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Rules & Guidelines

Last modified on May 30th, 2014

Most of these rules are fairly obvious, but they are all very important. Not following the rules may result in a simple rejection of your submission. Please take the time to read them all at least once! It's not that long, and it will save you a lot of time than if you just ignore them and take the time to fill out a submission that will only get rejected!

TROLLS BE WARNED: Depending on the gravity of your offense, repeating your infractions might go from making you lose all your points to get your account banned from the site!
We have little tolerance for abuse and bullshit. Our system is not a kid's playground. Behave decently and intelligently or suffer the consequences. Constantly abuse our system and we might even report you to your ISP.

That said, you will find that all of those rules are simply common sense, and most people have no trouble following them.

Is your submitted band really metal?

Short version

All bands submitted to this site must be metal bands. And you have to prove to us that it's really metal.

The site owners have a strict definition of what metal is. This site will only accept bands that they deem to be "metal enough", AND you must provide compelling evidence that the band you submit is indeed metal (this usually means sound samples). Disagreements about "metalness" will inevitably occur, but it's up to the site staff to draw the line. You are free to have a different opinion, but if you want your band submission to be accepted, read on.

Detailed version

As simple as the "must be a metal band" rule may seem, it involves a huge debate. None of us here think we're a supreme authority on all things heavy metal. However, as an encyclopedia of heavy metal, this site must draw a line somewhere. If we accepted just about anything, it wouldn't make sense; we would no longer be a "metal" archive. Because of this reality, the moderating staff decide, based on these guidelines set by the owners, on whether or not your submission is validly metal. This is perhaps the most important point (other than the point about truthful information), because knowing our rules on what is acceptable could save some people a lot of time that they would spend submitting a band that would simply get rejected. For a band to be considered metal by the site, it must adhere to the following:

First and foremost, for a band to be metal, it must have metal riffs. This point should be fairly straight-forward and obvious. Nevertheless, when it comes to some genres or styles, it's not always implied that the music is rooted in metal or is substantively comprised of metal riffs. For example, grindcore can either be rooted in punk (ex. Anal Cunt) or in death metal (ex. Nasum, Pig Destroyer, Agathocles); metalcore rooted in hardcore/-core (ex. Atreyu) or in metal (ex. The Red Chord); and so on. Such music can be borderline, but still be acceptable. Some bands have mostly chugging, fuzz, or noodling, with minor metal influences; this does not make these bands metal. The metal elements must outweigh the non-metal ones.

Second, for the lesser-known bands, we need compelling evidence that the band is metal. We won't just take your word for it, sorry. The best evidence is, of course, in the form of audio samples. Most bands have a Myspace or Bandcamp with such samples nowadays. But for older, obscure bands (the kind of thrash band that released one demo in 1986 and disbanded, for example), if no sound samples are available, a scan from a metalzine review describing the band's sound as unambiguously metal can be acceptable, but those cases are exceptional and the moderation can exercise full discretion.

Third, for a band to be acceptable, it must have at least one fully, unambiguously metal album. This means that Def Leppard can be accepted because of their NWOBHM debut, even if they turned to pop rock later. This also means that DevilDriver and Soulfly, which started as mallcore, were (reluctantly) deemed acceptable after finally releasing some metal albums. This does not mean that we'll accept Sum 41 because of their one heavy song "The Bitter End". Bands with a long discography of non-metal music and one short metal demo/split/single will not be accepted. Additionally, bands with a few metal songs scattered across an otherwise generally non-metal discography are not acceptable either.

We accept the following non-metal bands in certain cases (these exceptions can be ambiguous and debatable - scroll down for details):

  • Side-projects of notable metal band members (ex. Pain, Wongraven, Die Verbannten Kinder Eva's). We prefer side-projects to be on a label with worldwide distribution and have a full-length release, but do not require it (this is to avoid a flood of bedroom/MySpace bands).
  • Non-metal projects included arbitrarily as they are seen by the staff to belong as a part of the metal scene. Their inclusion is rare, exceptional, and discretionary of the staff.
  • Bands that are no longer metal, but are/were still generally recognized as metal bands at some point (ex: Ulver, Katatonia, Def Leppard)
We do NOT accept the following (this is our decision, please don't argue this):
  • Mallcore, also known as "nu-metal" by some (ex: Papa Roach, Limp Bizkit, Drowning Pool, Slipknot)
  • Metalcore and Deathcore, unless it's clearly more metal than core (e.g. Shadows Fall, The Red Chord, All Shall Perish are OK: Avenged Sevenfold, Atreyu, Bullet For My Valentine, Between the Buried and Me, Suicide Silence are NOT). If you are uncertain, best avoid metalcore bands altogether.
  • Glam rock (ex: Poison, Whitesnake, KISS)
  • Classic rock (ex: Led Zeppelin, Uriah Heep)
  • Progressive rock (ex: Yes, King Crimson, The Flower Kings, Spock's Beard)
  • Psychedelic rock, Occult rock (ex: Graveyard, Ancient VVisdom, The Devil's Blood)
  • Hard rock (ex: Guns 'N Roses, AC/DC, Alice Cooper)
  • Hardcore (ex: Hatebreed, Earth Crisis, Converge, Black Flag, Minor Threat)
  • Grindcore (and all its variants; noise, crust, powerviolence, gore, etc) with little to zero metal riffs or influence (ex: Anal Cunt, Libido Airbag, Last Days of Humanity)
  • Punk (ex: The Misfits, The Ramones, The Sex Pistols)
  • Gothic rock (ex: Bauhaus, Sisters of Mercy, Fields of Nephilim)
  • Industrial (ex: Nine Inch Nails, Rammstein, KMFDM, N17)
  • Alternative/modern hard rock (ex: Evanescence, Audioslave, Tool, Godsmack, HIM)
  • J-Rock, Visual Kei Rock, Touhou (ex: Malice Mizer, Dir En Grey, MyonMyon, Matenrou Opera)
  • Djent (ex: Animals as Leaders, Periphery, TesseracT)
  • Ambient, Drone, Noise (ex: In Slaughter Natives, Liholesie, Merzbow)
  • Post-rock, Post-punk, Post-hardcore (ex: Killing Joke, Shinedown, Rosetta)
  • Cover/tribute/gimmick bands (ex: The Iron Maidens, Catch the Rainbow) of contemporary artists (metal versions of traditional folk songs can be OK), unless they start as such and eventually write their own music

Long-ass, rambling, read-before-complaining-only version

Now... let us elaborate on certain things which are apparently controversial, ambiguous or unclear to some members.

  • Mötley Crüe, Deep Purple, Rainbow, Scorpions and Rush (among a few examples) are not considered metal by some. Understandable, as their music and heaviness varied and was debatable at times. But what they sometimes lacked in "metalness", they made for in historical importance, and they are there to stay. That doesn't mean we're going to accept any glam or hippie rock bands though, and they are about as "borderline" as we are going to have.
    They are exceptions. You might not agree. Tough shit.
  • Side-projects are a big debate. When does a band stop being one and starts being a full-time band? What's the difference between a solo career and a side-project, etc. Now, a side-project is a band started in parallel to another band. This is not the same thing as a band member leaving a band and forming a new one, or to join another band! For example, Soulfly is no more a side-project of Max Cavalera as Voivod is a side-project of Jason Newsted.
    One might argue that a band can start as such but can stop being one if the main band splits-up. Or that while it's reasonable to have Wongraven or Chaostar, that a country band started by a Flotsam & Jetsam member would simply look out of place on a metal site. Our answer is that we have no choice but to go with a case by case approach. It might be a little arbitrary, but it's hard to define a rule that will apply for every case of a non-metal side-project. Yes, that might mean you'll have to ask us before submitting this guy's side-project. Usually there shouldn't be any problem, but if the side-project really has nothing to do with the heavy metal scene and/or would really look out of place here, chances are, it won't be accepted.
  • Additionally, there will be some non-metal bands featured on the site that we feel are still part of the metal scene despite not being metal themselves (usually darkwave, ambient, neo-classical and/or folk bands, examples being Mortiis, Elend, Autumn Tears, Stille Volk, etc). These bands are selected by the moderators in an admittedly arbitrary fashion, and their submission by normal users is discouraged. Please bear with us on this.

Be careful if you submit a band with an ambiguous genre!
We've sometimes seen some bands listed as a genre that would seem fitting, but upon hearing the actual band we've had some pretty bad surprises... So consider the following genres to be "ambiguous", in the sense that if we see a band with one of these terms in their genre field, we WILL be wary:

  • Heavy/traditional/80's metal, hard rock, rock or a combination of these. Many of so-called "heavy metal" band submissions ended up being rock, glam or even mallcore bands!
  • NWOBHM - a lot of 80's UK rock and AOR bands got lumped into the NWOBHM category, even if they weren't metal
  • Melodic metal - often another term for "hard rock"
  • Grindcore - Death/grind = OK. Noisegrind, crustcore, jazz/grind, heavy punk/hardcore, etc. = Not OK.
  • Metalcore - Be VERY wary. Most of these get rejected, simply because they're hardcore with some metal influences. That doesn't make a band metal!
  • Progressive/avant-garde - Could mean anything, really Also, there is a difference between prog rock and prog METAL. We've even had near-mallcore bands listed as such.
  • Gothic metal - some people confuse goth music, darkwave or Depeche Mode soundalikes, or Evanescence-like rock with gothic metal, for some reason (having a female vocalist does not mean you're gothic!).
  • Crossover - can have the same problem as metalcore, although they generally aren't rejected as often.
  • Stoner, sludge - same as progressive. There is stoner rock and there is stoner metal. There is sludge metal and there is post-hardcore. They are sometimes similar, but one is acceptable and the other isn't.
  • Industrial metal - if it sounds like Rammstein or Nine Inch Nails, forget it.
  • Dark metal - could mean anything...
  • Shred/djent - varies from metal to borderline hard rock to jazzy rock to mindless noodling.
  • Ambient/depressive black metal - Some vague fuzz with shrieking does not equal black metal. Also applies to ambient droning noise with BM-type shrieking.
  • Groove metal - this is often an euphemism for mallcore (aka "nu-metal") or alternative rock. Pantera might be metal for the most part, but if their imitators just play tough-guy "jumpdafuckup" chugging, it's not going to fly.
  • Avant-garde/Experimental - usually refers to bands with a myriad of different influences, some of it metal, but rarely refers to bands that are predominantly metal.
Note that these are not automatic rejections - they just make the moderators wary :) Just don't be TOO surprised if your favourite grind/metalcore industrial crossover dark metal band gets rejected. Especially if we cannot find information or samples.
Mistakes happen, even with the mods. But note that if you persist in breaking the rules, you might lose points. Depending on the moderator on duty, the amount may vary.

Hopefully this is clear enough! If you have any questions, you can ask the moderators on the message board, but some of us are sick of repeating ourself, so don't take it personally if we don't answer your "Why do you say nu-metal isn't metal?!" or whatever. Keep in mind that the rules of what is accepted or not were ultimately decided by HellBlazer (the mastermind of the Encyclopaedia) and "put on paper" (or rather, screen?) by Morrigan (the co-webmaster). The moderators have given counsel and suggestions but they merely enforce the rules - some of them don't agree with them 100%, but they will do their job! However, they are only humans, and they all have slightly different opinions.

Nobody asks you to completely agree with us. A lot of these decisions could be debated for hours (time that few of us have). Definitions aren't always set in stone, and this is just a website to allow people to lookup information - no need throw a fit because a band you wanted there didn't make it... :) Please understand that we try our best to not have double-standards, but what may seem like an inconsistency to you would make perfect sense to another and so on. We cannot please everyone.

Summary

Generally, for a band to be accepted into the encyclopedia it must have released at least one fully, unambiguously heavy metal album. This album, as with every other album listed in the band's discography, must be a VALID release.

We consider an album valid if it is complete, official and has been released and distributed. This may not always be the case, so allow us to explain and break down what we mean by each of these requirements.

Complete albums only

This should be a no-brainer; for a band's material to be valid that material must be presented as a finished album. If the band does not even have a physical demo or a digital full-length album, just forget about submitting it. The band might have a logo, and it may be playing live gigs or rehearsing in someone's garage, but how would we know that it won't just disband before even recording anything? An mp3 or two on MySpace or the likes is not enough. A physical demo or a digital full-length, with proof of its existence, is the minimum for a band to be accepted.

Likewise, we DO NOT consider unfinished/unreleased recordings, samplers or label-only promotional albums to be valid in any context. If an album is not in its final complete form, do not add it to the band's discography! When adding an album and its other versions, make sure you have all the necessary information and especially its format and all the tracks, or else just don't bother. Song lengths and other fields are optional, but try to be consistent; if you want to include the song lengths, do so for every song on the album. Do NOT add an album with a bunch of nameless tracks (unless, of course, the tracks are actually unnamed, in which case, write "-" sans quotes)! If you cannot meet these basic requirements, just wait until the information is available. Do not fill in any gaps with guesswork or dummy entries. This also goes for split releases where you don't know the songs of all participating bands, merely adding one band's side is not acceptable. Remember, we aim for complete album information! If you cannot find the required information for the album, please just make a note of the album in the band's "additional notes" field.

Official albums only

We require that all albums added to a band's discography are official, sanctioned or authorized albums. Such albums must have been authorized or made official by the band (or its label) to be considered valid. We DO NOT accept bootleg albums, fan-made recordings, unofficial box sets/greatest hits/best of albums, or "various artist" compilations (with 7 or more bands) as valid, official albums. Only those albums recognized by the band (or its label) as a part of a band's discography are acceptable. Keep in mind that while we do not accept unofficial albums in a band's discography, we do accept unofficial and disputed versions (re-releases, remasters, etc.) of official valid albums. This is not to support bootleg versions of valid albums in any way, but rather to warn the public of their existence so that they do not mistakenly buy an illegitimate copy.

That said, it is wise to be cognizant of the fact that what is an "official" album may differ from what a band considers it (or would like it) to be. It is not uncommon for bands to seek to whitewash or revise their band's history. For example, an album that was originally released by the band, but later redacted from the band's recognized discography is still an official album. A band or its label may also choose to legitimize an album that was previously unofficial; that album is now official. With whatever cases come up, we do require that you supply us with evidence and sources to prove the validity of the album in question. If you are ever unsure or in doubt about this, contact a mod to provide guidance and assistance (or you can try posting here and ask the staff/other users for input). We realize that what is "official" and what is "unofficial" may not always be straight-forward and easily understood. As a rule of thumb, however, it is generally better to err on the side of caution if you can't be reasonably sure about a release's legitimacy.

Released and distributed albums only

Albums must have been publicly released and distributed to be considered valid. The only exception to this requirement is for bands already on the site with upcoming albums; we will allow those to be added if the information on them (exact release date, tracklisting and cover art) is complete and verified by an official source (the band or its label). Otherwise, all other albums listed in a band's discography must have been already released and distributed in some manner.

For a band to be acceptable, it must have already released and distributed a metal album. An upcoming release is not acceptable: wait until the actual release date before submitting the band. We used to accept such bands, until we realized many of them were all talk and never even released the demo for real. So we're very strict on this. Expect any band whose sole album is upcoming to be insta-rejected by the first moderator who sees it in the queue.

A valid physical release is always preferred, and you must provide evidence of the availability of this physical format. This means a CD, LP, or even a tape. Photographs of the physical release(s), such as this or this example, will go a long way into having your submission accepted (whereas blank-looking CD-Rs hand-written in black marker will not). We also require evidence of legitimate distribution. Unprofessional BS such as "Promo Tape limited to 5 copies", "Promo CD-R limited to 10 copies", etc., are not going to fly. We actually prefer serious digital releases (see below "Valid Digital Releases") over garage/bedroom amateurism.

It would be best if there is mention of the band anywhere on the Web, even if it's just a demo review. Otherwise, it could be a joke/fake band and we have no way of knowing.

If the band is not mentioned anywhere on the Web, or if you cannot prove that they have a physical release by using Web links alone, the best ways to prove that they have a physical release is by making a scan or photography of:

  • Some of their releases
  • Mailorder lists / Flyers
  • Magazine / Zine reviews

There are numerous sites that you can easily use to host your pictures and scans. Imgur is a good one. Please avoid uploading these images to the "logo" or "photo" fields; just link them in the submission notes.

Valid Digital Releases?
While physical releases are preferred, digital distribution is now more than common and predominant, and as of 2013, we are now also accepting digital-only releases -- with some caveats. Here are criteria for a band's digital release to be accepted:

  • Official Distribution: The album must be available through an official and/or permanent (as "permanent" as Internet sites go, anyway) channel. This means sending us a link to a Mediafire-hosted .rar file is not good enough (could be faked too easily). Even if you post a direct link to an instant hoster with a perfectly valid album in the submission notes, we still need to see how the release is available to the public and not just to whoever staffer may happen to review your submission. Distribution, as opposed to mere existence, is a fundamental part of our definition of a valid release. You must show us where this album is hosted (such as a band's official site, a serious digital distributor, etc.). Note, this does not mean free albums are excluded.
  • Quality Download: No streaming-only (such as on MySpace or YouTube); the digital album must be available as a full high-quality download, preferably in lossless format.
  • Length of material: The album must be a full-length. There is no hard-defined cut-off, as that would be arbitrary: a good guideline, however, would be roughly 30 minutes of original material. This is to avoid the kind of bands that have a lazy "promo single", or a "3 song EP", of which 2 are covers, for instance. Expect moderator discretion for evaluating this. An EP may be accepted depending on the situation. Two EPs are better than one, for sure.
  • Fixed tracklist: The album must have a fixed tracklisting. An assorted bunch of songs posted every now and then on ReverbNation is not an "EP" or a "demo". Another song posted later is not "demo 2". And so on.
  • Final mix: No rehearsals, raw promos, rough mixes of any kinds are accepted for digital releases. Only finished, professional albums.
  • Cover art: The album should ideally have a cover art, since it serves as a visual identifier for a collection of songs and can be used for making a DIY physical release, should the buyer want the songs on a CD for his/her personal collection. If the digital release has a fully defined cover (and preferably not just a logo on a white background), it will go a long way into making it more serious. Liner notes and inserts are even better.

MODERATOR DISCRETION APPLIES. In other words, if the digital album shows true effort and professionalism, it has much higher chances of being accepted than a random collection of garage-sounding songs in a .rar called "demo 1" that will lead to a 404 page in two weeks. The above criteria will be evaluated by the moderators, and they are entitled to use their full discretion. These criteria may be adjusted over time, we reserve the right to tweak them as required as we ease in digital-only bands. And remember that a clear-cut proof of a physical release is always the best ticket for acceptance (unless it's 3 little tapes you obviously made for your mother, your brother and your friend... and yes, we've had this kind of submission!).

Other versions of valid albums

Up until recently we did not have a way of elegantly handling the inclusion of other versions of a valid album. The only version that was listed on our site was the original version of an album. Any information about any reissues or rerecordings of valid albums was either rudimentarily noted or was added in an ad-hoc, case-by-case basis. This is no longer the case. From this point on, ANY version of a valid album already in a band's discography can be added as an "other version" of that original album.

On occasion, there will be an "other version" of a valid album that may be listed as its own entry within the band's discography. For the most part, these versions differ significantly from the original version or, more commonly, were reissued with another title or under another band name. Although these albums may warrant their own inclusion in the discography, they are all connected as "other versions" of the original album that they are based off of.

Acceptable vs. unacceptable releases

Acceptable releases:

  • Full-length
  • Live album
  • Demo
  • Single
  • EP
  • Video
  • Boxed set
  • Split
  • Compilation
  • Split video
  • Re-releases and other versions of valid albums (as "other versions")

Unacceptable releases:

  • Bootlegs of any kind (the ONLY exception is Dawn of the Black Hearts, for historical reasons)
  • "Various artists" compilations (albums with over 6 participating bands are usually considered V/A compilations rather than splits, but not always -- see below)
  • Samplers (even if they have below 6 bands, samplers are not acceptable!)
  • Promo-only releases sent to labels
  • Unreleased recordings
  • Private releases (although there are some exceptions to this)
  • Inalienable bonus material (that is not sold separately)
  • Upcoming albums, unless all the information (exact release date, tracklisting and cover art) is 100% confirmed by one official source, such as the band or the label
  • Albums with empty or incomplete tracklisting

No plagiarism!

Any user caught with plagiarism will be insta-banned.

If you submit a review that was published on another website, you are more than welcome to send it to us - as long as it is YOUR review! Stealing other people's writing is unacceptable and we will not stand for any of it.

This also includes written content for band information. Do not, we repeat, do NOT, copy and paste a biography or some similar text from another website (such as BNR or Tartarean Desire), nor any text from the official or unofficial site of the band.

Plagiarism is evil. We have zero tolerance for this, and these warnings are explicit enough. It doesn't matter if you submitted a review that's not yours even if you gave credit, because the points will go to you and the review will still be listed under your name. Simply put, do not add a review you are not the author of, or you will lose your account and get banned immediately!

No bullshit/abuse/sabotage

Another insta-bannable offense. You'd think this would go without saying, but just so we're clear: you are not allowed to sabotage band information by entering stupid/false/derogatory information, adding fake albums/links, deleting valid links and so on. Do any of that and we'll simply restore the data and ban your account instantly.

It's rather sad that we have to actually write that down, simply because of a few juvenile assholes.

No point-whoring abuse

Short version: don't make consecutive, worthless updates just to boost your score. You'll get your points docked at best, banned at worst. For more information about what consists of a "worthless update", read the list below.

Longer version:
Seems like some of you love your score. You love it so much, that even though you are in the top 5 of the user rankings, and have had Veteran access for months now, you still get off seeing your score increase, and gasp in horror if it should ever decrease. You could lose 2000+ points and still keep your ranking, but it would still be a tragedy.

So you decide to be cute, and bloat your score in every possible way with worthless updates. This is called Point Whoring. It includes, but is probably not limited to, the following:

  • Adding guesswork lineups to albums. This is the most common form of point whoring as of version 2 (april 2011); for example, adding the most current band members to an album without verifying who really played on the album. Always, always confirm the lineup via an official source, such as the CD/LP/cassette liner notes, or the band's official site. Simply guessing who played on the album is not acceptable and is a bannable offense.
  • Adding song lyrics or song lengths one by one. Just don't even think about it. We'll know.
  • Adding bootleg albums (as parent entries). Mistakes can happen, but the policy against bootlegs is very clear (the ONLY exception is the all-too-infamous Dawn of the Black Hearts for its historical significance), and repeated offenders will be banned. On the other hand, it is allowed to add bootleg re-issues (see the section about adding re-issues and other versions on the help page) of legitimate albums already on the site as a warning to our visitors.
  • Adding "varied" to an empty "lyrical themes" field. Variants of this include writing "Satan", "death", "evil, darkness" for random black or death metal bands. Also, removing existing "Varied" entry. Unless it's clearly erroneous to a specific band, there is no point to seek out every band with "Varied" as lyrical themes to remove it.
  • Similarly to the above, adding meaningless words in the lyrical themes field based on song titles. Yes, this happens.
  • Constantly changing a band picture even though the one before that was perfectly suitable (if not more so).
  • Adding a bunch of worthless links that have no more (when it's not LESS) information about the band than the actual Encyclopaedia band entry. Also applies to links to CD reviews or interviews as "fan sites". Exception: if the band is very very obscure and this link to an interview is one of the only reference to the band on the Web, it might be tolerated.
  • Other worthless links: site to a general store, label or merchandise site instead of a direct link to the band's entry (see the rules for the "Links" section below).
  • Adding any invalid albums (see next tab), not just bootlegs. This goes for "Various Artist" compilations, re-masters, any variants of the same album. Repeat offenders will be banned.
There are probably more examples of worthless updates, but those should give you a general idea of what NOT to do. However, point-whoring is NOT the following:
  • Correcting typos and grammar/spelling mistakes.
  • Correcting erroneous factual information (be sure of your source!).
  • Updating a truly outdated/irrelevant, or low-quality, band picture or logo, by a better one. For classic bands, pictures of the classic band line-up, especially if rare and/or of good quality, are perfectly suitable. If you want a recent picture, go to Roadrunner's website. For the most part, however, up-to-date pictures are welcome. Use common sense here.
  • Adding a band's entry on a label website as an "official" link. E.g., www.label.com/bandname instead of www.label.com.
  • As mentioned above, adding a link to an interview if this interview is one of the only references to this band on the Net. If the band already has a website at all (official or not), forget it.
  • Updating lyrics if their paragraph and/or formatting is near-illegible (in fact, since one gets only one point per album for such an update, we must commend one's patience for taking the time and effort to do that!)
  • Adding re-release, remastering, bonus tracks, etc. information in the "additional notes" field of the original album's entry.
  • Any update that truly makes an improvement and makes the site generally better and/or more complete. So if you're unsure, ask yourself this: will doing this update bring anything good in any way? If the answer is the negative, then just forget about it.

It's simple, really. We catch you at point-whoring (and we will), we drop your score, if you don't get the message, we "Durst" (aka ban) you. So, just don't do it.

Spelling, grammar and capitalisation

Please, try to avoid spelling mistakes. We realize that many people often don't take the time to really type well on the Internet, but this is not a chatroom or even a message board, and you should take what you submit seriously enough to at least write properly. This goes especially for song titles. Try to respect the punctuation and proper capitalization too. If the songs are in a foreign language, make sure the spelling is accurate.

Proper capitalisation is important. Do not enter information in ALL CAPS or all lowercase. Respect the capitalisation for band names, album and song titles. Tip: band names and song/album titles generally have the first letter of each word capitalized (except for acronyms obviously), except for small words like "the" and "of" (unless of course they start the title).
Good: Council of the Fallen, Storm of the Light's Bane
Not so good: Council Of The Fallen, Storm Of The Light's Bane
Bad: COUNCIL OF THE FALLEN, storm of the lights bane

When in doubt, use the Wikipedia standards for capitalisation.

When entering line-up and artist information, always use the real instrument names. It's "vocals, guitars, bass and drums", not "regurgitated vokills", "666 shredding strings of doom", "baritone cacophony" and "pounding rhythms of madness" or *insert pretentious/dumb metaphore here*.

No Sock Puppets! (Reviews and Voting)

Another rule that might appear obvious, but we've had several violators already: you are not allowed to create sock puppets, for example, to rig review scores, the recommendation system, or to spam reports.

We have had people try to create multiple accounts to add more votes to the similar artists recommendation system. As stated here, any user caught registering more than one account (and they always, invariably get caught!) for this purpose will be instantly banned, and all their votes will be wiped in one click of a mouse, so don't bother.

Similarly, we've had the occasional idiots who created several accounts and submitted seemingly different reviews to boost an album's score. Needless to say, once caught the reviews were deleted and all the accounts were banned.

Other uses of sock puppets may include (but are not limited to): sending several reports (or report comments) from different accounts to make the original report seem more important; reporting a pending band claiming the band is legit (while in reality both the band and the report were sent by the same person), and of course, posting on the forum with multiple accounts all pretending to agree with each others to reinforce your viewpoint. To repeat: users caught with sock puppets will be instantly banned.

Guidelines for entering data

Neutral information only, written in 3rd person, at all times. (This does not apply to reviews, obviously, but band/album/artist/label data.) This site is meant to be an encyclopedia after all. Do NOT write stuff, in the lineup or additional notes fields or anywhere else, that promotes or bashes the band in question! Do not write a biography in the first person, e.g. "This is my band we formed last year, we sound like band X and draw influences from Y, etc etc".

Be reasonable for the data you enter in the additional notes (whether it's for bands, albums, labels or artists). It clearly says "no personal opinions", yet we still see submissions where it says things like "Awesome brutal band for all death metal fans!", or "their talent has brought them much recognition in their home country" and the likes. Don't.

Guidelines regarding the "not to be confused" issue:
There are three stances where "not to be confused with" might be useful:

  • When there is a non-metal band/artist of the same name;
  • When there are two bands/artists from the same name and the same country ;
  • When the same person has a bunch of ambiguous band names/side projects, like Paul Chain, Devin Townsend... we don't want our contributors to add Paul Di'Anno's full discography under each of his band entries: Paul Di'Anno, Paul Di'Anno's Killers, Di'Anno, Killers (UK), Di'Anno Killers, etc..

Guidelines for External Links

>> Band links <<

Everyone can contribute links to websites related to a band. Do not, however, add a link to the main page of a site such as "Headbanger's Delight" to every single band that sells merchandise there. If you do that you could at least link to the page with the actual band merchandise. For example:
Acceptable:: http://www.headbanger.net/bandname/, http://www.sitename.com/band.ext?id=666
Unacceptable: : http://www.headbanger.net, http://www.mydistro.com/home
I.e., a direct link to a band page. Linking to the label or store's main page is useless.

Do not add links to album reviews or interviews, unless there is no other source about the band on the Internet.

For those with the Veteran rank: you may update URLs or delete broken links. Do not delete valid links! You are allowed to delete broken, false or unrelated links, to keep the integrity of the information. Deleting valid links just for the hell of it, or to spite the owner of the linked site, or whatever stupid reason, will not be tolerated.


>> Artist links <<

You can add the musician/artist's links such as his homepage, his Facebook, Youtube channel, etc.

Do NOT add links to interviews, nor to links to the artist's BAND homepage unless you link directly to a detailed section about the artist. For example, for Steve Harris, linking to Steve Harris @ Ironmaiden.com is acceptable, because that link contains a detailed biography with information not present on the artist page. But linking only to Ironmaiden.com directly on Steve Harris's artist page is useless, since that link is already present on the Iron Maiden page. Similarly, if Steve Harris has a personal homepage, do not add it to Iron Maiden's page; add it to his artist page instead. Exception: if Steve Harris played in a non-metal band, it would be OK to add a link to this band on his artist page, under the link category Unlisted bands.

For links to the artist's non-metal/unlisted bands (link category: "unlisted bands", only add up to ONE link per non-metal band. For example, Kurt Cobain is on the site because of his link to Earth and Melvins, but he's of course more famous for Nirvana, a band not featured on the site. Adding a link to the Official Nirvana Website is acceptable; adding various Nirvana websites is not. One per unlisted band is enough.

In other words, link to pages related to the artist as a PERSON and not his/her bands, unless those bands are not on the site (such as non-metal bands). Keep band links to the band pages.

Exception: for solo artists, if the artist's homepage is both about the artist (as a person) and his/her solo band, it's acceptable to add the link to both pages.


>> Label links <<

In the "website" text field of a label, you should add the label's main homepage. For any other link, use the "External links" section. You can add the label's Youtube channel, Myspace, Facebook, Webstore (if different than the homepage), and so on, in that section.

Guidelines for Unlisted Bands

Since April 2012, you can now add lineups from the artist's page by searching for the band(s) an artist has been part of. You can only add actual members (permanent or live) from this page; guest and session artists must be added from the albums they participated in. This is an important distinction, since you can also add non-featured bands (bands not listed on the site) on the artist page with lineup information (instrument, year range, etc.) just like you would for a featured band, but you can only add bands the artist has been a member of. Do not add every single band the artist has been a guest for! The resulting clutter will be ludicrous.

For example: adding Nirvana and Foo Fighters on Dave Grohl's page is acceptable, since he respectively was/is a member of those bands. Adding Tenacious D or Killing Joke is not, since he was simply a guest for those bands.

Related to that, there is also a category of external link (mentioned in the External Links section above), "Unlisted bands". You can use this section to link to no more than ONE site (official band sites should take priority) per unlisted band on the artist page. For example, it is acceptable to add the official Foo Fighters website to Dave Grohl's page, but if you do that, do not also add the Foo Fighters Facebook, Youtube, etc. Basically, pick one that makes sense as a basic reference only. This site is not meant to be a directory of non-metal links, after all.

Truthful information

That's a no-brainer, obviously. Don't submit fake bands, don't add false information, and if you want to make updates such as band line-ups, check the validity of your sources. You must provide compelling evidence of the band's existence (see "must have valid release" above) and of its "metalness".

Primacy of evidence

For band submissions, particularly lesser-known/obscure ones, keep in mind that it is the submitter's responsibility to provide all the necessary evidence and information (primarily samples to judge "metalness" and proof for a valid release), as well as doing so in a readily accessible and apparent fashion. It falls to the submitting user to gather and include all the pertinent information; the moderator should only have to review and verify it, ideally based on nothing more than what is directly linked and detailed in the submission itself. Always assume that the moderator has never heard of the band until that point, and act accordingly in filling out the submission notes. A mod is perfectly within his or her rights to reject a potentially acceptable band with insufficient or no info included "that could have just been googled". Some staffers may sometimes choose to do some research on their own in the reviewing process, but this is strictly speaking not their job and should not be taken for granted. Note that merely adding a release to the discography section is not proof in and of itself, a submission can be seemingly complete, but still lack the critical proof.

To illustrate this point, here are a few selected examples of what should be avoided; submissions such as the following have a high chance of getting rejected:

  • A nearly empty submission with a short mention of the existence of a physical demo in the submission notes, telling the mod to look up the band online.
  • An ostensibly complete submission with a full-length in the discography section, as well as a link to the band's Facebook, but no notes or explanation whatsoever; you may be aware of a relevant photograph buried somewhere in a 100-picture album, but the moderator is not. It's not difficult to directly link to a specific image.
  • A submission providing us with an email address and telling us to contact the band for more information.
  • A submission with a link to a blog about old metal bands from Ukraine entirely in Cyrillic, accompanied by a note that the evidence can be found there. Although quite a few moderators do not speak English as a first language, we are not polyglots and this is an English-language site. Moderators don't like having to put lengthy texts from a dozen different pages through Google Translate to unearth the relevant piece of information (not to mention that machine translation is not always reliable). Thus, for proof not in English please always try to provide a quick translation, if needed/applicable/possible.
  • A submission for a hardcore punk band with allegedly one or more thrash metal releases among their huge discography, but no explanation as to which release(s) might be metal. For such bands, always be specific about which release(s) you think qualify the band for inclusion. We are not going to listen through ten full-lengths and fifteen demos/EPs otherwise.

Note that being explicit and clear about the required evidence will save time and effort for both parties (and avoid frustration and misunderstandings). Also note that the exact way staffers handle submissions can vary from mod to mod, so some may be more (or less) forgiving than others. However, taking the aforementioned points to heart will always be appreciated and help speed up the review process.

Once is enough...

...Usually. Don't ever keep submitting the same band repeatedly.

If your band is rejected, you will receive an email notification (if you didn't receive anything, check in your spam folder). But regardless of your notification settings, you can see the status of your band submissions at all time under My Bands in the top left menu. Rejected bands will be flagged in red.

If your submission was rejected, you may apply corrections (based on the reason posted) and resubmit. Use caution when resubmitting! The mods can see the history of all the changes, and they will know if you have resubmitted without responding to the reason(s) that they gave you. If your band is clearly unacceptable (i.e. not metal, fake, not a valid release), repeated submissions will only a) annoy the moderators, b) result in the band being blacklisted (thus preventing any further resubmission), and c) possibly cause your account to get banned. If you want to object to a band rejection, go here, read the first post, and most of all, BE POLITE.

If a band is still pending acceptance, it will not disappear out of the queue - so there is no need to keep spamming us with the same band over and over again. Just be patient, we'll get to it eventually.

If, for some reason, you believe your band submission did not go through because you got a blank screen or something after your submission, please check if it's present either in your drafts or in the submission queue. If it's not showing up, something went wrong server-side (and we're sorry about that), so do resubmit.

So normally there is absolutely no reason whatsoever to submit a band twice. If you do so by accident, that's acceptable, as browsers can be fickle; but it's hard to double-post something two days apart.

Bands that change name

If a band changes name, there will be two (or more) entries on the site, provided that they have releases under each name. So if you know of a band that has a new name, please wait until they actually have released something under that name before making a new submission. For example, we have entries for both Kreator and Tormentor, but not one for Tyrant (as they were previously called) because they never released anything under that name.

As of November 2012, you can now link these bands together using the "Years Active" rows in the editing form (more information here).

Please note that bands whose name change isn't significant enough (to be judged by a moderator) won't be added. Example: Dezperadoz, formerly called Desperados, kept the same page.

Tell us about the *music*

Please, when you review an album, try to stick to the album content. It doesn't matter how well written it is, how poetic it sounds, how original it is, if all you do is make silly metaphors that go nowhere or mean nothing. It might sound a silly thing to ask for, but such reviews sadly exist (some are even famous for it...). Reviews should give the potential listeners a good idea of what the album sounds like, not show off one's English vocabulary.

Tell us about the *music*

Did we mention this yet? Well, it also means, lashing out on a band's image, attitude or reputation is not exactly a good idea either. That doesn't mean we'll refuse a review if you attack a band's image or integrity - in fact, sometimes such things do need to be pointed out and criticized. But a review based mostly on that is of little interest.
This also includes attacks or generalizations on the listeners, not just the fans (see examples below).
Ubiquitous examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Cradle of Filth/Dimmu Borgir/etc. are "goth fags";
  • Yngwie Malmsteem has a pretentious and arrogant personality;
  • Jon Schaffer's attitude is annoying;
  • *Insert female singer here* is so hot;
  • Christians/Satanists/Jews/etc. are so dumb;
  • Black metal "elitists" are so narrow-minded;
  • Similarly, "tr00 metal elitists won't like this because it's so avant-garde!"
If you really think it's relevant to the actual album content, by all means feel free to point it out, but don't dwell on it.

Note: here, the "music" includes everything about the album content, depending on the release type. So DO write about the following:

  • composition and songwriting
  • instrumentation
  • singing
  • lyrics
  • production
  • atmosphere and mood
  • emotions
  • ideas and themes
  • structure
For videos and DVDs, you might want to discuss the image quality, lighting and bonus material; for live albums, the band performance and energy; for best-of compilations, the quality of the track selection; for boxed sets, even the packaging can be discussion-worthy. So it's not exclusively about the notes played and the RIFFS, DUDE!!1, or if each song "rules" or "sucks". Tell us about the overall content, not just the aesthetics.

Intelligence and decency

In summary:
  • Don't send troll reviews, i.e. reviews written pretty much solely for the purpose of attracting attention and/or riling up others.
  • Don't insult listeners or other reviewers in your review.
  • Give reasons to support your opinions.
  • Avoid "gimmicky" reviews (trying too hard to be original in your format, such as writing in the form of a poem, a story, a mock-interview, etc.), unless you're an exceptionally gifted writer.

If you genuinely hated an album with a passion, go ahead and flame it - just do it intelligently, and don't just cuss it out without giving good reasons (i.e., reasons that have to do with the album's music, production and overall quality). Excessive swearing is probably not a good idea, unless you're doing it well, and for humourous reasons.

On the flip side, the same can be said about excessive fanboy gushing. It's perfectly fine to love an album so much that the inner child in you wants to squeal in glee and jump up and down, but avoid doing that in your reviews... unless, again, you know how to write it so well that it sounds cool and/or humourous, rather than pathetic.

Below are examples of what is considered acceptable or not in regards to the above.

Good way to bash

With the possible exception of some of the (admittedly quite solid) instrumental work on the final track, there really is nothing worthwhile here. Whether it's the bizarre chorused clean guitars/"big riff" combination in the start of Crucifictive (probably the biggest turd out of the whole lot, has to be heard to be believed), the abominable, TERRIBLE casio-keyboard sounds that permeate most of the album, the hopeless, depressed/angry 12 year old lyrics, the completely overwrought attempt at emotion that are the vocals or just the HARD FAIL that are the guitars and their unbearably fluffy attempts at leads, the whole album is about as appealing as playing soggy biscuit with a large steaming turd.

Bad way to bash

I didn't expect much from this album to begin with. It had cool cover art, that's why it got a 10. Peter Tatgren came right out and said "We wanted to base an album on Slipknot." I read it somewhere. So he just came right out and said "This album is crap." Well, I think Peter should have released this album under a name other than Hypocrisy. I'm almost ashamed to call myself a Hypocrisy fan. It just doesn't make sense how a legendary band like Hypocrisy would get so terribly gay on their very LAST album. Couldn't they have just not released it and still have their fans? Hey, thanks for getting gay Peter.

Good way to praise

With all due respect to Black Sabbath and the genre they created, the finest Heavy Metal album EVER recorded is Judas Priest's second LP, "Sad Wings of Destiny". [...] went into the studio on a shoestring budget and codified in one 37-minute piece of vinyl exactly what a 'heavy metal' album should look and sound like - grandiose intros, piano ballads halfway through the first side, balls-out rockers, super-long moody epics, and TONS of great guitar riffs and solos from arguably the best guitar duo of all time, Glen Tipton and KK Downing. They blaze and rip through "Tyrant" and "Genocide", slash through "The Ripper", play a textbook example of tension-and-release in "Victim of Changes", and soar in the grandiose epic finisher "Dream Deceiver/Deceiver" (which features the greatest melodic guitar solo of all time by Glen).

Bad way to praise

This right here is some catchy speed metal with great chorus lines! Tunes Of War an album about Scottish War & William Wallace to boot! The album opens up with a instrumental called "The Brave" it awesome because it has bagpipes!
The next song is "Scotland United" I guess you could call it a Scotts pride song? it's fast song with a great chorus! it was my first song that I heard from Grave Digger and was an excellent starting point if do say so myself.
Another song I would like to comment on is "Rebellion" This songs OWNS!! I love this song!! it's really catchy! that is one thing Grave Digger has managed to do with this album and thats make it catchy!

There is not really a minimum of words or lines, but chances are, if it's too short and doesn't say anything, it won't be accepted. You must describe the music (accurately, of course) and give arguments to support your opinions.

Avoid referring to reviews of other members. This can be considered very rude, unless you point out a previously made comparison that you agree with, or wish to elaborate on a point someone made before you. But writing a review contradictory to a previous one just out of spite, or to boost or lower the average rating, is not acceptable.

Correct spelling, grammar and formatting

We ask a minimum of writing ability. We're not all that strict on this (hell, English isn't our first language, and this whole page alone most likely has many grammar mistakes), and we certainly do not ask for sleek professionalism; we just ask for the review to be readable. No abuse of typos, caps or punctuation - or lack thereof - ("This album ROCKED!!!! BEST ALBUM EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!" or then "this album reallly sucked i thought it was gay and teh giutar waspoor its overal prety weak") - just try to be coherent, and if possible, helpful for the readers.

If English is not your first language, and your grasp of English is very crude, just avoid sending reviews altogether. Sorry, this isn't a rag on anyone or their nationality, but that's just the way it is.

Tips:

  • Use proper punctuation:
    • One exclamation or question mark is usually sufficient.
    • Ending every sentence with an exclamation/question mark is annoying to the reader.
    • There is a SPACE after the comma (,) and the period (.).
  • Proof-read and re-read your text before submitting it.
  • If English isn't your first language, you should ask a native speaker to review and perhaps polish your text.
  • Don't write your review in a single paragraph.
  • Make sure you use two enter strokes between the paragraphs (indents are not supported).
  • If you're in doubt as to the meaning of a word, look it up!
  • It's spelled "definitely". Not definately, defianetly, definitly, and so on.
  • It's "should/would/could have", not "should/would/could of".
  • Their/there/they're; it's/its; who's/whose; you're/your; then/than; accept/except; affect/effect; e.g./i.e.; enquire/inquire; rouge/rogue; lose/loose; where/were; etc. If you get confused by those, don't bother sending reviews.
  • Metal genres should not be capitalized (unless they start the sentence obviously). "This is a solid Thrash Metal album" is not acceptable; write "This is a solid thrash metal album" instead.
  • Avoid writing band names ALL IN CAPS (e.g. write "Candlemass" or "Type O Negative", and not "CANDLEMASS" and "TYPE O NEGATIVE". Some review sites use this standard, but Encyclopaedia Metallum does not. (Because it's not just grammatically incorrect, frankly, it looks ugly too!)
  • Check the Reviews sub-forum for more tips about reviewing.

English please

We really shouldn't have to explain that... An inside joke, a quote or a small reference in another language than English is OK if it's not more than that, but the reviews must be available to any other visitor.

Avoid track-by-track

In some very rare cases, track-by-track reviews could be appropriate. For albums with short numbers of tracks, this is not a problem. But generally speaking, these reviews are very lacking in content, poorly written, and reek of vapid amateurism. They are also usually very uninteresting reads. Please try to avoid them as much as possible.

Only official, final albums

Do not review the unfinished promo version of the album, like those with an incomplete tracklist or an unfinished production (rough mix etc.). Only review what is meant to be reviewed: either an official promo copy released by the band for this exact purpose, or the actual, final album. You may select which specific version you're reviewing from the drop-down list on the review form.

Don't worry, we're not as harsh as you might think after reading this. We are very reasonable; we just don't want any garbage on the site, and we just want to make sure no one spends a lot of time to send us stuff, and then whine that they wasted their time because their stuff wasn't accepted.

Thank you for your comprehension and enjoy your privileges as a member of Encyclopaedia Metallum!