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screamingstatue
Metalhead

Joined: Thu Oct 23, 2008 11:06 am
Posts: 577
PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2011 6:03 pm 
 

I know track-by-track reviews are frowned upon.

I can only assume that was the reason for your review's rejection, as it's a perfectly good piece of writing otherwise.
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MacMoney
Man of the Cloth

Joined: Sun Nov 03, 2002 10:17 pm
Posts: 2007
PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2011 2:51 am 
 

There are some minor formatting and other errors in the review. First off, you should only have one line between each paragraph, not two. Second, write out numbers from zero to nine, maybe even ten, eleven and twelve. Also, fourth, not 4th. Combine the short paragraphs to longer ones. Like the first and second as well as the third, second and last paragraphs. The fourth last paragraph has some pretty weird formatting. Dimmu Borgir isn't capitalized. I found at least one there that should probably be something else (the I think though not sure what you were going for) so another proofread would be a good idea. On the third paragraph your description of the production is very stop-start and makes for rather iffy reading and your use of the word nice... Maybe something more descriptive of how come you think it's nice. I'm sure nice isn't the adjective black metal bands wanna hear when they ask for opinions on their songs.

That's some that I could find.

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Annihislater
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Tue Aug 18, 2009 6:06 am
Posts: 15
Location: United Kingdom
PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2011 5:42 am 
 

Cheers pal

I got slightly confused with the spacing as the guide lines said "Make sure you use two enter strokes between the paragraphs" which I took to mean 2 line spaces. But thanks for pointing that out.

I've taken the other points on board too.

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zervyx
Metal newbie

Joined: Sun Sep 26, 2004 9:21 pm
Posts: 172
PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2011 5:56 pm 
 

Greetings, I'm looking fot some feedback for my review. It's about To/Die/For's "Epilogue", an album that has no reviews at all. I got some criticism about bad grammar and oddball sentence structuring, so I rewrote the whole review and post it here first, do you think it's good enough now? Is the grammar that bad? What should I change? Thanks
----------------

It's always easy to think that "gothmetal" is a fussion between goth-rock and metal, but not this time, for To/Die/For is a unique band that sounds like "80's rock-pop with distorted guitars". However, the band will always be labeled as commercial gothic metal because of the similarities with bands like Sentenced, Charon, Entwine, and even HIM. So prepare yourself for catchy depressive songs, low ranged singing and plenty of palm-muted guitar riffs.

First thing you'll notice in the sound would be the awesome electro-synth work, this is a dominant element of the entire album. Since the beginning, “Crimson Twins” as an opening track starts with ambient synth, setting a calm mood when suddenly the drums enter panned in a great way, showing the quality of the recording, sounds blasting. The rest of the song is all about electro-synth and palm-muted guitar riffs, and so does most of the album.

“Frail without you”, in my opinion the best song of Epilogue, it starts with a mix of electro-synth, distorted guitars and classical orientated piano; good headbanging riff. The chorus here is an important part for the catchiness of the song, with the detail that there’s some vocal shift in the range, they switched between medium range and low; sounds quite catchy. There’s also a good “maidenish” twin guitar riff in the middle of the song.

“In Solitude”, now this is a song only for the sensitive and the depressed, it gives an ambience of being under the rain with a feeling of ending your life. “Veiled” and “In Solitude” are the most depressive songs I’ve ever heard from this band, all about melody and feeling.

BEST TRACKS: “Frail without you”, “The Unknown”, “Immortal Love”, “Crimson Twins”, “Chains”, "In Solitude".

WORST TRACKS - I must warn that the album is not bad at all, this is an amazing commercial album, but it has some songs that are just not as good as the others, such as the acoustic "Veiled", and "Hollow Heart, which also came out in single and video.

I would add that the best albums of this band seem to be the first ones (All Eternity, Epilogue, Jaded), but What made those albums better than the rest? Let’s go to the lineup, I notice 2 important musicians that left the band after “Jaded”: Guitarist Joonas "Jope" Koto and Drummer Tonmi Lillman, it may not look like a huge difference, but judging by the credits of “Epilogue”, Tonmi Lillman didn’t only play drums, he was also producer, and did bass, keyboards, violin arrangements, programming and backing vocals. And talking specifically about this album, I would point out that Marco Hietala (currently bassist and male singer of Nightwish) did some backing vocals. I definitely recommend this album to fans of the genre.

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TheDefiniteArticle
Metalhead

Joined: Tue Oct 26, 2010 9:50 am
Posts: 401
Location: United Kingdom
PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2011 4:27 am 
 

Greetings, I'm looking fot some feedback for my review. It's about To/Die/For's "Epilogue", an album that has no reviews at all. I got some criticism about bad grammar and oddball sentence structuring, so I rewrote the whole review and post it here first, do you think it's good enough now? Is the grammar that bad? What should I change? Thanks
----------------
Just some nit-picky things to start off with. I've never liked genre names joined like 'gothmetal', and I'm fairly sure that the staple is to write it 'goth metal' or 'gothic metal'.
'Fussion' should be 'fusion'.
There should be a semi-colon (;) between 'metal' and 'but' on the first line, and again between 'work' and 'this' at the start of the second paragraph.
It should be 'showing the quality of the recording, which sounds blasting'.
Song titles should be capitalised, i.e. 'Frail Without You'.
The semi-colons in the third paragraph should be replaced with dashes (-), and immediately following them should be 'a good headbanging riff' and 'which sounds quite catchy' respectively.
There should be a comma after 'now' in the fourth paragraph.
In your list of 'best tracks', 'Chains' and 'In Solitude' should be linked with an 'and'.
'I must warn' doesn't really sound right before a positive statement - try 'I must say' or something similar.
The speech marks of 'Hollow Heart' need closing, and in general, they ought to be changed to inverted commas, although this seems to be a dying standard - that speech marks are only used for speech.
It should be either 'as a single and video' or 'in single and video *insert appropriate noun here*'.
When writing in prose, it's better to write out shorter, more common numbers like 'two', although longer numbers are better written in numerical form.

More major things include that there is little musical description that isn't of individual tracks - I'm sure more overall description would be welcomed.
The paragraphs seem a little short, although your paragraphing is impeccable, which probably indicates a need for more fleshing out of the paragraphs.
Although you're not reviewing every track, you are still pretty much in the frowned-upon 'track by track' format.
The description of the track 'In Solitude' doesn't really describe anything, and instead uses vague airy adjectives.
Much of the last paragraph is slightly irrelevant - in a longer review, it would seem okay to me, but at the current length, you've spent about as much time describing the history of the band as the album as a whole.
'Best tracks' and 'Worst tracks' jump out, when in fact, lists of tracks are the least interesting part of the review.

Overall, it's a good review, and it might get accepted, especially with no other reviews for the album, but there are a few things which need tweaking.

__________________________________________________

It's always easy to think that "gothmetal" is a fussion between goth-rock and metal, but not this time, for To/Die/For is a unique band that sounds like "80's rock-pop with distorted guitars". However, the band will always be labeled as commercial gothic metal because of the similarities with bands like Sentenced, Charon, Entwine, and even HIM. So prepare yourself for catchy depressive songs, low ranged singing and plenty of palm-muted guitar riffs.

First thing you'll notice in the sound would be the awesome electro-synth work, this is a dominant element of the entire album. Since the beginning, “Crimson Twins” as an opening track starts with ambient synth, setting a calm mood when suddenly the drums enter panned in a great way, showing the quality of the recording, sounds blasting. The rest of the song is all about electro-synth and palm-muted guitar riffs, and so does most of the album.

“Frail without you”, in my opinion the best song of Epilogue, it starts with a mix of electro-synth, distorted guitars and classical orientated piano; good headbanging riff. The chorus here is an important part for the catchiness of the song, with the detail that there’s some vocal shift in the range, they switched between medium range and low; sounds quite catchy. There’s also a good “maidenish” twin guitar riff in the middle of the song.

“In Solitude”, now this is a song only for the sensitive and the depressed, it gives an ambience of being under the rain with a feeling of ending your life. “Veiled” and “In Solitude” are the most depressive songs I’ve ever heard from this band, all about melody and feeling.

BEST TRACKS: “Frail without you”, “The Unknown”, “Immortal Love”, “Crimson Twins”, “Chains”, "In Solitude".

WORST TRACKS - I must warn that the album is not bad at all, this is an amazing commercial album, but it has some songs that are just not as good as the others, such as the acoustic "Veiled", and "Hollow Heart, which also came out in single and video.

I would add that the best albums of this band seem to be the first ones (All Eternity, Epilogue, Jaded), but What made those albums better than the rest? Let’s go to the lineup, I notice 2 important musicians that left the band after “Jaded”: Guitarist Joonas "Jope" Koto and Drummer Tonmi Lillman, it may not look like a huge difference, but judging by the credits of “Epilogue”, Tonmi Lillman didn’t only play drums, he was also producer, and did bass, keyboards, violin arrangements, programming and backing vocals. And talking specifically about this album, I would point out that Marco Hietala (currently bassist and male singer of Nightwish) did some backing vocals. I definitely recommend this album to fans of the genre.

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zervyx
Metal newbie

Joined: Sun Sep 26, 2004 9:21 pm
Posts: 172
PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2011 1:41 pm 
 

That's what I was talking about. Thank you TheDefiniteArticle, I really appreciate your observations.

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Wilytank
Not a Flying Toy

Joined: Thu Jul 30, 2009 7:21 am
Posts: 3486
Location: United States
PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2011 1:02 pm 
 

Enjoyed Norkton's review of Autumn Aurora trying to get the average score down to where it should be. Though I don't hate the album, it's clearly not their best album.
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naverhtrad
Metal newbie

Joined: Fri Jan 14, 2011 7:44 pm
Posts: 49
Location: China
PostPosted: Sat May 28, 2011 10:38 am 
 

Hi all, I'm looking for some feedback on this review - in particular, I'd like to know if a.) I should cut down on the Chinese text, by providing translations for e.g. song titles, and if b.) the review meanders too much; though any other feedback, criticism, issues and violent denunciations are welcome. I've saved it as a draft; haven't submitted it yet. Thanks!

------------

Where to begin with the debut album of 末裔 [The Last Successor]? For one thing, it’s outrageously difficult to get a hold of outside of China, and even inside China it can be a chore (I ended up going to the huge bookstore in Xidan to get a copy, and it was ridiculously pricey by Chinese standards!). On the music: in a nutshell, it’s the strange but oddly charismatic scion of the oriental / folk metal style of Tang Dynasty (complete with traditional instruments like the 二胡 two-stringed Chinese fiddle, 琵琶 lute, 古筝 zither and 笛子 flute), mixed with both power-metal guitar work and catchy, groovy driving bass leads (particularly on tracks like 《归途》, 《释放》 and 《谎言背后》) which actually are more reminiscent of classic hard rock <i>à la</i> Guns N’ Roses than anything else, with some death metal vocals and a few blast-beats (as in 《世界》) thrown in for good measure. And yet, it somehow hasn’t managed to shake the overall stylistic trappings of a contemporary C-pop act, particularly given Song Yang B’s clean vocals. There are a number of elements here which should have raised some warning flags for the die-hard metalhead, or at least gotten him to scratching his head in puzzlement. This is indeed a band which draws upon a number of different influences, but which manages to make them all hang together somehow.

This band’s history reminds me, somewhat surprisingly, of Falconer’s. Like Falconer, the formative core of the band started out playing extreme metal (brutal death metal in the case of 陈尸 [Stale Corpse], rather than Mithotyn’s Viking black) before they broke away in favour of a more melodic style with heavy folk influences. In both cases, the extreme metal influences live on in the music of the new incarnation, though in Falconer’s music they are more deeply submerged than in The Last Successor’s (partly because Stefan Weinerhall strikes me as single-mindedly intent on doing his own thing). But the similarities stop there. After all, not only are the folk influences completely divergent, but so is each band’s take on what melodic metal should sound like.

To give an example; the intro, 《序》 begins with a dark, ominous drum beat that yields to a simple, sparse melody on the <i>pipa</i> and <i>guzheng</i>, which widens into a vast and gorgeous symphonic arrangement that sounds like the opening track on the soundtrack to a Chinese historical epic – and then, once we have been thus lulled into serenity, we’re treated as 《归途》 begins to the rattle of modern machine guns and a speedy guitar riff that sounds like the introduction to one of Sabaton’s more awesome numbers; add some martial snare drumming, and once the bass joins in we’ve already been pumped to the point of massive headbangage. On subsequent tracks (《深渊》, 《释放》) they do a far better job of meshing the folk instrumentation within a metal setting.

It is amply demonstrated on this album this band can fucking rock when they feel like it, but one of my complaints about this band’s direction overall is that the keyboard work and the singing in particular sound just a tad too poppy, possibly to make their music more accessible to a Chinese audience attuned to a certain style of male singing / musical progression. (I have this complaint with other Chinese bands from time to time, including the Gothenburg metal group 颠覆M.) This is most evident on the obligatory power-ballad 《又见茉莉花》, but also creeps in on tracks like 《时间》 and 《亿千年之恋》. Song B, a little bit of dramatic vibrato is fine when you’re doing clean vocals – this is power metal, after all, and if you’re not at least a little theatrical when singing power metal then something is seriously wrong with you – but you don’t have to sound like Jay fucking Chou on these songs! The keyboard also sometimes sounds better suited to a Jay Chou album, but this is more than made up for on tracks like 《释放》.

《释放》 is probably one of the high points of the album; a high-energy cruiser with some very decent keyboard and flute work complementing the driving bass line. This is quickly followed up by the equally awesome 《谎言背后》, which features the same masterful, composition but also features some Chinglish lyrics which are all the more difficult to take seriously for being delivered in harsh vox. 《世界》 is also a favourite, featuring epic instrumentation delivered alongside some heavy bass work that carries more than a few hints of The Last Successor’s death metal roots.

All in all, The Last Successor is a mixed bag, but that’s by no means a bad thing, and this album is a very strong start for them. But I’d like to see them develop a vocal style that’s more solidly consistent with the instrumentation they’re using.

88 / 100

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yentass
Metalhead

Joined: Sun Nov 23, 2003 9:28 am
Posts: 911
Location: Israel
PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2011 5:43 am 
 

At first glance, the Chinese might need some toning down - in the part with the instruments I can't seem to get what was your meaning; for example, in "琵琶 lute" - is "lute" the translation of "琵琶" (in that case consider making it a little clearer, like "琵琶 (lute)" or something), or is "琵琶" a variant/specific kind of a lute (in that case consider going with the Pinyin transcriptions, for convenience reasons)?

As far as track titles go - if the original track titles are in Chinese, I say keep them, but at least provide track numbers with them (with all my authentic will to learn Chinese, decyphering hieroglyphs can be quite a chore). Adding translations to the track titles is a good idea IMO, so you should persist with that.

I'll edit the post later today, once I'll get to read it more thoroughly.
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naverhtrad
Metal newbie

Joined: Fri Jan 14, 2011 7:44 pm
Posts: 49
Location: China
PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2011 10:19 pm 
 

Thanks, yentass! I've applied the changes you've suggested (adding translations for the song titles, parentheses &c.); any additional comments you have would be most welcome.

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yentass
Metalhead

Joined: Sun Nov 23, 2003 9:28 am
Posts: 911
Location: Israel
PostPosted: Sun Jun 05, 2011 11:23 am 
 

Just read through it, and it think it's great. It's very thorough while not at all meandering.
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naverhtrad
Metal newbie

Joined: Fri Jan 14, 2011 7:44 pm
Posts: 49
Location: China
PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2011 5:17 am 
 

Awesome - just submitted it to the queue. Thanks much, dude!

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dystopia4
Veteran

Joined: Mon Nov 16, 2009 6:47 pm
Posts: 3549
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2011 10:53 pm 
 

This is my review for Underoath's Desperate Times/Desperate Measures song. I can write a competent review now, the reason I am posting is because I tried a new technique (for me) in it and I'm not sure if it works. I'm also worried that it might come off as if I'm making shit up just to flame the band, which I'm not. That scenario did happen, unfortunately. So tell me if its alright or if I should omit that paragraph:

Even for the emo/metalcore style or whatever this type of music is called, this is very low quality and uninspired. The only purpose of music like this is to sell Warped Tour CDs to fourteen year olds, which is a shame, seeing as some of the old Warped Tour CDs aren't all that horrible, although they always had at least some shitty bands. Granted I'm not a fan of this style, but I'm not going to be so close minded to say that every single song in said style is utter shit. This song is not the worst song I've heard in this genre; its to bland and inoffensive to be. Its so watered down that it might as well not be there at all.

Just to give an idea in the type of scenarios music like this is played, let me draw from my own unfortunate personal experiences. I was dragged by my brother and his friend into an emo/scene kid store called Detox. Rainbow studded belts, eye makeup and generic screamo band shirts lined the walls. Music exactly like this (but not as watered down) was played. There was an abundance of breakdowns, shitty metalcore melodies, uninspired screams and over the top whiny clean vocals. An overweight teenager with tight cut off jean-shorts walks by, commenting on how good breakdowns sound. He is followed by a skinny kid with long died hair, a few too many chains and oversized aviators, acting as if he is gods gift to the world. I tell my brother I need to get some air (read: I will get a panic attack if I am exposed to any more of this music.)

A brief buzzing sound breaks into a riff. Well, I guess that can't really be considered an accurate description of the start of the song. Calling it a riff would be disrespectful for bands that take time crafting quality riffs. I'm really trying here, but I'm not sure the words exist to describe how painfully boring the guitar in this song is. Hopefully you will never have to find out what its actually like. Theres also some standard catchy melodies; except their not really catchy. Sure, they have that effect, but they sound recycled. They sound like every other band that plays in this style. The screaming is hard to comment on. Its just there. It doesn't add anything, it merely exists. A weak growl, if I have to be specific. The clean vocals are whiny and perhaps the most watered down part of the song. They are very high pitched and repetitive, and extremely whiny.

Look, I don't really care that they're Christians or how they dress or act or even that they play a "poser" genre. If they were good, I wouldn't say anything bad about them; quality music is quality music no matter what style it comes in and no matter who is playing it. This is bad music, but it is not actively bad music, if that makes sense. The reason it is so bad is because it has no effect on me. Sure it is mildly annoying, but while I was listening to it for this review I kept forgetting it was there and I had to go back and concentrate to remember what happened. Don't bother with this one, your time could be better spent.

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Oberst_Orlok_SS
Metalhead

Joined: Sat Nov 29, 2008 11:09 am
Posts: 400
Location: Germany
PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2011 1:32 am 
 

Please help me with a little grammar confusion. Is the term it's a possessive or a contraction? I never know when to put it right.
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Dexter
Metalhead

Joined: Fri Nov 03, 2006 11:01 am
Posts: 633
Location: Argentina
PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2011 9:16 am 
 

It is a contraction. When used as a possessive adjective you spell it "its".

- It's a dog = It is a dog
- The dog is playing with its ball*

* even though many people tend to use his/her for pets, the correct way is to refer to them as "it"

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Oberst_Orlok_SS
Metalhead

Joined: Sat Nov 29, 2008 11:09 am
Posts: 400
Location: Germany
PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2011 8:42 pm 
 

Thanks.
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Mindprison
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Fri Aug 12, 2011 4:13 pm
Posts: 5
Location: Croatia
PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2011 6:18 am 
 

Hey all! I need help finding out what are the mistakes in my review that keep it form not being rejected again. So here it is, thx.

Prepare to be demonized - 85%

For the full enjoyment of this album please turn up the volume to the maximum, at least that's what I always do. This release compared to other Running wild stuff is more on the heavy raw sound side than on the melodic power metal,which I like. Sure it doesn't have the musical quality of some other albums like for example Death or glory, but it sure blows your ear drums away.

I have nothing special to say about the title intro track "The Contract/The Crypts Of Hades". It seems they were trying to make a great intro like "The Curse" on the Black Hand Inn album, but it's nowhere near it.
When the second track starts the things get serious and the song runs over you like a battalion of heavy armored soldiers. I almost broke my neck form the headbanging. The best part is when the riff before the solo kicks in, oh man, it's brutal. I can say the same about the solo. All in all, a masterpiece.
Moving to the third track, the beginning makes you think that this one is not so great but it will very soon prove you wrong. This is the track that shows the raw heavy metal nature of the album. The riffs are furious and heavy as hell and the solo is just pure rage. Even the ending just doesn't let the feeling go and it just makes you wish it never ends.
"Black Soul" is another good song, but in my opinion not as good as title track and "Demonized". I don't have much to say about this one, it's good but didn't keep me interested for long.
"Lions Of The Sea" is another great song. This one is more catchy than other ones, but still doesn't lack the heavy sound. As some would describe some of the Running wild stuff epic this one sure has that feel.
I see some favor "Rebel At Heart" for some reason, but it's quite mediocre for me. I just skip this one.
I can say the same for "Wheel Of Doom" and "Metalhead", they are ok, but get boring quickly.
"Soleil Royal" is one of the most melodic ones on the album. It has a nice power metal feel. My only complaint is that it feels a little repetitive to me, I don't know, it could just be me.
We are back to more heavy metal with the next one. "Men In Black" again hits the spot for me, just like "Masquerade" and "Demonized". Nothing more to say.
The last track is a great ending to the release. Again we hear the heavy riffs, awesome drum work and great solos.

Now in conclusion I can say this has become my favorite Running Wild album. Like I said, maybe it doesn't have the innovation and epic melodies of some other releases, but it sure fulfills it's purpose as a heavy metal album. It just rips your private parts off, grills them and eats them. So if you're looking for some pure headbanging metal you found the right place.

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Ilwhyan
Metel fraek

Joined: Sat Sep 29, 2007 1:41 pm
Posts: 6526
Location: Finland
PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2011 7:22 am 
 

Formatting. Divide it into paragraphs properly. It's too much of a mess to look at.

Do that and I'll read it through.
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OzzyApu
Metal freak

Joined: Fri Oct 13, 2006 12:11 am
Posts: 9855
Location: Seattle, United States
PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2011 9:37 am 
 

@mindprison. Running Wild are my favorite band and I would love to see more reviews for them, but yours is terrible. You essentially wrote an Amazon-style track-by-track review, which, no matter how you formatted it, would still be very bad. Go more in depth into the sound of the instruments and vocals. You give very basic and generic descriptions like "heavy riffs", which tell me nothing. "Heavy riffs" can be present in power metal, death metal, thrash, and any genre for that mater. Explain what you mean by raw and heavy compared to the other albums of that era for the band.

In short, you got a lot of work ahead.
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Mindprison
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Fri Aug 12, 2011 4:13 pm
Posts: 5
Location: Croatia
PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2011 11:21 am 
 

@OzzyApu I appreciate your response and thank you for your honesty. On the other hand I got to say it's hard to beat your review of the album which covers almost every aspect of it. There was really no need for me to write another but I still wanted to say something extra on my behalf. I have a lot of experience in writing, but I didn't expect I would be hammered so hard for something I wrote:) You could also notice that English is not my native language and it's kinda hard to write something fresh and different. I see you are using a lot of great phrases that make the review feel natural and not stiff like mine.

I've never read an Amazon review, but I see your point. About the depth of the sound, I think it's just straight-forward classic heavy metal so I really haven't felt like digging too much into it. As for the "heavy riffs" I could have said more but as for the term used in a specific genre I think I've noted it's a heavy metal album.

All in all, I see your point.

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Panflute
Metalhead

Joined: Sun Mar 15, 2009 11:11 am
Posts: 451
PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2011 11:14 pm 
 

By the looks of it, your English is good enough to write a decent review, so you shouldn't let that get in the way. I agree with the others, though, that track-by-track reviews are generally very uninteresting reads, as they attempt to describe something that cannot really be described, and they avoid providing more in-depth or background information on the band or album. How does this album compare to the rest of the discography? What are the recurring themes? What does the release add to the genre it belongs to? Such questions will often remain unanswered in a track-by-track review. Even something as basic as a general impression of the release is often left out.

For instance, you say that this album is your favourite Running Wild album, but from the review (or rather the track descriptions) I don't really get to know why. What are Running Wild's other albums like? Did this album grow on you before it became your favourite? I don't even know how much you like Running Wild. This album being a favourite can mean various things depending on how you rate the other ones. To put it simply: there is no coherence in the review due to the absence of a true text body. It's just an introduction, some descriptions and a conclusion.

Ideally, you start out with an introduction that provides general information on the subject of your review (i.e. the band, the album, or both). Alternatively, you could start out with an anecdote, for example if you acquired the album in a special way (like you stole it from a gypsy back in '86, or whatever). The body should contain several paragraphs on various thing you did and did not like about the album, and also some general information. For example, you have one paragraph that explains the themes of the album, another one explaining why the riffs are so good, and another one with what could have been better about the production (just naming examples here). In other words, you select several subjects you want to cover in your review (the lyrical themes, the guitar riffs, and the production in this case) and you try to write a paragraph on each. Also don't forget to make connections between paragraphs. Like, if you just talked about the great guitar riffs, you can start your next paragraph saying "One aspect I didn't like, though, was the production", and you start explaining why you didn't like the production. Et cetera.

Just give it a couple of tries. Read a few reviews, see how they are structured, and just try to follow the structure of a review you liked. Your writing doesn't necessarily have to be as good, but as long as you manage to stick to a structure both you and your readers can feel comfortable with, that's already a big step towards a good, readable review.

Wow, that was longer than I intended it to be.
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Mindprison
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Fri Aug 12, 2011 4:13 pm
Posts: 5
Location: Croatia
PostPosted: Sun Aug 14, 2011 1:08 pm 
 

@Panflute Thx for the good advice. You've told so much and now I see more how this review writing works. I hope that I'll be able to use what you wrote in my next try.
Thx again:)

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soul_schizm
Metalhead

Joined: Wed Jun 01, 2011 8:55 am
Posts: 658
Location: United States
PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2011 12:04 am 
 

Mindprison -- it's a track-by-track, with just a sentence or two after each track listing.

That's boring.

Try picking out 2 or 3 tracks you like. Go ahead and list them. That's perfectly fine. But then, in the description for each track, really go into what makes those tracks distinctive and interesting above all else. Dedicate a few sentences to each -- an entire paragraph, even. Delve into the guitar sound, the vocal stylings, the fantastic tempo, etc. In short, give a good, verbose description for everyone why you think this is a stand-out song.

Instead of simple listings, I've been doing this. The mods seem to like it better. And frankly, I can't review an album without pointing out individual songs, so the compromise I've reached is to provide good detail on the few songs that I point out. Then leave out those songs that aren't particularly distinctive or album-defining.

It seems to work for me. Hope that helps. Cheers.

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Oblarg
Metalhead

Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2009 2:59 pm
Posts: 2374
Location: The second sea
PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2011 12:06 am 
 

So, I'd like some feedback on my newest Redemption review before I finally submit it - it's fairly good in its current state (or so I think - feel free to tell me it's utter shit and I should rewrite it if that's your honest opinion) but I'd like to polish it up before finalizing it. It's the first really negative review I've written, so I was experimenting a bit with the style.


Title: Disney Metal
Rating: 30%

Just what, exactly, is this load of dung supposed to be? Is this actually intended to appeal to people who enjoy heavy metal? Yeah, heavy metal, you know, energetic and visceral music? The type of stuff that several members of this band have previously played in their career, even played well! Yes indeed, from a glance at the lineup you might expect this to be a band of some merit, sporting both Agent Steel's guitar god Bernie Versailles and long-time Fates Warning vocalist Ray Alder (more on him later), both from bands which have not only played good metal, but played great, even genre-defining metal. Unfortunately, as you've no doubt already gathered, this all-star lineup of sorts only serves to make this musical flop even more disappointing for the unsuspecting potential listener when he inevitably finds The Fullness of Time to be devoid of almost all of the trappings of the quality heavy metal that he expects, replaced instead by a plodding, uninspired, and saccharine mess of an album.

Of course, a closer inspection does reveal some clues as to how Redemption could so quickly fall off a cliff, musically, what with The Fullness of Time directly following a legitimately promising, even good, debut. The biggest warning sign would probably be the removal of Rick Mythiasin in favor of the aforementioned Ray Alder, a move which makes about as much sense (that is to say, absolutely none at all) as Fates Warning's original booting of John Arch for the same man nearly 20 years earlier; for while Mythiasin possesses (ironically) a cool Arch-like timbre and a knack for catchy and emotional yet hard-hitting and attention-grabbing vocal lines which lent themselves greatly to the cool classic USPM vibes entwined with the prog elements on the bands' debut, Ray Alder sounds much more like a failed pop-rock singer than anything else here. The decrease in the quality of the vocal performance is so jarring that you have to wonder if Nick Van Dyk was trying to "sell-out" here, which upon reflection is quite a stupid thing to do as Fates Warning themselves never achieved the mainstream commercial success they sought even in the peak of their popularity, so even bringing in a "big" name like Ray Alder couldn't possibly elevate Redemption to anything more than "popular" in an underground sense, leaving the sole possible motivation for this monumentally idiotic move as piss-poor judgment on the part of Nick Van Dyk, who I guess was correct insofar as Alder's disgustingly sappy vocal performance here is a perfect fit for the new, trite direction the band had taken, musically.

..And that shift in direction sure is horrid. Even before Alder's lamentable vocal performance kicks in, it's immediately noticeable. Gone are the raw, USPM-influenced riffs of the debut, replaced instead by blatant, boring modern prog/power riffs that sound more like a second-rate Symphony X than, say, early Steel Prophet or Fates Warning. The keyboards are loud, overwhelming, and completely fucking pointless, with absolutely no subtlety or anything that meaningfully contributes to the music - they're just there, playing notes seemingly for the sake of playing notes. I don't know if Van Dyk wanted to go "more prog," but the result, intended or not, is simply more aggravating, and as with much of this album even more so when compared with the vastly superior performance on their debut. Then, of course, you have the horribly sappy and forced vocals of Ray Alder on top of it all, which literally drip with mock-sincerity on the ballads and slower tracks, or with laughable, almost nu-metal esque forced angst on the album's more aggressive cuts. The songwriting is universally bland and sterile, with the band's token epic 16-minute ballad showcasing a nearly impressive lack of memorable moments despite trying desperately to make every segment a new climax, or with the cheese-ridden eponymous four-part conceptual series, which is well-titled in that it pretty much runs the gamut of everything that makes this album bad within its 21-minute duration.

The final track, too, is aptly titled as it does indeed transcend the previous material's mere garden-variety lameness and descend straight into the pits of the worst metal ever recorded. There's not much I can do to impress upon you just how horrendous this song is. Try to imagine a Disney inspirational song, with riffs. That's what this is. Disney metal. It would be comical if it weren't so amazingly fucking sad. At least Nick Van Dyk had the good sense to put a completely aimless and overlong piano solo before it (David DeFeis, this man is not) so that a fair number of listeners might turn off the album in boredom before being subjected to this horror.

Perhaps the most frustrating thing is that, despite all its shortcomings, there are flashes of merit from time to time. I don't think Bernie Versailles, for instance, is capable of writing a bad solo, and occasionally Nick Van Dyk will throw in a promising riff just to remind you that this band does indeed have some talent, but you can be sure they're trying their absolute hardest not to show it. What a shame.
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Empyreal
The Final Frontier

Joined: Thu Nov 30, 2006 6:58 pm
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Location: Where the dead rule the night
PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2011 12:40 am 
 

Pretty good review overall, very acceptable, although the second paragraph detailing the "sell out" question is very wordy and could easily be cut down to a sentence or two. Otherwise it looks just fine; no reason it wouldn't be accepted, I don't think.
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soul_schizm
Metalhead

Joined: Wed Jun 01, 2011 8:55 am
Posts: 658
Location: United States
PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2011 11:36 pm 
 

Personally? I love it when a review starts off with "just what, exactly, is this load of dung supposed to be?"

That sets the tone for the rest of the review nicely :)

Maybe next time, be more clear how you really feel.

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Ilwhyan
Metel fraek

Joined: Sat Sep 29, 2007 1:41 pm
Posts: 6526
Location: Finland
PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2011 8:47 am 
 

A fairly competent review.

Despite the long rant on selling out, I think the balance between musical description and other things was good.
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John_Sunlight
President Satan

Joined: Tue Apr 20, 2010 4:41 am
Posts: 4730
PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2011 10:30 pm 
 

The AVGN/flipping out internet video reviewer influenced tone comes off childish in written reviews, 'fraid. :(
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Gelseth_Andrano
Veteran

Joined: Sat Sep 11, 2010 4:22 pm
Posts: 2692
Location: Dekalb, Illinois
PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2011 4:56 am 
 

First review guys, i'd like some feedback, i haven't done anything like this since high school haha.
So here 'goes, Circle the Wagons by Darkthrone

Title: Surprise!
Rating: 90%

To be honest, I bought this album completely on a whim. I had just decided I wanted to delve into black metal, since a few friends of mine listened quite frequently when I was around, so I decided to go a bit deeper than just the tidbits I heard from them. I knew Darkthrone was supposed to be some excellent BM, I decided to pick up Circle the Wagons, figuring I’d be getting some pretty dark and frostbitten stuff. I had no clue that Darkthrone had written anything but BM. I was shocked when I put the album into my CD player on the way home from my shopping excursion, and had no idea what to think. I didn’t dislike the music at that time, but it certainly wasn’t what I was looking for then. I immediately shelved it and forgot about it for a few months. I had run out of things to listen to and noticed Circle the Wagons, and decided to give it another shot. I listened to the album at least four times a day for almost two weeks after that. A blind buy quickly turned into one of my favorite albums.

One of the first things I noticed about the over sound was the production: The level of the vocals, guitars, and drums, perfectly complimented each other: Nothing was overpowering anything else, and I found that this particular type of balance that the album provided was something I hadn’t quite heard before, and something I immediately wanted more of. The energy that the album was recorded and written with is almost tangible while the album is blasting through the speakers, and fills the listener with that same energy, this positive, raw energy. Not very many albums, metal or non-metal, have made me feel the way Circle the Wagons did.

Upon the first spin, I was shocked to hear these punk/heavy metal inspired riffs. They are a perfect balance in between punk and heavy metal that I’d never heard before, creating a totally unique sound. Along with the riffing, I loved the guitar tone that was used; it sounded very raw, and a little muddy, but with just enough bite to it to really cut right through and sink in. The drumming was good, a bit simple, but I really don’t think it needed to be anything more than what it was, and definitely nothing less. The only thing I had any real issue with was the vocals. I liked the tone of Fenriz’s voice , but some of the harmonies he chose were a bit odd, and some of the raspier/shouted vocals sounded a bit too forced. Other than those few things, I really liked the vocals.

Over all, this album was a complete surprise, and a great one at that. I went in expecting one thing, and got something totally different, yet better than I could have hoped.
Stand out tracks:
Those Treasures Will Never Befall You
Running for Borders
Circle the Wagons
I Am the Working Class
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MalignantThrone
Vanished in the Cosmic Futility

Joined: Tue May 31, 2011 1:24 am
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Location: A step closer to home
PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 2011 8:28 pm 
 

@Gelseth: It'd probably be accepted in its current state, but I'd put a bit more description on how exactly the riffs sound - "punk/heavy metal" is a bit vague. Also, if you're going to name standout tracks, it's probably best that you tell the reader exactly why these tracks are better than the rest. Also frankly I hate it when people give lengthy introductions as to how they came across an album - I want to read about how the music sounds, not how you ended up buying the damn thing.

But yeah, other than that, pretty solid review.
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gradymayhem
Metal newbie

Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2011 11:17 pm
Posts: 367
Location: United States
PostPosted: Thu Sep 29, 2011 10:06 pm 
 

Two of my reviews were recently rejected. Any idea why? What do I need to change to make them better?

Bloodbathh- Breeding Death
This is one of my favorite death metal EPs. All three songs are solid as hell; each has a catchy riff while maintaining a level of intensity that rivals the early Swedish legends. The production leaves nothing to be desired: it's not squeaky clean, but is far from poor in any aspect. The guitarwork isn't exceptional, but effectively conveys the message, which in my eyes is far superior to flashy but meaningless shred. The drumwork is done well, but again isn't anything special. Just straight-up, well-executed drumming that is always aurally pleasing. The vocals are the probably my favorite discrete part of this EP. They sound perfectly visceral while being always understandable – a trait not too commonly found – plus they just fit well with the rest of the music.
This album's main virtue, however, is its cohesion. Everything fits together very well, with practically no oversights/mistakes. Everything interacts perfectly with everything else, which scores more points in my book than anything else.
"Funeral Furnace" is the best track on the album, despite the comical lyrics. The melody at the end of the song sounds very reminiscent of the melody on "Left Hand Path," which I very much enjoy.
Overall, this a solid release – Bloodbath's best work besides The Fathomless Mastery – and is worthy of praise for its excellent cohesion, even if it isn't the most original thing in the world.

The Prophecy- Into the Light
Wow. What an album. Here we have a prime slab of death/doom that seriously couldn't get much better. I'm apt to say that this may be the best (predominantly) doom album I've heard.
The name of the game here is juxtaposition. Perfectly done clean vocals counter the throaty growls also found here, just as the distorted, downtuned guitar chords clash with the beautiful guitar melodies so abundant here, and just as Chinese crash(chinese crash is used ABUNDANTLY on this album)/double base rolls oppose the sedate, post rock drumming found on other tracks.
Along with these instrumental clashes are two basic song styles: the drifting calm kind, and the more aggressive death metal style kind. Both melody and harshness are found in both, but to different extents. The calmer ones come off with a certain element of post rock after repeat listens, while the more aggressive sound like typical death/doom with extraordinarily good melodies and musicianship, which brings us to the next point: musicianship.
This band's musicianship is stellar. The ability to flawlessly play downtuned doom and gentle rock with any amount of continuity is rare indeed. To create an entire album so proficient in both is perhaps one-in-a-kind. The vocals also manage to fit this diverse soundscheme. The vocalist not only has an uncannily good growl which he uses awesomely (not to mention how wonderfully he punctuates certain syllables and words), but also has a very decent singing voice which he uses to great effect in not only the slower songs, but also in the more aggressive ones (see Belief Means Nothing and Into the Light).
On top of this wonderful sonic diversity are lyrics good enough to give this album meaning. They may not be the best ever written, but they consistently get the point across, and sometimes sound just plain powerful (especially in combination with the vocalist's aforementioned ability to effectively punctuate. My personal favorite example of this is:
"I'll take you
Down under
Down with me
Into eternal suffering
I'll kill your soul
Forever more"
From Belief Means Nothing. They're not flashy or pretentious, but they sound cool as hell and get the point across.
My final comment on this album as a whole is that it uses nontraditional ideas pretty well. "Echoes" has a bluesy solo amidst the post rockish song and ends in a dissonance of sorts. This use of dissonance is always a nice touch, and can be found in a few other spots on this album like the very sparse, drum-driven pre chorus of Belief Means Nothing.
The only reason I can't give this album a perfect score is the sixth song, "All is Lost." It's not bad as a whole, but it has some annoying moments that kind of kill the song.


I'll admit that I'm not the most skilled review writer ever, so if these are rotten through and through, don't hesitate to tell me so.
Thanks.
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Smalley
Metalhead

Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 9:06 am
Posts: 699
PostPosted: Thu Sep 29, 2011 10:31 pm 
 

gradymayhem wrote:
Two of my reviews were recently rejected. Any idea why? What do I need to change to make them better?

Bloodbathh

....

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Zelkiiro
Pounding the world with a fish of steel

Joined: Sat Apr 18, 2009 5:30 pm
Posts: 4099
Location: United States
PostPosted: Thu Sep 29, 2011 10:32 pm 
 

I'm not the greatest review writer ever, but I can tell one thing immediately without even reading them: those reviews are far too short. My format, which is a fairly typical one, goes something like this:

This is my intro paragraph. Here I will say how/when I came across this album, any experience I've had with the artist, and set the tone for the rest of the review. "If you like symphonic/gothic, you're in for a treat," or "For those who like their sanity intact, brace yourselves."

In this first body paragraph or section of paragraphs, I'll cover some of the initial (or only) good things about the album. "Song 1" starts us off on the right foot with a tense, silent opening until the intro riff crushes the silence and Vocalist delivers some powerful vocal lines.

The production on Album Name is really top-notch, with suitably dark ambiance underlying the doom-y riffs and Vocalist's bellows; "Song 6" is the prime example of this sound, with Guitarist laying out very Other Doom Band-esque riffing, and the whole thing is just heavy as fuck.

Now, with this second body paragraph or section of paragraphs, things shift a little--if this is a good album, I'll talk about some of the things that may drag Album Name down, but if this is a bad album, the flaws will be brought out in full force. Drummer doesn't seem to do anything to distinguish himself in the group; sure, he does a fine job, but it feels like anyone else could have been put there to do the exact same thing.

The lyrics also distract from the experience a bit, covering trite subjects such as the typical anti-war message in "Song 2" and "Song 3," as well as the bizarre topic of Indonesian Extreme Sports in "Song 9." You will also notice all the songs are very same-y, following the same chord progressions and melodic lines in every song.

In the final paragraph or two, I'll summarize my feelings on Album Name and try to alert you to whom this album is made for. If you want a fairly decent Candlemass or Solitude Aeturnus knock-off group, without any of the timeless classics, Group Name was made for you. Here would be my final eye-catching statement to end the review on, so eat shit, go fuck yourself, and buy more cigarettes to slowly kill yourself with.
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gradymayhem
Metal newbie

Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2011 11:17 pm
Posts: 367
Location: United States
PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2011 2:11 pm 
 

Smalley wrote:
Bloodbathh


I had a few drinks, that's not actually in the review, chill out.

Zelkiiro wrote:
I'm not the greatest review writer ever, but I can tell one thing immediately without even reading them: those reviews are far too short. My format, which is a fairly typical one, goes something like this:



Thanks a lot, I'll change some stuff around.
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colin040
Metal freak

Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2007 6:00 pm
Posts: 4570
Location: Netherlands
PostPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2011 2:46 pm 
 

Wrote a quick review for Virgin Steele's latest album. I need to know what to work on. I'm aware that my review has flaws but please help me out.

Title: Misleading and hard to get

Virgin Steele's latest album is one I was really excited about. While <i>Visions of Eden</i> didn't do that much for me it was far from bad. The problem with that record was, despite the weak production the lack of real killer material which made it an average album at best. Anyway, this reviews is about the most recent Virgin Steele so let's get started.

Now I'm not going to lie: at first I hated this record. The vocals were weak and the songs were quite bizarre. There was a lack of heaviness that I didn't like and I felt the songs were far from interesting. I decided to give this album another shot and eventually found out what I disliked the most about this album and sadly it's an very important thing; the vocals.

David DeFeis just doesn't live up to the nickname ''the lion'' here and is whispering thorough the album singing with very little effort this time. It's sad because despite his age he can still pull those wild cat screams off. They're as natural and aggressive as they ever were so I'm having my doubts about him losing his voice after all. I wish there were more midrange vocal lines which would do the album much more justice; even the heavier songs here have an laid back feeling just by the vocal delivery alone. DeFeis occasionally uses his midrange but there are sadly very few actual good vocal lines to be found here, with the exception of those powerful screams that basically every song is full of.

On the other hand, there's besides the vocals not much to complain about; the production, while not perfect is alright. There's no longer a distant feeling and the guitars are most of the time audible. They occasionally get overshadowed by the piano but besides that there's not much to worry about. Speaking of guitars, I'm glad they're back in the mix. While the riffs aren't as vicious and as they once were there are some great stuff to here hear: the intro riff of ''The Orpheus Taboo'' sounds as vicious as some of the older stuff, while ''In a Dream of Fire'' isn't as riff-oriented but still has an enjoyable catchy lead to offer around 3:10 minute mark.

The songs themselves are quite varied. The openings track is the heaviest one here with some great heavy, pounding riffs and crazy solos in between. Despite the soft vocals this is what Virgin Steele is all about. ''In a Dream of Fire'' is another great one; being more of a laid back moody song. ''The Torture's of the Damned'' is the shortest song here and while it's not even 3 minutes long I still find the haunting mood of it enjoyable and reminds me of something that would fit right away on the <i>Atreus</i> series.

Many songs didn't do much for me at all though. ''Pagan Heart'' for example, sounded rather dull to my ears at first; the guitars weren't as loud and the vocals didn't impress me either. The same counts for ''The Orpheus Taboo'' which starts vicious before leading into a mysterious mess. DeFeis screams <i> Fuck you! The of the hero is mine!</i> in the middle of the track which got me pretty excited, yet the music again features catchy, safe yet enjoyable verses. Misleading seems to be the right word here; just when you think hell is about to get unleashed it never does.

In the end, <i>The Black Light Bacchanalia</i> is a decent album. It has potential, but sadly the vocals are the most annoying factor here. The production is better than the one on <i>Visions of Eden</i> and could be a little better but it's not much to worry about at all. The material is varied, which is enjoyable, yet the misleading moments in between could turn you off. Get some of the band's later era first (starting with <i>Marriage</i>) and check this out later.

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usernamepassword
Metalhead

Joined: Sun Jun 13, 2010 7:13 am
Posts: 1119
PostPosted: Sat Oct 08, 2011 1:37 pm 
 

gimme feedback on my review!

http://www.metal-archives.com/reviews/N ... addyZeus67

This is the last one I've done as of now...and probably will be for a while because I'm too cool to write anything new...anyway this is like the only track by track I've done for a full length cd and I wanna know if anyone here thinks I'm good at that kinda stuff :)

and yes I really am DaddyZeus67...I don't even care if I get banned again for confessing that

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kgerych1995
Metal newbie

Joined: Sun Jul 03, 2011 7:07 pm
Posts: 280
Location: United States
PostPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2011 9:57 am 
 

Here is my original rejected reveiw of Hanging in the balance by Metal Church. It was rejected because of some punctuation errors and because the moderators have tended to steer away from "Shopping List Style" reveiws. It is not a huge deal, I just organized it into paragraphs and fixed the visible errors and resubmitted it. I just wanted to know if it was a good reveiw like this or not. Thanks, Kevin


Hanging In the Balance-1994

Metal Church… perhaps the most underrated thrash bands of all time. Coming out of a time in which Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax and Slayer (the big 4) were the kings of thrash, bands such as Metal Church, Overkill, and Testament as well as a handful of others were eclipsed by the much more mainstream thrash bands. But the real thing came down to the music. In 1991, Metallica came out with their Travesty of an album, the infamous black album. Later on, there was the drudgery of Load and St. Anger. Megadeth sold out with their 1999 clunker “Risk”. Anthrax sold out with the idiotic “Stomp 442”. As for Slayer, well, they never really sold out, they were consistently heavy, just adding experimental elements. But Metal Church’s music is constantly forgotten by many people. After landing some minor MTV exposure in 1986 for the video for “Watch the Children Pray” off of the massively successful record “The Dark”, as well as some radio and a little bit of MTV play with the 1990 single, “Badlands”, featuring new singer Mike Howe, who just happens to be from Detroit, like myself. After the successful “Human Factor” record in 1991, a lot of people lost track of Metal Church, who went on to record what is in many people’s mind, their finest moment, 1994’s “Hanging In The Balance” with already famous “Savatage” producer Paul O’Neill. Metal Church should be noted for their strange album covers, this one being the strangest of them all. I mean, what was running through the artist’s mind when he concocted this piece. It ranks up there with “Load” by Metallica as the strangest album covers of all time.


THE SONGS:

Gods Of Second Chance- This is the song that got me hooked on the record. I pulled it up on YouTube to give it a listen and was immediately pulled in by the guitar build up. O’Neill’s production bring Mike Howe’s vocals to front and center, all while not sacrificing sound quality of the rest of the band. The vocals are as clear as I have ever heard them, which really brings out the biting, angry voice of Mr. Howe. The breakdown section in the middle showcases the tight guitar mastery of former Metallica guitarist (during 1992 tour when Hetfeild burned himself) John Marshall and founding member Craig Wells. The guitars contrast with one channel giving a bluesy, moving solo, then it lurches into a full on biting metal solo. The bass end is also something to rave about. It POUNDS its way through your speakers. The drumming is just incredible, full on double bass attack. This, over time has become my favorite MC track, among a handful of others.
Losers In The Game- This track continues the mid tempo stomp, like the previous track. It chimes in with the sound of drummer Kirk Arrington hitting his crash cymbal as well as hitting his bass drum simultaneously , signaling in the clean guitar line. The track then builds up to a full on romp after a pick scratch signals in the distortion. The vocals, applied in a manner so angry, that you think Mr. Howe is going to come out of the speakers and rip you head off. His raspy, biting growl makes this song one hell of a metal romp. I would probably use this one to define the phrase “fiery Metal assault on your ears”.

Hypnotized- Still retaining that mid paced tempo, but this time, the guitar riff is much more of a groove metal feel. That is until the chorus kicks in with a clean guitar line. I think that the song is about alcohol abuse and its effects. Perhaps my least favorite track on the record. Not saying that it is bad, but it sticks out like a sore thumb on here.

No Friend Of Mine: The tempo speeds up on this track about betrayal. I apply it to my life many days, talking about all of the backstabbers that I have met over time. The clean guitar line gives was to a vicious guitar attack. The vocals are just as, if not more so, vicious as the guitar. The double bass drum work on here is amazing as well. Personally, this is another one of the strongest tracks on the record. It is just such a shame that it has never had the exposure that earlier albums have had.
Waiting For A Savior- This is where the album hits its prime and never lets go of it. This is the true definition of an epic. No not the term “epic” that you hear everyone use to describe things that are awesome or a screw up. No, this is a tale of believing in a god or a higher spirit, but turns out not to be real and losing all hope. The vocals are very angry sounding, as with most of the album. The soloing is something to rave about. On this track the soloing is as tight as it has ever been. Another strong track.

Conductor- This track is the perfect example of how Metal Church blended thrash/speed metal and power metal to create their unique blend of metal. The vocals are spitting bullets, the guitars are shredding, the drums are fast. A definite must for the avid metal fan.

Little Boy- first of all, I know that this has been said before, but this song is NOT about pedophiles for those just browsing through the track titles. It actually is about the atomic bomb which the track is named for, “Little Boy” which was dropped on Japan in 1945. It really about cold war fears following the dropping of the bombs in 1945. The song is very dynamic, as it takes many twists and turns. A true metal epic about destruction and war.

Down To The River- Perhaps the least listened to by myself. It is a heavy number, in the similar vein as Conductor, Down To The River has a chugging guitar all through the short number. The vocals are once again angry, but when Howe holds that note out, it has its own hypnotizing quality. It features, once again, some blazing dual lead solos. Overall a pretty solid track.
End Of The Age- This is my personal favorite song on the record. It features a calm acoustic intro, before bursting into a full on metal song. The lyrics deal with the apocalypse and Nostradamus, who is known as the doomsday prophet, which makes for a really cool listen. The track clocks in at just over 7 minutes, and is divided, much like the previously mentioned “Little Boy”. At the middle, it features a folkish acoustic line, before thrashing it out in the solo section. After that, it slows to the starting pace. Overall, I would recommend this one to anyone who is a fan of metal epics in the vein of “Rime Of The Ancient Mariner” by Iron Maiden or “The Lady Wore Black” by Queensryche.

Lovers And Madmen- a short acoustical instrumental, just clocking in at under 2 minutes. Not really much to mention here, just a good acoustical piece.

A Subtle War- This track was obviously written in a time when drug and gang wars were a huge deal. If you wrote it today, the lyrics would still be relevant. It sort of reminds me of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. It should have been in the game, seeing that the lyrical content pertains to the storyline in the game. This track also happens to be my (close) second favorite on the record. It just has a great metal pace, with an amazing dual guitar harmony. The vocals are angry and vicious. Overall, an excellent metal romp.

To conclude, Hanging In The Balance can be considered Metal Church’s coming of age. They really hit their creative prime here. The lyrics and music are well refined. The production is crystal clear, thanks in part to producer Paul O’Neill, famous for his excellent work with Florida metal band Savatage. This album is highly recommended to anyone who is looking for a great thrash/power metal record, as well as any REAL fan of Metal Church. K.G

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colin040
Metal freak

Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2007 6:00 pm
Posts: 4570
Location: Netherlands
PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2011 3:24 pm 
 

My Paradise Lost - Faith Divides Us - Death Unites Us review. Please tell me if it's good enough and/or what to work on.


Paradise Lost, a band that's been active since 1988 just released their twelfth album. And yes, you read that correctly, I do believe this is their best album so far. Finally the band has managed to come up with not only a powerful but also a consistent album. Something I didn't really expect after hearing this band's modern works.

<i>Faith Divides Us - Death Unites Us</i> definitely delivers. While not quite a return to the band's doom/death roots I'm convinced this album pleased old school fans. Taking the best that had <i>In Requiem</i> had to offer turn the heaviness up a notch and the result's great.

And paradise Lost aren't just fucking around. There's great attention grabbing moments thorough the whole album. From the huge guitar waving ''As Horizons End'' to the BRUTAL intro riff of ''I Remain'' (which reminds me of even something Morbid Angel circa <i>Blessed Are the Sick</i> could come up with!) to the rocking verses of ''Univerisal'' Dream, this album is full of quality and even some unexpected moments here and there.

As far as performance goes there's nothing too much to talk about. Nick Holmes manages to combines both his clean midrange with his deep roar that he used on albums such as <i>Icon</i> and <i>Draconian Times</i> though not as natural sounding as before, his voice still manage to sound powerful and delivers everything he sings with conviction. Greg displays great variation his guitarwork. More than the usual low end heavy riffing such as the tremolo picking riffing on ''Frailty'' or energetic, upbeat riff on the titled track around 2:25 His leads aren't missed out either and sound as good as they ever did on any Paradise Lost album. My favourite would be on ''First Light'', as it sounds never ending well crafted. One thing that makes this album standout are the drums. Finally I feel like they're doing more than keeping a simple beat up. Even the slower songs such as ''As Horizons End'' or ''First Light'' feel very alive and energetic because of this. Other standout moments would be moments the chorus kicks in on the titled track or the drum rolls on ''Living With Scars''

Production wise this album sounds huge and fat. The use of 7 string guitars tuned to A might looks silly but really works here. Another positive thing are the drums, sounding loud enough to hear but never overshadow another instrument. The occasional use of keyboards delivers as well. When they're around they really boost the atmosphere and while they're not you wouldn't even feel there's something missing.

The songs could divided into two groups; the older, more familiar heavy material and then there's the whole newer approach which would surprise any Paradise Lost fan. ''As Horizons End'' is probably the most obvious track. As an opener it does its job well and really makes me think of something that could be written around the <i>Icon</i> years, this time sounding quite more complex. ''First Light'' features Nick using his clean/harsh vocal style thorough the verses with a nice moody chorus almost resulting into an angrier version of ''Ash & Debis''. Then there's the surprising stuff that I don't think anyone has seen coming: ''Frailty'' featuring some tremolo picking riffs while getting boosted by more haunting keyboardwork. ''Living With Scars'' is a real surprise though, with its crushing guitar riffs heavy enough to cause a earthquake before the bizarre mood change.

There are still a couple of minor flaws to be found which is a pity. ''I Remain'' has a very upbeat chorus, though it pops up out of nowhere. ‘’Rise of Denial'' tries a bit too hard to sound ''heavy’’ with chugga guitar riffing, leaving me a bit cold. ''Last Regret'' has a bit of a too obvious and simple chorus that doesn't do much for me. Last there is ''In Truth'' which I find to be filler, sounding a bit too dull for my taste.

In the end I find myself repeating <i>Faith Divides Us - Death Unites Us</i> quite often. While I personally find the first half of the album to be much better it's actually very consistent. While Paradise Lost did some stuff on purpose here, (e.g. the bleak guitar solo on ''The Rise of Denial'' sounds like it belongs on ''Gothic'' and ''Universal Dream'' borrows a riff from ''Pity the Sadness'') Paradise Lost aren't turning back to their roots for the sake of turning back to their roots, instead they combine their older elements with modern songwriting, something more bands could learn from. Check this out if you like ballsy doom/gothic metal.

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Zelkiiro
Pounding the world with a fish of steel

Joined: Sat Apr 18, 2009 5:30 pm
Posts: 4099
Location: United States
PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2011 1:04 am 
 

So, considering I can't submit my review for Nightwish's Imaginaerum until Wednesday, I think it'd be useful to get some feedback on it until then:

Quote:
I came into <i>Imaginaerum</i> with a strong bias, being a long-time Nightwish fan: <i>Dark Passion Play</i> was sharply turning in a direction I was not wild about. Of course, the signs of brainless pop-metal were present and damning in <i>Once</i>, but not enough to raise any real concern from me. Songs from <i>Once</i> and <i>Dark Passion Play</i> like "For the Heart I Once Had" and "Wish I Had an Angel" were among those that caused me to await the new album nervously, as opposed to gleeful anticipation. And so, it was with a fearful heart that I pushed Play on <i>Imaginaerum</i>, but all was not as it seemed! Rather than the dreadful Rammstein-influenced trash I was expecting, I was treated, instead, to an album with a hell of a lot more folk and symphonic influences than I was led to believe. Think less “Bye Bye Beautiful”/”Master Passion Greed” and more “The Islander”/“Last of the Wilds.”

Strange and unusual for a Nightwish album, <i>Imaginaerum</i> boasts a healthy collection of fast-paced tunes. “Storytime” is probably the most likely to become the favorite with its infectious chorus and purposeful tempo, even if it does meander at times. “Ghost River” emerges as another candidate, boasting some soft melodies contrasted by dissonant, dark passages courtesy of our pal, Marco Hietala. The result is song that is all over the place, musically, but consistent enough to retain interest from the listener. However, it terms of pure energy, both songs fall far short of “Last Ride of the Day,” pushing forward at one of the fastest paces heard in a Nightwish song, but it also helps to have some well-written vocal lines and a solid solo.

Not all the faster songs are upbeat, though. “Scaretale” starts off with an ominous string quartet passage underlying a nursery rhyme, spoken by what I can only imagine are the twins from The Shining. After that, we get a song very much like “Planet Hell” from <i>Once</i>, with deep bass and melodies drenched in Tim Burton-esque darkness until halfway through, where the song suddenly becomes more like something you’d hear at the carnival from hell, complete with a ringleader. You know what, the whole song just smacks of Tim Burton, and if you’re a fan of that sort of thing (like I am), you’ll enjoy it greatly. And without missing a beat, the song leads into “Arabesque,” which sounds like stereotypical Arabian-flavored orchestral music. Except more grandiose and more awesome.

Naturally, because this is Nightwish, there are ballads and otherwise plain ol’ slow-moving songs. Right at the very start, we run into “Taikatalvi,” a very folksy, Finnish-style tune opening with the soft melody of a music box and ending with kettledrums and choral arias. It’s very simplistic, but it’s well-crafted and enjoyable. “Turn Loose the Mermaids” utilizes a very similar sound, despite the fact it’s a My Dying Bride reference, building up to violin solo that closes up another great song. “The Crow, the Owl, and the Dove” does not use the more overt folk elements in the other ballads, instead featuring acoustic guitar work remniscient of <i>Dark Passion Play</i>’s “The Islander.” Makes sense, considering Marco wrote both songs.

Among the ballads, “Slow, Love, Slow” stands out as the clear oddball: Nightwish playing lounge-style cool jazz. I will repeat that: <b>Nightwish playing lounge-style cool jazz.</b> Ready for a bit of news even more shocking than that? It’s really well-done. Anette seems to have a voice built for this sort of thing, and Jukka sounds like a natural doing brush-work on the hi-hats, but doubtless, many will be so distracted by the notion of Nightwish performing this kind of song that it will completely fly over their heads. Pity, really—it really is a good song.

The album’s epic, “Song of Myself,” covers all the bases, both intense and serene, making full use of the choirs, heard all throughout <i>Imaginaerum</i>, which underscore nearly every vocal line without overwhelming us. Loosely based on the Walt Whitman poem of the same name, “Song of Myself” travels all over the spectrum—from fast and booming to soft and serene, the latter mostly during the spoken-word segments in the second half. Various speakers tell their stories, remember the people they’ve met, and share their hopes with us, culminating in the speaker stating “I am all of these,” completing the central theme of both the poem and the song in a surprisingly profound way. It may take multiple listens to fully grasp it all, but once you do, it just becomes that much more worthwhile.

I have only a few complaints; they’re called “I Want My Tears Back” and Emppu Vuorinen. “I Want My Tears Back” sounds way too much like “Bye Bye Beautiful” for comfort with its chuggy guitars and industrial-sounding drum work and overall blandness. While it’s nowhere near as awful as “Bye Bye Beautiful” (the pipes do remind me of “Last of the Wilds” at times), I would definitely mark it as the weakest song on the album. As for Emppu, well, I don’t know if it’s his fault or not, but he rarely plays anything interesting. He’ll play some power chords, do some of those start-stop riffs people get really angry about, and only occasionally rip some solid riffs or bust out a blistering solo. Maybe it’s just how things turned out, and maybe it’s because he’s limited as a musician, but he’s not really doing anything no one else can do. Some people will be turned off to the album entirely because of it, but there’s far too much good here for me to dismiss <i>Imaginaerum</i> entirely.

I was nervous about how this album would turn out, hoping beyond hope that my 4 years of waiting wouldn’t be in vain, but everything turned out better than expected. Much better, in fact, considering there’s really only one song I didn’t enjoy. Not since <i>Oceanborn</i> have I enjoyed nearly everything on a Nightwish album. Even though <i>Imaginaerum</i> isn’t quite on the same level as their legendary sophomore album, it certainly is a remarkable step in their current dubious direction. All is not lost yet, folks.
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Ilwhyan
Metel fraek

Joined: Sat Sep 29, 2007 1:41 pm
Posts: 6526
Location: Finland
PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2011 8:31 am 
 

How about you use quotation marks instead of <i>?
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Illusions Dead - death/black metal

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