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Nightgaunt
I'll Swallow Your Soul

Joined: Sat Mar 06, 2004 9:50 pm
Posts: 6240
PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2006 8:33 am 
 

This is a thread intended for the use/benefit of contributors who would like to receive feedback from others on their work. If you have written something and are looking for suggestions on how it might be improved upon, post it here, and let the local pack of review-coyotes (or review-jackals, if you prefer) impart to you their hoary, arcane, and semi-journalistically carnal wisdom.

Although, as aforementioned, the thread is apt to be peopled on both sides of commerce primarily by those contributors who are particularly interested in/enthusiastic concerning reviews, all are free to participate, under certain constraints:

1. The idea of the thread is to elicit constructive feedback. This may fall into any number of areas of consideration--from the purely technical to the more subjective--but if you're going to post some critique and/or advice here, see to it that said posting is actually of some (relevant and useful) substance. No directionless vitriol, please. An exception will be made here if (when, rather) someone posts a review in here that is blatantly worthless or unsalvageable; no need to pretend that shit smells like daisies.

2. This is not an arena for arguing your individual opinions of a given album. If someone has made a factual error that you happen to notice--i.e. confusing the names of a band's bassist and singer, misusing terminology (such as speaking of blastbeats where there are none), refering to Children of Bodom as a black metal band, and the like--feel free to point it out, but you are under no circumstances to argue amongst yourselves about the merits of a given album. There are other parts of the forum for that.

3. On the part of the reviewer looking for feedback, this is not a thread for asking whether or not you think one of your reviews would be accepted as-is, or a thread for whining about a rejection (regardless of what you might believe, you are, in fact, neither clever nor casual enough to do this in a way so subtle that no one will notice). If (again, when, rather) someone hurts your feelings in constructively criticizing one of your postings, save the angst for your family, pastor, therapist, those funny-smelling kids you sit with in Remedial English, or some combination of all of the above--this includes critiques of the english of non-english speakers. A dung-heap, however well-intentioned or valiantly excreted it may have been, is still more offal than valiance. Finally, don't be posting here if your primary intention is just to receive pats on the back for a review that you know full-well is a solid piece of work.

As always, keep unrelated banter to a minimum, try and act in a civil and reasonable manner, and take at least some of what you are exposed to to heart. Believe it or not, there are some talented people here, and they may well be able to help you become a stronger reviewer.

Thank you for your comprehension. Enjoy.
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KayTeeBee
Veteran

Joined: Thu Jun 17, 2004 4:04 pm
Posts: 2595
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2006 9:11 pm 
 

Good idea, I've been thinking we should have this thread for a while.
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OlympicSharpshooter
The Universal Magnetic

Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2003 3:24 pm
Posts: 1991
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2006 9:18 pm 
 

Finally, we've come one step closer to a board with only five threads. ;)

Seriously though, this is a good idea. Bring on the questions. (Y)
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19755
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Sat Aug 28, 2004 4:04 am
Posts: 6
Location: Australia
PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2006 11:46 pm 
 

This is my first review and I'd appreciate some feedback from experienced review writers and anyone else as to what I should work on.

I wasn't aware of Elegeion until I heard a track from this album on local Australian metal show 'Full Metal Racket', and after waiting patiently for the album to arrive via the mail, I finally received it 2 weeks after ordering. Hailing from Victoria (and sounding very much like they should be from Scandanavia) this is only the second album by the band, but releasing a couple of EP's and demos since their formation in 1995 has ensured this recording is very much a mature, focused release with no hints of inexperienced songwriting often found in some bands early efforts. This album also boasts cover art by famed artist Travis Smith (whose work can be seen on various Opeth and Katatonia releases), with the image depicting a lonely figure standing atop a cliff edge - poignant symbolism of the isolation and lonliness described in the lyrics. I actually didn't immediately listen to the cd upon receiving it as I thought having a first listen at night would be more fitting the sombre, slow music that I knew was to come.

Consisting of just three main members (having utilised the services of various session musicians in the past) this cd is an epic journey of atmospheric blackened doom with a palpable sense of melancholy, reminiscent of Agalloch and early Katatonia. There is dual vocals here, male and female, with the male vocals consisting of distant rasps (very similar to John Haughm of Agalloch) and occasional whispers which provide sharp contrasts to the clean, crisp and beautiful female vocals of Dieudonnee, who also plays piano on the album, in addition to writing the lyrics and music for a number of tracks. The use of violin is a nice touch, a sign of early My Dying Bride influence, which alongside the piano gives the album a sophisticated Gothic feel.

'The Last Moment' begins with the title track, and starts off with a surprisingly catchy heavy riff that leads into some impressive lead work courtesy of Justin Hartwig from Chalice. The vocal interplay between main songwriter/lyricist Anthony and Dieudonnee is top notch in this track, and leads well into 'Scars', a highly emotive, all female vocalled affair, featuring just violin and piano accompaniment. The third song, 'Solitude', is the second longest on the album (behind the title track), clocking in at a bit over 7 minutes, but the length of the track is of no detriment as it features some nice melodic riffs and spoken word vocals that make for an interesting change in tone colour in the light of Anthony's blackish rasps and melodic beauty of Dieudonnee. 'Taste' follows, and could be considered to be the most 'upbeat' of all the songs on the album, and while it serves as a nice interlude between the melancholia of 'Solitude' and 'Heavens Torment' it doesn't sever the atmosphere built by the albums early songs.

'Heavens Torment' is next, my personal favourite. If the band was ever to release a single off this album, I'd imagine this song would be it, clocking in at a short 3:25 and featuring a memorable, catchy chorus sung by Dieudonnee. 'Wallow' continues much in the same vein as the earlier tracks. With an almost Burzum-ish feel to it, it's funeral march speed combined with mournful violin takes the listener deeper into the bleak Elegeion world described throughout the album. When the final track begins, you'd be forgiven for thinking your listening to something off My Dying Bride's 'The Angel and The Dark River', with the violin setting the mood for the heavy guitar/female vocalled mix that follows. This is a great album finisher. The from-out-of-nowhere black metal ending section a pleasant surprise, with harsh screams that any kvlt fan would be proud of. And with that, the album abruptly concludes. Possibly a reaction against the seemingly stock standard drawn out, feedback-y album endings, but an ending that leaves you wanting more all the same.

Production wise, this album reminds me a lot of Burzum with it's grainy, slightly fuzzy guitar & male vocal sound (though Anthony's vocal performance is in no way similar to Vargs) which I think suits the album perfectly. The juxtoposition between that and the feminine beauty of Dieudonnee's vocals makes for a very interesting mix, and one that still sounds unique even in the light of so many 'beauty & and the beast' Gothic metal bands.

This is a highly emotive record, filled with many great elements, such as melancholy, great vocals (by both singers), excellent musicianship, atmosphere, and heartfelt lyrics. Anyone who is a fan of old Theatre of Tragedy, Chalice, Enslaved, Novembers Doom or any of the bands mentioned in this review would do very well to purchase this. One complaint I do have though is, with only 7 tracks, it's not long enough!

Standout tracks: The Last Moment, Scars, Heavens Torment, Confusion
Filler: None
90%
- Alex

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OlympicSharpshooter
The Universal Magnetic

Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2003 3:24 pm
Posts: 1991
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2006 11:52 pm 
 

Pretty much a perfect review. The only thing I can tell you is to run it through spellcheck because there are a few typographical erros ('lonliness', 'utilised', your in place of you're etc.).
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19755
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Sat Aug 28, 2004 4:04 am
Posts: 6
Location: Australia
PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2006 11:59 pm 
 

Thanks a lot. Yeah I wrote it in a rich text document not Microsoft word so there was no spellcheck. Just done it now and fixed it all.


Last edited by 19755 on Fri Jan 27, 2006 12:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
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SculptedCold
Metal newbie

Joined: Sat Oct 04, 2003 11:26 am
Posts: 141
Location: United States of America
PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2006 12:06 am 
 

This is funny.

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ogmetal
Veteran of the Psychic Wars

Joined: Fri Jul 02, 2004 9:22 pm
Posts: 3980
PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2006 12:34 am 
 

OlympicSharpshooter wrote:
Finally, we've come one step closer to a board with only five threads. ;)

Seriously though, this is a good idea. Bring on the questions. (Y)


Yeah, the guy that came up with the idea is a friggin' genius :lol:
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CandideCamera
Pour l'encouragement des autres

Joined: Sat Jan 11, 2003 7:49 pm
Posts: 2155
Location: The Known Universe
PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2006 2:11 am 
 

19755 wrote:
This is my first review and I'd appreciate some feedback from experienced review writers and anyone else as to what I should work on.

I wasn't aware of Elegeion until I heard a track from this album on local Australian metal show 'Full Metal Racket', and after waiting patiently for the album to arrive via the mail, I finally received it 2 weeks after ordering. Hailing from Victoria (and sounding very much like they should be from Scandanavia) this is only the second album by the band, but releasing a couple of EP's and demos since their formation in 1995 has ensured this recording is very much a mature, focused release with no hints of inexperienced songwriting often found in some bands early efforts. This album also boasts cover art by famed artist Travis Smith (whose work can be seen on various Opeth and Katatonia releases), with the image depicting a lonely figure standing atop a cliff edge - poignant symbolism of the isolation and lonliness described in the lyrics. I actually didn't immediately listen to the cd upon receiving it as I thought having a first listen at night would be more fitting the sombre, slow music that I knew was to come.

Consisting of just three main members (having utilised the services of various session musicians in the past) this cd is an epic journey of atmospheric blackened doom with a palpable sense of melancholy, reminiscent of Agalloch and early Katatonia. There is dual vocals here, male and female, with the male vocals consisting of distant rasps (very similar to John Haughm of Agalloch) and occasional whispers which provide sharp contrasts to the clean, crisp and beautiful female vocals of Dieudonnee, who also plays piano on the album, in addition to writing the lyrics and music for a number of tracks. The use of violin is a nice touch, a sign of early My Dying Bride influence, which alongside the piano gives the album a sophisticated Gothic feel.

'The Last Moment' begins with the title track, and starts off with a surprisingly catchy heavy riff that leads into some impressive lead work courtesy of Justin Hartwig from Chalice. The vocal interplay between main songwriter/lyricist Anthony and Dieudonnee is top notch in this track, and leads well into 'Scars', a highly emotive, all female vocalled affair, featuring just violin and piano accompaniment. The third song, 'Solitude', is the second longest on the album (behind the title track), clocking in at a bit over 7 minutes, but the length of the track is of no detriment as it features some nice melodic riffs and spoken word vocals that make for an interesting change in tone colour in the light of Anthony's blackish rasps and melodic beauty of Dieudonnee. 'Taste' follows, and could be considered to be the most 'upbeat' of all the songs on the album, and while it serves as a nice interlude between the melancholia of 'Solitude' and 'Heavens Torment' it doesn't sever the atmosphere built by the albums early songs.

'Heavens Torment' is next, my personal favourite. If the band was ever to release a single off this album, I'd imagine this song would be it, clocking in at a short 3:25 and featuring a memorable, catchy chorus sung by Dieudonnee. 'Wallow' continues much in the same vein as the earlier tracks. With an almost Burzum-ish feel to it, it's funeral march speed combined with mournful violin takes the listener deeper into the bleak Elegeion world described throughout the album. When the final track begins, you'd be forgiven for thinking your listening to something off My Dying Bride's 'The Angel and The Dark River', with the violin setting the mood for the heavy guitar/female vocalled mix that follows. This is a great album finisher. The from-out-of-nowhere black metal ending section a pleasant surprise, with harsh screams that any kvlt fan would be proud of. And with that, the album abruptly concludes. Possibly a reaction against the seemingly stock standard drawn out, feedback-y album endings, but an ending that leaves you wanting more all the same.

Production wise, this album reminds me a lot of Burzum with it's grainy, slightly fuzzy guitar & male vocal sound (though Anthony's vocal performance is in no way similar to Vargs) which I think suits the album perfectly. The juxtoposition between that and the feminine beauty of Dieudonnee's vocals makes for a very interesting mix, and one that still sounds unique even in the light of so many 'beauty & and the beast' Gothic metal bands.

This is a highly emotive record, filled with many great elements, such as melancholy, great vocals (by both singers), excellent musicianship, atmosphere, and heartfelt lyrics. Anyone who is a fan of old Theatre of Tragedy, Chalice, Enslaved, Novembers Doom or any of the bands mentioned in this review would do very well to purchase this. One complaint I do have though is, with only 7 tracks, it's not long enough!

Standout tracks: The Last Moment, Scars, Heavens Torment, Confusion
Filler: None
90%
- Alex

The first paragraph is near pointless and should at least be condensed.
The third paragraph lacks concrete descriptions, and as a result is quite bland. The fourth is the same, but gets away with it due to the name dropping.

I might accept it.
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19755
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Sat Aug 28, 2004 4:04 am
Posts: 6
Location: Australia
PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2006 6:41 am 
 

Alright then. I wrote this with an Australian webzine in mind, so thats why theres a bit of background information of the band there. Also I thought the artwork was important as it accompanies the lyrical subjects and mood of the album.

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CandideCamera
Pour l'encouragement des autres

Joined: Sat Jan 11, 2003 7:49 pm
Posts: 2155
Location: The Known Universe
PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2006 8:29 am 
 

19755 wrote:
Alright then. I wrote this with an Australian webzine in mind, so thats why theres a bit of background information of the band there. Also I thought the artwork was important as it accompanies the lyrical subjects and mood of the album.


Dear me I skipped the second half of that paragraph. That half should by all means be there, and I think it's a nice touch. It's not too often that somebody finds the artwork to be relevant to the music. Kudos for that.

But otherwise, I was a bit harsh, but it seems that the details are lacking. But hey, if OSS thinks it's great, then it'll probably go through. Given the amount of rejecting that's done, I'd probably be floored by this in perspective of the rest of the queue.
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Gutterscream
The Last Old Schooler in Town

Joined: Fri Feb 18, 2005 3:59 pm
Posts: 1419
Location: United States
PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2006 1:20 pm 
 

I liked it quite a bit. I enjoy background info, maybe not for every review, but once in awhile it's interesting to know how someone came across a record (and hopefully the 'how' is interesting enough to be included). There is quite a bit of namedropping, but a picture (or in this case a sound) is worth a thousand words, and by comparing certain elements of it to a particular era My Dying Bride, I know what to expect and the guy didn't have to string six sentences together to explain it. Good job.
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OlympicSharpshooter
The Universal Magnetic

Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2003 3:24 pm
Posts: 1991
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2006 1:51 pm 
 

speedemon86 wrote:
19755 wrote:
Alright then. I wrote this with an Australian webzine in mind, so thats why theres a bit of background information of the band there. Also I thought the artwork was important as it accompanies the lyrical subjects and mood of the album.


Dear me I skipped the second half of that paragraph. That half should by all means be there, and I think it's a nice touch. It's not too often that somebody finds the artwork to be relevant to the music. Kudos for that.

But otherwise, I was a bit harsh, but it seems that the details are lacking. But hey, if OSS thinks it's great, then it'll probably go through. Given the amount of rejecting that's done, I'd probably be floored by this in perspective of the rest of the queue.


What I'm mostly looking at here is the general level of writing proficiency. Everything is pretty sound grammatically and he writes with feeling. As a review, he's certainly well over the base minimum for musical description and commentary, so I mostly leave the rest of the review at the writer's discretion. I don't see anything that he's specifically doing wrong, and that extra background touch can be interesting to read.

And as you say, the queue is often pretty much ashambles so people who can put whole sentences together without error tend to stand-out as 'teh awesome'.

EDIT: And I feel I should point out if it sounded like my praise was a little tepid, I think this review is excellent. If you continue at this level of quality, you'll be one of the selected few reviewers who can review any record they want regardless of how many reviews are already on the site for that album.
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Nightgaunt
I'll Swallow Your Soul

Joined: Sat Mar 06, 2004 9:50 pm
Posts: 6240
PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2006 3:04 pm 
 

Hyperbole is unbecoming.
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OlympicSharpshooter
The Universal Magnetic

Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2003 3:24 pm
Posts: 1991
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2006 4:47 pm 
 

It isn't if he improves at the same rate I did. Consider this review versus my first, which was for Kill 'Em All, for example.
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CandideCamera
Pour l'encouragement des autres

Joined: Sat Jan 11, 2003 7:49 pm
Posts: 2155
Location: The Known Universe
PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2006 5:22 pm 
 

I'm just a nazi. Maybe moreso than Nightgaunt?

:oh shit:
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OlympicSharpshooter
The Universal Magnetic

Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2003 3:24 pm
Posts: 1991
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2006 5:40 pm 
 

Does...not...compute...

Anyway, I just wrote this review for Green Carnation's Light of Day, Day of Darkness, but I don't think it quite works. Please, go Nazi on it. Hardcore, sheiser film style.

98%

In metal, there is a great potential for the kind of art that has in many ways left this world. As the purest child of classical composition in the world of popular music, metal has access to the both the fury and gut-level verve of rock as well as the grandeur and scope of the symphony, and because of this it is capable of achieving incredible things. While I am not so elitist as to dismiss the equally powerful magic of the perfect rock single or the almighty glory of The Riff, there is an art above and beyond, beneath and beside.

Green Carnation’s hour-long opus “Light of Day, Day of Darkness” is everything and nothing and often both at once, oscillating between sweeping fanfares of daunting complexity and ambient musing, seeming to reflect the lyrics which center upon fantastical metaphorical imagery while never leaving the confines of a dreaming mind. As themes come and go, one is drawn deeper into the heart of the mystery, sitting with chin resting on palm surrounded by glass walls and signs reading Caution: Deep Thoughts in Progress.

Every instrument on this record contributes to the whole and nothing for an instant feels out of place. There are layers and layers of sound, at times dozens of tracks going at once but Green Carnation are blessed with uncommonly good composition and absolutely pristine production. The riffs in the beginning of the song are rather stock doom riffs, much more about the ominous sturm and drang and the ominous sensations than about trying to replace “Smoke on the Water”, the DNA unchanged since Black Sabbath – “Black Sabbath”, Black Sabbath. However, guitarist and composer Tchort plays them with an uncommon energy, heavy but not trudging, I believe intentionally writing simple earthy riffs to anchor music that is bordered and shaded by involved keys and string melodies. At other plays in the song the riffs are grand and eloquent, sometimes atmospheric, never less than superb.

When writing a song that is over twenty minutes long, most writers tend to break up the track “2112”-style with sharp delineations between sections in order to prevent the listener from becoming bored and, from a technical standpoint, to provide an excuse to do some rather jarring transitions. Green Carnation has been more like a Pink Floyd in that they simply let the song be very long without breaking it up any, but this song isn’t nearly as jammy and simplistic as Floyd’s work. They arrive at somewhat of a happy medium between the brands of progressive rock, as the song has very different feelings and sounds within it but is built in such a way that it feels like one piece. With few exceptions, I would be hard-pressed to break this up into sections because it just feels like a whole. The way they accomplish this is through an extremely canny compositional style.

Suppose you want to get from near silence to an epic outro, how do you do it without feeling forced or choppy? Basically, you must build up to that point. Around the 35 minute mark of the song, the listener is left with only a woman’s voice wailing in the darkness accompanied by some lovely, mournful saxophone from guest musician Arvid Thorsen. There are bubbling noises in the background, a few touches of synth. This sounds like creation, the earth mother crying out as the world comes into form. Slowly we are reintroduced to electric guitar, building up into a funereal doom riff with chanting vocals overtop, building to a breaking point of volume. At this point, it relaxes for a measure into solo acoustic guitar. With Tchort leading the way, synth-player and string arranger Endre Kirkesola begins feeding in the strings, and then the piano which plays along with the acoustic guitars to perfection for a time before taking over. Soon after, Tchort switches to electric guitar and plays rhythm to Bjørn’s lead, the piano reaching a more uptempo melody as the lead takes over and sweeps the listener away. I tell you, this solo is the work of immortals, evangelical fire melting the frets as he channels divine inspiration. As with many of the most powerful riffs on the album, the solo is marked by a career spent honing the techniques of black metal, but is played in the bombastic style of a John Petrucci or a Kirk Hammett. Thus, you often hear tremolo-picked riffs and other staples of the genre in a new way and with a more obvious passion than ever before.

As amazing as the solo itself is, it wouldn’t have had the impact without that languorous three-minute build-up from the quiet section, which itself was five to seven minutes. The amazing ride utilized the tension that had accumulated after such a long time away from the heavier side of the palette, and the lack of other solo spots in the song made it a truly explosive climax, later matched only by the closing fanfares. Perhaps an even stronger indication of how good the composition is is that the song wastes no time following it up, again hauling the audience along through more glorious riffage and a vocal section that reminds me of Pain of Salvation’s BE, although that record had not yet been released. I mean, forgive me if my enthusiasm sounds like hyperbole but its hard not to be heap praise on a work of this scale. It just seems like it’s deserved.

The vocals are handled by Kjetil Nordhus who turns in perhaps the most uneven performance, although that says little considering how good everything in general is. The song’s main recurring riff is simple and repetitive one carried by the driving rhythm section, and the band was obviously looking for a mechanical resonance to his vocals which, while not a bad decision overall is one that leads to vocal melodies that are considerably less interesting than I was caterwauling when I was reading the lyrics along with the song before I’d become more than passingly familiar with it. At other places in the song he demonstrates a passionate, confident voice and he has the ability to imbue admirable character into it, and so during these repetitive sections his phrasing seems unnatural and cold. In spite of this, Nordhus does an admirable job of bringing life to what otherwise might have sounded like aimless navel-gazing masquerading as poetic contemplation. Which, considering how obscure the lyrics are, might still be true but if it is so additional kudos must go to Nordhus for so skilfully hiding this from me.

I have to say, I remain surprised that Green Carnation managed to execute this project so perfectly. There ability of course is unquestioned, Tchort in particular being quite the black metal man about town including stints with Emperor and Satyricon, but even his name-appeal could only have reached a limited audience. How then did Green Carnation manage to command such lush production and such lavish sound? Being on a major (for metal) label helps of course, but this thing… sound-wise, it is perfect. Puts most major (for general music) label music to shame in fact.

However, nit-picking at every individual facet of “Light of Day, Day of Darkness” will bring me no closer to why it is great. It is in the whole that greatness and art emerges, how all of the individual components come together to create a progressive watershed, the benchmark within the subset of the almost quixotically epic, achieving where efforts like Tales From Topographic Oceans and “Crimson” didn’t quite. Why it is and how it is what it is are almost irrelevant compared to what it is:

Brilliant.
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19755
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Sat Aug 28, 2004 4:04 am
Posts: 6
Location: Australia
PostPosted: Sat Jan 28, 2006 10:01 pm 
 

Thanks a lot fellas. Very much appreciated.

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Thorgrim_Honkronte
Imperius Rexxz

Joined: Sun Jan 16, 2005 4:40 pm
Posts: 2903
PostPosted: Sat Jan 28, 2006 11:03 pm 
 

Awesome review OSS, but I kind of thought the woman's wailing in the middle was pointless. I hate that part of the album so much :(

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Cheeses_Priced
Metalhead

Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2004 6:11 am
Posts: 656
Location: United States
PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2006 2:46 pm 
 

OlympicSharpshooter wrote:
Does...not...compute...

Anyway, I just wrote this review for Green Carnation's Light of Day, Day of Darkness, but I don't think it quite works. Please, go Nazi on it. Hardcore, sheiser film style.


I guess nobody would presume to give you advice. Or else it's just too long for the short of attention span.

But I'm bored and presumptuous, so...

These weirdo avant-garde releases get a lot of effusive praise, so lay off of anything you can't back up. Like: "Green Carnation’s hour-long opus “Light of Day, Day of Darkness” is everything and nothing and often both at once" - that phrase right there is a meaningless cliche, an easy target to rewrite or kill.

"Every instrument on this record contributes to the whole and nothing for an instant feels out of place." - same deal. This could mean any number of things (are we talking about the production, or the interplay of the instruments, or...?) and could be applied to pretty much any kind of album, so back it up, find a way to say exactly what you mean, or kill it.

And there's a bit more in that vein, esp in the first couple of paragraphs, hyperbolic stuff out of a The End press release. This review's too long in general - by "too long" I mean the content-to-verbosity ratio is weak, you could just as easily make it longer and better.

"When writing a song that is over twenty minutes long, most writers tend to break up the track “2112”-style with sharp delineations between sections in order to prevent the listener from becoming bored and, from a technical standpoint, to provide an excuse to do some rather jarring transitions." - this (and what immediately follows) is quite good, I appreciate definite comparisons and nuts-and-bolts analysis of how the music works (or doesn't work, as the case may be).

On the other hand, this-happens-then-this-happens descriptions of music are pretty boring unless you're making some kind of explicit point. The paragraph starting with "Suppose you want to get from near silence to an epic outro..." starts good and then gets to dragging in the nitty-gritty of minor details.

"I tell you, this solo is the work of immortals, evangelical fire melting the frets" - of course I speak as a cynic regarding this album, but personally I could do without this. Generally, how good you think the album is isn't as important as why you think it, and we really only need to be told it's brilliant once. Otherwise you might as well just give it a numerical score and leave it at that.

"its hard not to be heap praise on a work of this scale" & "There ability of course is unquestioned" - uh, remember to turn on the Grammar Checker in Microsoft Word.

"achieving where efforts like Tales From Topographic Oceans and “Crimson” didn’t quite. " - why didn't they quite? Seems like food for thought. Understand, there's a subset of fans that will praise pretty much anything fitting this band's general profile, so it behooves you to explain what this album has going for it that another 60 minute prog song might not.

Well, so ends my nazi take, I guess. I'll readily admit that it's better than mine but I'm sure you could improve it substantially.

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Cheeses_Priced
Metalhead

Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2004 6:11 am
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2006 2:47 pm 
 

OlympicSharpshooter wrote:
Does...not...compute...

Anyway, I just wrote this review for Green Carnation's Light of Day, Day of Darkness, but I don't think it quite works. Please, go Nazi on it. Hardcore, sheiser film style.


I guess nobody would presume to give you advice. Or else it's just too long for the short of attention span.

But I'm bored and presumptuous, so...

These weirdo avant-garde releases get a lot of effusive praise, so lay off of anything you can't back up. Like: "Green Carnation’s hour-long opus “Light of Day, Day of Darkness” is everything and nothing and often both at once" - that phrase right there is a meaningless cliche, an easy target to rewrite or kill.

"Every instrument on this record contributes to the whole and nothing for an instant feels out of place." - same deal. This could mean any number of things (are we talking about the production, or the interplay of the instruments, or...?) and could be applied to pretty much any kind of album, so back it up, find a way to say exactly what you mean, or kill it.

And there's a bit more in that vein, esp in the first couple of paragraphs, hyperbolic stuff out of a The End press release. This review's too long in general - by "too long" I mean the content-to-verbosity ratio is weak, you could just as easily make it longer and better.

"When writing a song that is over twenty minutes long, most writers tend to break up the track “2112”-style with sharp delineations between sections in order to prevent the listener from becoming bored and, from a technical standpoint, to provide an excuse to do some rather jarring transitions." - this (and what immediately follows) is quite good, I appreciate definite comparisons and nuts-and-bolts analysis of how the music works (or doesn't work, as the case may be).

On the other hand, this-happens-then-this-happens descriptions of music are pretty boring unless you're making some kind of explicit point. The paragraph starting with "Suppose you want to get from near silence to an epic outro..." starts good and then gets to dragging in the nitty-gritty of minor details.

"I tell you, this solo is the work of immortals, evangelical fire melting the frets" - of course I speak as a cynic regarding this album, but personally I could do without this. Generally, how good you think the album is isn't as important as why you think it, and we really only need to be told it's brilliant once. Otherwise you might as well just give it a numerical score and leave it at that.

"its hard not to be heap praise on a work of this scale" & "There ability of course is unquestioned" - uh, remember to turn on the Grammar Checker in Microsoft Word.

"achieving where efforts like Tales From Topographic Oceans and “Crimson” didn’t quite. " - why didn't they quite? Seems like food for thought. Understand, there's a subset of fans that will praise pretty much anything fitting this band's general profile, so it behooves you to explain what this album has going for it that another 60 minute prog song might not.

Well, so ends my nazi take, I guess. I'll readily admit that it's better than mine but I'm sure you could improve it substantially.

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MaleficDevilry
Anointer of the Sick

Joined: Wed Feb 01, 2006 2:23 am
Posts: 322
Location: United States
PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2006 9:50 pm 
 

It's been submitted, not sure if it'll be accepted or not but I'd like some feedback anyway.

Mercyful Fate - Melissa 100%

Here we have it; Mercyful Fate’s debut and opus “Melissa.” To me, this is perfection.

Some fail to see how this album is blasphemous but just look at the year; 1983. What else was out there that focused heavily on Anton LaVey’s work? Venom? Venom focused more on ‘devil worship’ than actual Satanism. Bands dealing with image alone, not the actual ideals, use such topics.

Is that all there is to this album? Of course not. Ideals don’t mean a damn thing without talent. King delivers a vocal performance that is unmatched. Bruce Dickinson and Rob Halford were the top metal vocalists of the time and King surpassed them both. Keep in mind; this was before Halford went all out on “Painkiller.” Shermann and Denner are one of the best guitar duos in metal, right up there with Tipton and Downing.

The bands that these two men fronted were an influence on Fate of course. “Wrathchild” and “Killers” off Iron Maiden’s sophomore album “Killers” are the most obvious, along with “The Number of the Beast” off the album of the same name. The guitar work in “Hallowed Be Thy Name,” especially the solo, is one of the more dominant influences from Maiden’s catalogue on Fate.

Judas Priest’s influence isn’t as obvious as Iron Maiden’s but it’s there. “Stained Class” being the main one, obviously as it’s where Iron Maiden took their influence! Some of “Sad Wings of Destiny,” “The Ripper” most importantly, which Fate also covered later in their career.

Take in mind that these comparisons are only from an instrumental perspective, vocal and lyric wise the bands are completely different.

That being said, I’m not taking anything away from this album. On the contrary, having such influences makes this album much better. Mercyful Fate took what those two bands did and made it better. This is heavier than anything Judas Priest or Iron Maiden had done at the time. Judas Priest went on to outdo Fate in both heaviness and speed later in their career but we’re only comparing them circa 1983.

That is possibly the most important thing about this release; the timing. If this was released after 1986 I doubt it would have gotten much notice. Mercyful Fate fused the talent of the NWOBHM scene with Satanic ideals to create one blasphemous output. Forgert Venom, this is ‘true’ first-wave black metal.

The album starts with their best-known song, “Evil.” We start off with a rolling lead, which goes into the most amazing riff, ever. The guitar work continues to lead the song with King’s vocals keeping the pace. I wonder how listeners back in ’83 responded to those falsettos? It was truly one of a kind back then. The effect of dropping his voice into the background for the extra-high notes was done perfectly as to not overshadow the guitar work. Near the end of the track King drops his voice down into a deep, powerful voice on a few occasions that is perfect for contrasting his extremely high falsettos.

Next we have “Curse of the Pharaohs,” which is arguably the first Egyptian themed metal song. I’d say it is but not as prominent in the style as “Egypt” was, which both influenced Metallica’s overrated “Creeping Death.” The guitar work on this track is dead on and King doesn’t use his falsetto as much as he did previously, making this track another well known one. The echo that closes the song was a nice touch as well.

“Into the Coven” starts with a nice slow guitar intro that fades into the standard Shermann/Denner riffing. This song is completely dominated by King’s vocals. The performance is powerful and demonic, just as the lyrics. The echo effects and layered vocal effects are done remarkably well for the time period. One last portion of the song is completely guitar driven and it’s an amazing solo.

We’re lead right into “At the Sound of the Demon Bell” by a very good intro by Shermann and Denner. This is another track that showcases the versatility of King’s voice; I can’t even describe all the different affects and styles he uses in this song. The guitar work on this track is some of the best on the album. This is one of my favorite Fate songs.

Next up is the short but blasphemous “Black Funeral.” This song is basically a build up to the next track, with the chorus of “All Hail Satan,” which is done in a variety of voices. The guitar work is standard and slightly repetitive. The ‘worst’ track on the album but not filler, this track is quite good especially the closing solo.

This is what we’ve been waiting for; the mighty “Satan’s Fall.” This track is an epic, blasphemous slab of satanic heavy metal, or as it’s called black metal! Not one but of this eleven-minute monster is out of place. The vocal performance, which is quite varied, the guitar work, which has a lot of leads and tempo changes, matched with the drumming, they even give him a solo piece, make for the perfect song. This is a song you have to hear for yourself.

For the closer King decided to give us a break from the thrashing given by the past thirty or so minutes of straight heavy metal. “Melissa” is seen as some as filler, an out of place track. I personally find it to be the perfect closing to the album. It’s a beautiful song and it’s great to see King use his voice to display such emotion.

This is the best album of Mercyful Fate’s career overall and my personal pick as the greatest album of all time. This is perfection. You know you have an amazing album when the worst track is better than 90% of the music out there.

If possible, hear this album in it’s vinyl version. It’s the best format for such a special release.

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Earthcubed
Peregrinus sine aetate

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2006 11:09 pm 
 

For Lurker of Chalice's self-titled debut. Will give it somewhere in between a 90 and a 97, probably.

Quote:
It’s tempting to write this project off as Leviathan Jr. ™; the moods explored and the general soundscape of the album both bear a strong resemblance to many of the songs from “The Tenth Sub Level of Suicide.” Indeed, the whole album is deeply rooted in the sort of hellishly cold depression depicted on Leviathan’s debut. However, with Lurker of Chalice’s debut album Wrest does two new and great things: he expands and enriches the TSLOS sound, giving it new life; and he explores this sound through other musical avenues outside of metal. Both of these adaptations of the “Leviathan sound” are closely intertwined.

The chief accomplishment of this album is the richness of its moods, the genuine feeling of it. It’s hardly tangible, but it’s there regardless, and it is what separates it from Leviathan’s debut and what gives it its character. This is Wrest’s Hvis Lyset Tar Oss, his outpouring of emotion. He seems to have put much more spirit into this album than he normally would, and the end result is strangely passionate.

The second of the two updates is easier to grasp and more readily apparent: whatever Wrest’s other musical projects may play, there is surprisingly little black metal on here. Hell, for that matter there is relatively few songs that are distinctly Metal with a capital M. “Piercing where they Might” is black metal, with the main riff being obviously inspired from the Thorns/Blut Aus Nord school of dissonance, “Minions” sounds like a doom band doing Xasthur, the 7th track is primarily black(ish) and other songs have a moment or two of metal; but despite this, the music is based more on ambient backdrops and rock-ish riffing. “Spectre As Valkerie Is” is an excellent example on both fronts, opening with a heavy rock riff before delving into ambient territory. The song progresses into more ambience with softer rock guitar over it (2:40) and excellent use of what I think are movie samples, which are used throughout the rest of the album with frequency.

The ambience during the album is a mix of the aforementioned samples with slow-tempo synth (usually string or choir) accompanied by drones of some sort or another, with the bass guitar occasionally stepping in to play a big role (the third track in particular). The guitar steps in to play in an ambient fashion during some songs (“Paramnesia,” the feedback screeches in “Vortex,” etc), and sometimes takes on a more atmospheric and less rockish role (the third track, “Fastened to the Five Points,” pretty much any song with short little single-note riffs).

The atmosphere created here is both familiar and unique; it brings to mind images of lying on the desert floor whilst gazing up at the stars, reminiscing of something that will never be again. It’s an overall pleasing if depressing tone that’s better suited to this style than to Leviathan’s suicidal black metal, and an end result that surpasses Leviathan and much other depressing music that’s worthy of purchase.


Paragraphs will be indented.
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OlympicSharpshooter
The Universal Magnetic

Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2003 3:24 pm
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Location: Canada
PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2006 12:54 pm 
 

Cheeses_Priced wrote:
OlympicSharpshooter wrote:
Does...not...compute...

Anyway, I just wrote this review for Green Carnation's Light of Day, Day of Darkness, but I don't think it quite works. Please, go Nazi on it. Hardcore, sheiser film style.


I guess nobody would presume to give you advice. Or else it's just too long for the short of attention span.

But I'm bored and presumptuous, so...

These weirdo avant-garde releases get a lot of effusive praise, so lay off of anything you can't back up. Like: "Green Carnation’s hour-long opus “Light of Day, Day of Darkness” is everything and nothing and often both at once" - that phrase right there is a meaningless cliche, an easy target to rewrite or kill.

"Every instrument on this record contributes to the whole and nothing for an instant feels out of place." - same deal. This could mean any number of things (are we talking about the production, or the interplay of the instruments, or...?) and could be applied to pretty much any kind of album, so back it up, find a way to say exactly what you mean, or kill it.

And there's a bit more in that vein, esp in the first couple of paragraphs, hyperbolic stuff out of a The End press release. This review's too long in general - by "too long" I mean the content-to-verbosity ratio is weak, you could just as easily make it longer and better.

"When writing a song that is over twenty minutes long, most writers tend to break up the track “2112”-style with sharp delineations between sections in order to prevent the listener from becoming bored and, from a technical standpoint, to provide an excuse to do some rather jarring transitions." - this (and what immediately follows) is quite good, I appreciate definite comparisons and nuts-and-bolts analysis of how the music works (or doesn't work, as the case may be).

On the other hand, this-happens-then-this-happens descriptions of music are pretty boring unless you're making some kind of explicit point. The paragraph starting with "Suppose you want to get from near silence to an epic outro..." starts good and then gets to dragging in the nitty-gritty of minor details.

"I tell you, this solo is the work of immortals, evangelical fire melting the frets" - of course I speak as a cynic regarding this album, but personally I could do without this. Generally, how good you think the album is isn't as important as why you think it, and we really only need to be told it's brilliant once. Otherwise you might as well just give it a numerical score and leave it at that.

"its hard not to be heap praise on a work of this scale" & "There ability of course is unquestioned" - uh, remember to turn on the Grammar Checker in Microsoft Word.

"achieving where efforts like Tales From Topographic Oceans and “Crimson” didn’t quite. " - why didn't they quite? Seems like food for thought. Understand, there's a subset of fans that will praise pretty much anything fitting this band's general profile, so it behooves you to explain what this album has going for it that another 60 minute prog song might not.

Well, so ends my nazi take, I guess. I'll readily admit that it's better than mine but I'm sure you could improve it substantially.


THANK YOU.
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OlympicSharpshooter
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2006 1:46 pm 
 

Alright, I've revised my review in light of Cheeses comments, and I do think its quite a bit better but again I'll throw it out for more comments. I didn't make every change you suggested, but I tightened up more or less the entire review. So, here's the revision.

NOTE: If you see any other grammar problems let me know, because my Word didn't pick up the ones Cheeses mentioned already and others besides.

Green Carnation - Light of Day, Day of Darkness
98%

In metal, there is a great potential for the kind of art that has in many ways left this world. As the purest child of classical composition in the world of popular music, metal has access to the both the fury and gut-level verve of rock as well as the grandeur and scope of the symphony, and because of this it is capable of achieving incredible things. While I am not so elitist as to dismiss the equally powerful magic of the perfect rock single or the almighty glory of The Riff, there is an art above and beyond, beneath and beside.

Green Carnation’s “Light of Day, Day of Darkness” is an example of metal that reaches for art, and while it is not the first or the last to do so, it is amongst the most successful in achieving this goal. The ambition here can’t be missed, the band seemingly hell bent on leaving some sort of mark on metal, as if to raise a glass to the competition and say ‘Well, here’s the vanguard, just try and out-prog THIS’. Constant subtlety-free one-upmanship has long been a hallmark of progressive rock as band after band write longer, more technical, more esoteric works in an effort to distance themselves from the pack. In the end though, they only succumb to their own clichés and wind up forgotten when the next wave rolls on over their intricate (but ultimately foundation-less) sandcastles.

What makes “Light of Day, Day of Darkness” an accomplishment that will stand the test of time is that, regardless of the nature of the band’s reason for writing an hour-long song is, no hint of such base silliness bleeds into the music. The material is dense and conceptual to the point of absurdity, but it is all executed with such purity of vision and tastefulness that instead of laughing at the art school dropout flights of fancy, one is instead drawn deeper into the heart of the mystery, sitting with chin resting on palm surrounded by glass walls and signs reading Caution: Deep Thoughts in Progress.

Every instrument on this record contributes to the whole and nothing for an instant feels out of place. With most prog acts, you’re going to get a lot of widdly show-ish instrumentation that doesn’t have a great deal to do with the overall direction of the piece. The best of the more tech-oriented prog acts have the ability to make these digressions a journey in themselves, while the lesser lights merely seek to prove their ability to shred in obtuse time signatures. LOD, DOD is hardly simple, but its complexity comes in its musical density. There are layers and layers of sound, at times dozens of tracks going at once but Green Carnation are blessed with uncommonly good composition and absolutely pristine production. The riffs in the beginning of the song are rather stock doom riffs, much more about the ominous sturm and drang and the ominous sensations than about trying to replace “Smoke on the Water”, the DNA unchanged since Black Sabbath – “Black Sabbath”, Black Sabbath. However, guitarist and composer Tchort plays them with an uncommon energy, heavy but not trudging, I believe intentionally writing simple earthy riffs to anchor music that is bordered and shaded by highly involved keys and string melodies. At other places in the song the riffs are grand and eloquent, sometimes atmospheric, never less than superb.

When writing a song that is over twenty minutes long, most writers tend to break up the track “2112”-style with sharp delineations between sections in order to prevent the listener from becoming bored and, from a technical standpoint, to provide an excuse to do some rather jarring transitions. Green Carnation has been more like a Pink Floyd in that they simply let the song be very long without breaking it up at all, but this song isn’t nearly as jammy and simplistic as Floyd’s work. They arrive at somewhat of a happy medium between the brands of progressive rock, as the song has very different feelings and sounds within it but is built in such a way that it feels like one piece. With few exceptions, I would be hard-pressed to break this up into sections because it just feels like a whole. The way they accomplish this is through an extremely canny compositional style.

Suppose you want to get from near silence to an epic outro, how do you do it without feeling forced or choppy? Basically, you must build up to that point. Around the 35 minute mark of the song, the listener is left with only a woman’s voice wailing in the darkness accompanied by some lovely, mournful saxophone from guest musician Arvid Thorsen. There are bubbling noises in the background, a few touches of synth. This sounds like creation, the earth mother crying out as the world comes into form. Slowly we are reintroduced to electric guitar, building up into a funereal doom riff with chanting vocals overtop, building to a breaking point of volume. But they don’t have the momentum to really get to the climax yet, so down we go again through a few measures of graceful acoustics and synths and builds up to a far-greater zenith in lead guitarist Bjørn’s massive solo. I tell you, this thing is the work of immortals, evangelical fire melting the frets as he channels divine inspiration. As with many of the most powerful riffs on the album, the solo is marked by a career spent honing the techniques of black metal, but is played in the bombastic style of a John Petrucci or a Kirk Hammett. Thus, you often hear tremolo-picked riffs and other staples of the genre in a new way and with a more obvious passion than ever before.

As amazing as the solo itself is, it wouldn’t have had the impact without that languorous three-minute build-up from the quiet section, which itself was five to seven minutes. The amazing ride utilized the tension that had accumulated after such a long time away from the heavier side of the palette, and the lack of other solo spots in the song made it a truly explosive climax, later matched only by the closing fanfares. Perhaps an even stronger indication of how good the composition is that the song wastes no time following it up, again hauling the audience along through more glorious riffage and a vocal section that reminds me of something from the Pain of Salvation catalogue.

The vocals are handled by Kjetil Nordhus who turns in perhaps the most uneven performance, although that says little considering how good everything in general is. The song’s main recurring riff is a simple and repetitive one carried by the driving rhythm section, and the band was obviously looking for a mechanical resonance to his vocals which, while not a bad decision overall is one that leads to vocal melodies that are considerably less interesting than I was caterwauling when I was reading the lyrics along with the song before I’d become more than passingly familiar with it. At other places in the song he demonstrates a passionate, confident voice and he has the ability to imbue admirable character into it, and so during these repetitive sections his phrasing seems unnatural and cold. In spite of this, Nordhus does an admirable job of bringing life to what otherwise might have sounded like aimless navel-gazing masquerading as poetic contemplation. Which, considering how obscure the lyrics are, might still be true but if it is so additional kudos must go to Nordhus for so skilfully hiding this from me.

I have to say, I remain surprised that Green Carnation managed to execute this project so perfectly. Their ability of course is unquestioned, Tchort in particular being quite the black metal man about town including stints with Emperor and Satyricon, but even his name-appeal could only have reached a limited audience. How then did Green Carnation manage to command such lush production and such lavish sound? Being on a major (for metal) label helps of course, but this thing… sound-wise, it is perfect. Puts most major (for general music) label music to shame in fact.

However, nit-picking at every individual facet of “Light of Day, Day of Darkness” will bring me no closer to why it is great. It is in the whole that greatness and art emerges, how all of the individual components come together to create a progressive watershed, the benchmark within the subset of the almost quixotically epic, achieving where efforts like Tales From Topographic Oceans and “Crimson” didn’t quite. A song of this length has to earn the time you put into it, and it has to be more than a mere collection of riffs like, for example, “Crimson” is. After all, if you can accomplish the same thing with eight short songs that you can with one long one then the only reason to make a long song is to prove how ‘progressive’ you are in the most puerile sense of that word. This is an hour-long song that has more cohesion than songs a sixth its length, a song that is full and whole enough to withstand concentrated listening and yet is diaphanous enough to be a perfect ambient music. Why it is and how it is what it is are almost irrelevant compared to what it is:

Brilliant.
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Life_Sucks
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2006 2:50 pm 
 

I don't know if this is the right thread, but I resubmitted a review that was rejected, and then it got accepted, but listed as a review for the wrong CD. My review for Mourning Beloveth - The Sullen Sulcus was initially rejected for being unstructured, then I edited and resubmitted it, and now it is listed as a review for A Murderous Circus, the latest Mourning Beloveth CD. Can the review be switched to the correct CD, or do I have to submit it yet again?
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OlympicSharpshooter
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2006 2:52 pm 
 

So, it was accepted for the wrong CD? If so, just resubmit it and I'll accept it when I do another sweep of the queue in half an hour or so and delete the wrong one..
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Life_Sucks
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2006 3:04 pm 
 

OlympicSharpshooter wrote:
So, it was accepted for the wrong CD? If so, just resubmit it and I'll accept it when I do another sweep of the queue in half an hour or so and delete the wrong one..

Ok, it's for Mourning Beloveth - THE SULLEN SULCUS and not A Murderous Circus. I just resubmitted it.
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Chris_Zewe
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Mon May 02, 2005 3:32 pm
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2006 10:56 pm 
 

How is this coming?

For Opera IX - Maleventum (intro shit not done yet)

1. Maleventum (5:56): Opera IX's '02 masterpiece kicks things off with its self-titled track, Maleventum, and sets the stage for the rest of the album with it. Beginning strong with some typically excellent guitarwork, the first track starts with a very brief instrumental prelude before moving onto Madras's vocals, which, contrary to popular belief, are quite grim, albeit a bit quiet. The first bit of screeching is relatively quiet and a bit incoherent, but this is quickly remedied as the incredible keyboard work that we've come to expect from Opera picks up and Madras grows louder and, surprisingly coherent while still growling quite well. The (tamed down a bit, but much more intelligent now) pagan lyrics continue on without stopping, complemented amazingly with some of the best keyboard riffs I've ever heard, and then around 3:50, there begins an incredible chant of the song's title by Dalamar (excellent drumming here), which is picked up about 15 seconds later by M and continues until around 4:25 before the body of the song resumes melodically until an unintelligibly growled chant is emitted to end the song.

2. Princess Of The Ancient (7:50): Maleventum comes to a complete stop, and after a moment of silence, the second track comes in with the bass, then guitar, then drums with Lunaris's keyboard to top it off, playing in a hypnotically melodic style which sounds more than a little Arabian. Soon enough, Madras joins in, somehow making assymetric lines of lyrics seem metered, like a perfectly written poem. After the brief vocal intro, Dalamar belts out a clean line, with the Arabian melody gradually changing, the drums and keyboard speeding up with the guitars slowing down slightly, until it sounds like a much grimmer version of any given composition by Rachmaninoff. Around 2 minutes into the song, M begins to chant "Burn, fire, burn, bright", gradually getting faster and faster until the words almost blend together, and then, in a manner that would do the new Cryptopsy (stfu. They still own you) proud, everything...stops. Seconds of silence later, Madras lets out a deep, low growl that chills the blood, as the Russian melody picks up again as the growl goes on for nearly 30 seconds before the song changes dramatically. After M resumes screeching the lyrics, the instrumentals become eerily funereal, but in a fast way. Dalamar and M begin to shout, beseeching the gods for clarity of thought, while instrumentals take the backseat to this purely vocal part, until the funereal tone comes back with a more or less abscence of vocals. After some time of this, there's some truly amazing drum and bass work as the vocals resume, and this continues to switch back and forth with the previous bits of instrumental work as M growls the rest of the song up until the end, which is preceded by an incredible drum solo before M and Dalamar finish the song off with the chant "Hoor Apep The depth's dragon will rise, now." Fade to end, track 3.

3. In The Dark I Found the Reflection of the Hidden Mirrors (5:31): As with Princess Of The Ancient, In The Dark begins with some awe-inspiring basswork, but quickly moves into some equally godlike keyboarding, and with the keyboard comes a haunting bell-like ringing that manifests itself throughout the song. Madris joins in early, but unfortunately, he seems to have forgotten how to growl at an audible decibel level for this track, and he remains relatively incoherent for the entire song. It's really sad, because Ossian and Vlad do an absolutely incredible job of complementing each other with low, wailing guitars for the track's entirety, and the lyrics are truly inspired. You just can't hear them very well. Aside from M's unfortunate bit of Hellhammeritis, though, In The Dark is an excellent song in every respect. It's darkly melodic in the best way, Lunaris plays better than I've ever heard, and the drum speed picks up at times to something you would expect in a death metal song. After the track begins in a manner that can only be described as "grimly upbeat," things gradually get darker and more sinister-sounding, matching the lyrics in a surprisingly good fashion. As the song nears its end, M continues to try to scream with a hoarse voice, and the incredible riffs from the beginning all come back to end the song, but in a much faster way.

4. Unearthed Arcana (10:20): This behemoth of a song (yes, I know that 10:20 does not constitute a behemoth of a song...I just really wanted to use the word) begins with somewhat muted thunder and rain, speedily approaching, it seems, up until 59 seconds in, when a clap of thunder marks the end of the ambience and the listener is greeted with a frightening bit of distorted guitarwork with the Vlad's bass booming in the background in tandem with the continuing thunder. I don't think the vocalist for this track is Madras, but they're still quite good. The voice sounds hoarse as it utters the vocals, but it's heard loud and clear, and capable of screaming for a reasonable amount of time. The first seven minutes or so of the track are comprised of the same three guitar riffs repeated over and over, with the keyboard matching the tone the lyrics set. Around the seven minute mark, things get considerably faster as Madras comes in after a particularly well-done guitar/drum solo...which isn't really a solo, but yeah. The song changes rapidly here as all the instrumentals change markedly and constantly, blasting the fuck out of the listener's ear with deafeningly amazing riff after deafeningly amazing riff. With about two minutes left in the track, the song sinks into the same beat that it began with until 9:10 or so, where everything stops but the keyboard in the background to allow Madras to speak out, clearly, a brilliant soliloquy on art, after which all sound stops and the track ends.

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Visionary
Veteran

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2006 11:19 pm 
 

The problem with that review is that it is a track by track review without any sort of conclusion or introduction, just straight paragraphs for each track. That is more of a description of the album rather than a review. Every now and then you throw in an adjective such as 'awe-inspiring' to give the reader a clue whether you enjoyed the album or not. I would like to see more about your thoughts on the album and track by track reviews are generally frowned upon.
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Chris_Zewe
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Mon May 02, 2005 3:32 pm
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2006 11:34 pm 
 

o.O I was under the impression that track-by-track was the only way to get 10 points, and was the preferred style for reviews. At least I find them to be the most helpful >_<

And yeah, I usually write my intros/conclusions last...
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MaleficDevilry
Anointer of the Sick

Joined: Wed Feb 01, 2006 2:23 am
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Location: United States
PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2006 11:48 pm 
 

Chris_Zewe wrote:
o.O I was under the impression that track-by-track was the only way to get 10 points, and was the preferred style for reviews. At least I find them to be the most helpful >_<

And yeah, I usually write my intros/conclusions last...


8 points is rarely given out anymore as far as I am aware. I got a few on my old name before I switched but that was a while ago.

Track by track doesn't gurantee it, most of the excellent reviews on here are not track by track.

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SculptedCold
Metal newbie

Joined: Sat Oct 04, 2003 11:26 am
Posts: 141
Location: United States of America
PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2006 12:01 am 
 

I will never understand why so many people on this site are so obsessed with the professionalism of their reviews. It is as if you people are more concerned with swaggering verbosely, trying to sell yourself as journalists to some invisible audience, and patting each other on the back in the process, rather than the music you're meant to be illuminating to general metal listeners. This place isn't exactly meant to be an academic journal!

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Nightgaunt
I'll Swallow Your Soul

Joined: Sat Mar 06, 2004 9:50 pm
Posts: 6240
PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2006 12:22 am 
 

That's true, sort of. But you're wrong if you think the that the presence of reviews here has a specific, unified purpose. The internet doesn't need this site to be a bastion for 217 reviews of 'Master of Puppets" all scoring in the ranges of either 0%-15% or the more common range of 95%-100%. Yes, we are a source of reference, but we are not a promotion firm or sales index. Some of the users write for the reason that you've described; some do it as a hobby, some pretty clearly do it primarily to get attention, some do it as an outlet for passion, and still others do it for any number of other reasons.

Listen. To keep this short, I'm just going to say fuck the "general metal listener" if s/he needs everything prechewed and regurgitated for his/her ease of consumption. If you want to discuss the matter, you certainly can, but make another thread about it. This is not the place.
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SculptedCold
Metal newbie

Joined: Sat Oct 04, 2003 11:26 am
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2006 1:24 am 
 

No point making a different thread; my reply amounts to 'I see your point! And tis a good one. I stand educated, thanks.'

.

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OlympicSharpshooter
The Universal Magnetic

Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2003 3:24 pm
Posts: 1991
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2006 9:00 am 
 

MaleficDevilry wrote:
Chris_Zewe wrote:
o.O I was under the impression that track-by-track was the only way to get 10 points, and was the preferred style for reviews. At least I find them to be the most helpful >_<

And yeah, I usually write my intros/conclusions last...


8 points is rarely given out anymore as far as I am aware. I got a few on my old name before I switched but that was a while ago.

Track by track doesn't gurantee it, most of the excellent reviews on here are not track by track.


Eight is the max, and I give it out when I feel its justified. Three or four of Aeturnus' reviews have, for example, recently scored that grade.

And a track by track had better be friggin' good if you want 8 points for it.
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Earthcubed
Peregrinus sine aetate

Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 3:44 am
Posts: 2442
Location: Orocarni
PostPosted: Fri Feb 10, 2006 10:22 pm 
 

Earthcubed wrote:
For Lurker of Chalice's self-titled debut. Will give it somewhere in between a 90 and a 97, probably.

Quote:
It’s tempting to write this project off as Leviathan Jr. ™; the moods explored and the general soundscape of the album both bear a strong resemblance to many of the songs from “The Tenth Sub Level of Suicide.” Indeed, the whole album is deeply rooted in the sort of hellishly cold depression depicted on Leviathan’s debut. However, with Lurker of Chalice’s debut album Wrest does two new and great things: he expands and enriches the TSLOS sound, giving it new life; and he explores this sound through other musical avenues outside of metal. Both of these adaptations of the “Leviathan sound” are closely intertwined.

The chief accomplishment of this album is the richness of its moods, the genuine feeling of it. It’s hardly tangible, but it’s there regardless, and it is what separates it from Leviathan’s debut and what gives it its character. This is Wrest’s Hvis Lyset Tar Oss, his outpouring of emotion. He seems to have put much more spirit into this album than he normally would, and the end result is strangely passionate.

The second of the two updates is easier to grasp and more readily apparent: whatever Wrest’s other musical projects may play, there is surprisingly little black metal on here. Hell, for that matter there is relatively few songs that are distinctly Metal with a capital M. “Piercing where they Might” is black metal, with the main riff being obviously inspired from the Thorns/Blut Aus Nord school of dissonance, “Minions” sounds like a doom band doing Xasthur, the 7th track is primarily black(ish) and other songs have a moment or two of metal; but despite this, the music is based more on ambient backdrops and rock-ish riffing. “Spectre As Valkerie Is” is an excellent example on both fronts, opening with a heavy rock riff before delving into ambient territory. The song progresses into more ambience with softer rock guitar over it (2:40) and excellent use of what I think are movie samples, which are used throughout the rest of the album with frequency.

The ambience during the album is a mix of the aforementioned samples with slow-tempo synth (usually string or choir) accompanied by drones of some sort or another, with the bass guitar occasionally stepping in to play a big role (the third track in particular). The guitar steps in to play in an ambient fashion during some songs (“Paramnesia,” the feedback screeches in “Vortex,” etc), and sometimes takes on a more atmospheric and less rockish role (the third track, “Fastened to the Five Points,” pretty much any song with short little single-note riffs).

The atmosphere created here is both familiar and unique; it brings to mind images of lying on the desert floor whilst gazing up at the stars, reminiscing of something that will never be again. It’s an overall pleasing if depressing tone that’s better suited to this style than to Leviathan’s suicidal black metal, and an end result that surpasses Leviathan and much other depressing music that’s worthy of purchase.


Paragraphs will be indented.
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Nightgaunt
I'll Swallow Your Soul

Joined: Sat Mar 06, 2004 9:50 pm
Posts: 6240
PostPosted: Fri Feb 10, 2006 10:48 pm 
 

The descriptive content is well-done, but your angle that LoC is like a development or reworking of the Leviathan sound could use a little bit of clarification. Even though it was only released recently, a lot of the LoC material actually predates the Tenth Sublevel of Suicide album.

You might also want to be a bit more specific as to what you mean by "drones." I've heard the album, so I know exactly what you're refering to, but someone who hasn't might be a bit baffled.

Oh, and you need to switch one "is" for an "are"--"...there are relatively few songs that are distinctly metal."
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Earthcubed
Peregrinus sine aetate

Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 3:44 am
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 10, 2006 11:31 pm 
 

Thank you. Will do sometime tomorrow.
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Bloodstone
Metalhead

Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 11:48 am
Posts: 424
Location: Sweden
PostPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2006 8:33 pm 
 

Let's try this...this here is an unfinished version, but I thought someone might take a look at it while I finish up the last bit of it (actually I'm going to bed right now, but gimme a break will ya).


Helloween - Rabbit Don't Come Easy
77%

Expectedly a step down

This album just cannot measure up to the previous one, which can be blamed on exactly TWO things:

1. Axeman Roland Grapow and drummer Uli Kusch departuring. Their contributions as both musicians and songwriters had been totally invaluable to Helloween, in their and vocalist Andi Deris's (being pretty much their main songwriter ever since he joined) amazing accomplishment of building a worthy legacy of their own that didn't stray all too far from the band's original ideals and concepts, following such a colossal loss in guitarist Kai Hansen leaving, one that would've instantly reduced almost any other band, with a member of such importance and key role, to elephant excrement, never to rise again. Imagine perhaps not something as absurd as Maiden surviving the loss of Steve Harris, but more along the lines of a good Slayer without Jeff Hanneman (well right now they're not good WITH him either, so maybe it wasn't the best of examples after all) and you get the picture. Additionally, not only are Roland and Uli stellar musicians on their own (or there would not be a problem, I mean for fucking HELLOWEEN, they can get pretty much anyone they want, right?), they were both also integral parts of the sound and <i>chemistry</i> of 1994-and-forward resurrection-era Helloween as a band and such individuals are always hard for ANY band to replace, because no matter the talent (in playing as well as in writing songs) of whoever comes replacing, there is always a high risk of losing identity, spirit and a certain undeterminable <i>magic</i> of a successful previous line-up. And that is exactly what has happened here, again. This is almost like the second coming of 'Pink Bubbles Go Ape' in that regard, the band's first full-length album not featuring Kai Hansen, widely considered their first "flop".

2. The very reason for #1: musical differences within the band. Uli and Roland wanting to stick with the darker themes begun on 'The Dark Ride' (really not that much of a change to these ears aside from production and guitar tone, see my review for it) and Weiki (Michael Weikath) thinking of that album as merely an experiment and wanting to go back to happy happy Helloween as quickly as possible afterwards. So now, due to being the original member of the three, Weiki gets to stay and hell bent as he is on making a "happy" record, as if 'The Dark Ride' was an abominable shitpile and worst thing to happen to them since 'Chameleon', there are unfortunately several instances of a "happiness first, songwriting second" thought behind this whole thing. Weiki's tunes are clearly the happiest/goofiest, but you can certainly tell he's had quite an influence on the whole band's general direction here.

Oh there's good stuff on here too ("Ignorant and wasted, that's what you are, but you could be so much moooore!!"), y'all be so sure of that, but clearly the consistency here is lacking compared to three years ago - in fact, this is their least consistent effort since 1994's 'Master of the Rings'. As indicated by the title, some of this feels a little overly non-serious and, in a word, dumb. Well, in all fairness, perhaps not quite to a recent-Edguy extent ("Lavatory Love Machine" and "Trinidad" respectively), but the general idea of trading away actual songwriting power for, well, "humor" is definitely there, leaving an overall unsatisfying feel of the album as whole. Especially when it's not ACTUALLY funny - the only exception to this would be the by now infamous "something's growing in my pants..." line in the song "Just a Little Sign", but even so, it does little to save such a mediocre and overall disappointing album opener. Not even that nifty and totally headbangable little speed metal riff just before the first verse.

But perhaps worst of all is the for Helloween surprisingly <i>generic</i> feel of a large portion of the songs here - no, not just the soulless and overpolished production lacking Roy Z's magic touch on 'The Dark Ride', I mean also the songwriting and overall style. "Just a Little Sign", "The Tune" and "Sun 4 the World" all have a euro-trash generic sorta feel to them (see Snxke's review), complete with boring double-bass and bland, Freedom Call-styled flower metal choruses - just listen the line "make believe the world is mine" in the chorus of the first song where vocalist Andi Deris TOTALLY emulates that annoying Chris Bay trademark sweetness, that, quoted from OlympicSharpshooter's (excellent) review for 'Crystal Empire', "makes every note sound extremely easy as if no effort is being put into it." What a fucking waste, I mean!

And who the FUCK let that goddamn attention whore of a Swede behind the drumkit, anyway? For sure, the guy has talent, and does an excellent job playing in Motörhead, but has absolutely no place in a speed/power metal band like Helloween. Despite of that, I read in an interview, he was given absolutely full control of HOW to drum on the album, without anyone telling him when to keep his playing restrained so that he doesn't just go nuts just because he can. This results in some of the most annoying and least tasteful fills I've ever heard on a major label production - witness "The Tune" for the worst offence (prechorus: "Love and *THUNKTHUNKTHUNKTHUNK* desire *THUNKTHUNKTHUNKTHUNK* Dry ice *THUNKTHUNKTHUNKTHUNK* or fire *THUNKTHUNK-THUNKTHUNKTHUNK*), there is little to no sense of good flow and coherence here. As Boris similarly complains, it is highly likely that he was also put in charge of how loud to turn his instrument up in the mix - fuck, this isn't a Helloween album, this is in reality Mikkey Dee's very own drum solo album!! As I said, this is a very "goofy, stupid and fun" sort of album and hiring this guy seems almost like a big joke in itself.

*insert parapgraph where I explain how the album still manages to redeem itself

*insert short "final words" sorta paragraph*



Go nazi, fire at will, etc.
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