the author used.


Why wouldn't you do that?

How would that go?

"On the 31st page, the writer used the words "yellow", "green" and "red". On the 45th page, the writer used "house" three times. This book is great."

Unless a word is used excessively, insufficiently or inappropriately, it's pointless to point out. Words are just ways to communicate an idea. How well you've communicated your idea should be critiqued, not what words you've used to do so.

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lord_ghengis
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 4:28 pm 
 

I can sorta see where Nebster is coming from, he's written the review like a track by track. ie. "The song does A, Then B, then C, then back to A, then moves onto D using technique E", instead of the more commonly used "A is used at multiple times such as time 1 and 4, and their use of.technique E is genius".

Admittedly being a one track album it makes a bit more sense to do this which is why I don't have any real issues with the album, but it still kinda reads like a commentary moreso than a preplanned review.

On the other hand, it IS his number one album ever, so it may just be a chronological summary of every single highlight he found rather than a dry reading of events.
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Last edited by lord_ghengis on Fri Feb 14, 2014 4:34 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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MutantClannfear
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 4:30 pm 
 

Goddamn lord_ghengis, I know you're typing stuff up on your potato phone but when you do it invariably devolves into a seizure.
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lord_ghengis
Metal freak

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 4:33 pm 
 

Yeah even.I'm.going back to.tediously edit.that a bit...

FUCK
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Razakel
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2014 2:33 pm 
 

Great Dread Sovereign review by mad_submarine. I've listened to that mini-album soooo much since it came out. 13 Clergy to the Flames is an instant metal classic.

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Metantoine
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2014 2:45 pm 
 

Agreed, I always like her reviews and Dread Sovereign is really fucking good! It's only the first one for the EP, quite surprising.
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Wilytank
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2014 6:06 pm 
 

A little late to the discussion of my own review, but I have since then moved away from referencing exact sections in songs by time (e.g. this part at the 6:54 mark...), though I really haven't reviewed albums with less than six songs in a while. My Winterkalte review could be considered track by track, but with the greater amount of minimalism in that album I can afford to be a little less specific.

On that note:

Metantoine wrote:
Wilytank is an accomplished reviewer


This is probably the first time I've seen this sort of comment on this site, especially since I don't even consider myself accomplished. Thanks.
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Nebster173
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2014 5:00 pm 
 

Another horrible review.
http://www.metal-archives.com/reviews/F ... 1/mjollnir

Only 4 sentences are about the music.

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Metantoine
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2014 5:05 pm 
 

I'll throw a deer at the next dude who'll review Agalloch's The Mantle. Just...stop! Everything has been said about this ATMOSPHERIC, BEATIFUL and EVOCATIVE album.
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Napero
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2014 5:27 pm 
 

Metantoine wrote:
I'll throw a deer at the next dude who'll review Agalloch's The Mantle. Just...stop! Everything has been said about this ATMOSPHERIC, BEATIFUL and EVOCATIVE album.

Challenge accepted.
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Diamhea
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2014 5:45 pm 
 

Metantoine wrote:
I'll throw a deer at the next dude who'll review Agalloch's The Mantle. Just...stop! Everything has been said about this ATMOSPHERIC, BEATIFUL and EVOCATIVE album.


Ironic, I was just thinking to myself "What, again?" when the latest review of it was posted.
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Zodijackyl
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2014 9:46 pm 
 

This review is lousy. It sounds like he just drew some comparisons and wrote about a stereotype, because the mention of "speed, speed, and more speed" is absolutely deficient. The band's speed is a highlight because they work in a lot of mid-paced sections that contrast it well, and the few softer interludes/pieces fit in really well to make the ~28 minutes of original material feel well varied and dynamic.

http://www.metal-archives.com/reviews/O ... uy_As_Fuck

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iamntbatman
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 22, 2014 12:37 am 
 

Ugh, that fucking Innsmouth review. COULDN'T BE MORE WRONG.
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mjollnir
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 22, 2014 1:06 am 
 

Nebster173 wrote:
Another horrible review.
http://www.metal-archives.com/reviews/F ... 1/mjollnir

Only 4 sentences are about the music.


Wrong thread. ;)
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Metantoine
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 22, 2014 1:10 am 
 

Yeah, sorry man, but this review was pretty dated. RIP.

Nebster, use this thread... viewtopic.php?f=4&t=4153
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mjollnir
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 22, 2014 1:13 am 
 

Metantoine wrote:
Yeah, sorry man, but this review was pretty dated. RIP.


I got better...I think! lol
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lord_ghengis
Metal freak

Joined: Mon Dec 04, 2006 8:31 pm
Posts: 5404
Location: Australia
PostPosted: Sat Feb 22, 2014 1:24 am 
 

iamntbatman wrote:
Ugh, that fucking Innsmouth review. COULDN'T BE MORE WRONG.


I'm not over the moon about the album, but damn, for all the complaints that could be leveled against them, just being another carbon copy retro death metal band is not one.
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iamntbatman
Chaos Breed

Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 5:55 am
Posts: 7931
Location: Innsmouth
PostPosted: Sat Feb 22, 2014 2:06 am 
 

I know, right? I mean I love the shit out of the band and really like that album, but at the same time it's not really difficult for me to imagine the perspective of someone who's not really impressed by it much at all, and that position is nothing at all like that review.
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Zodijackyl
Lazy Wizard

Joined: Wed Apr 30, 2008 5:39 pm
Posts: 5010
Location: United States
PostPosted: Sun Feb 23, 2014 2:45 pm 
 

Gutterscream's reviews of Devastation's discography explain the three albums excellently. Worth a read.

http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Dev ... 02#Reviews

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caspian
Wanderer of the Wastes

Joined: Tue Dec 07, 2004 11:29 pm
Posts: 6119
Location: Australia
PostPosted: Sun Feb 23, 2014 7:06 pm 
 

It's not oven fodder but man that new Cirith Ungol review is a stinker. Brief Intro / super crappy song by song but with slightly better formatting than your usual crappy song by song / two sentences and we're out. No personality in the writing at all either. Boo!
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Metantoine
The XVI, dominar to over 258714 subjects

Joined: Sat Jun 21, 2008 5:00 pm
Posts: 8953
Location: Québec
PostPosted: Mon Feb 24, 2014 4:07 pm 
 

Empy is way too positive about the new Slough Feg, his 99% score is way too hasty and is more a statement than anything else! Booooo, it's their worst album!
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