without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
Effective Immediately: I am no longer taking on review requests, since I just don't have the time these days. Between work, music, other hobbies, and most importantly the fact that I'm a first-time father, I don't have a lot of leeway to cover albums beyond those I specifically choose out of the new releases, classics and obscurities.
First off, we should all thank the moderators and coders for providing us with this excellent resource. I've begun cross-posting some of my reviews (old and new) to contribute to the effort, that I might provide some information and opinion on releases where there is little or none. I'm not a poet laureate, but I do hope I get some points across.
I've been a long listener of metal music since the late 70s, when my cousin would pass off records to me as a tyke. Before I could even make the distinction of what was beating on my eardrums. Started with Judas Priest, KISS and Motörhead, and you could argue it was all downhill from there. These days I listen to everything from Merzbow, depressive black metal and brutal death to J-pop and film/game scores. I'm a musician myself, but I haven't been performing in metal bands for a few years now, thus writing about the style helps me keep up to date on all the newest releases, styles, and scenes, while giving back something to this music which has always been there for me, through both the good times and the bad.
Personal virtues when attempting to critique music: Honesty to the artist. Honesty to the reader. Honesty to the artist's promoters, labels, etc. Most importantly, honesty to oneself. An accurate assessment of value to the fan. To the non-fan. Points always awarded for originality, but originality does not automatically imply quality. No one is perfect, so I'll edit errors when I encounter them, both grammatical and factual. No pandering to scenesters. No pandering to poseurs. No automatic dismissals based on sub-genre. No political or contrarian scores or motives. No sacred cows. No 'revenge' reviews. No concern for 'consensus' opinion. No decaf.
ALL reviews posted from my blog site to here on the Metal-Archives are written by myself. There are others who have contributed a handful of reviews over on THAT site, but I have never posted their work here, and accusations to the contrary are nothing but libelous rubbish. I generally have a set rule of listening to a release three times MINIMUM before summing up my thoughts, often many more if it's deeply involved and not merely derivative of a thousand albums I've already heard (or if I'm just having too much fun with it to put it down). Naturally some of the critiques of 'classic' or older albums, faves or stinkers, will be much more in-depth, since I've accumulated a lot more to say over the decades.
The following is a breakdown of my review scores, both here and on the blog where they are originally posted:
100% [10/10] Timeless, flawless, will still be listening to this in 20 years.
95% [9.5/10] Damn near flawless, and extremely memorable.
90% [9/10] A fine example of its genre, well worth the investment.
85% [8.5/10] A great album, but on the bottom rung of what I'd paid for.
80% [8/10] A great album, worth buying if you collect the artist or genre.
75% [7.5/10] A good album, but I might not pick it out of a lineup.
70% [7/10] Successful, but hovering just above the level of mediocrity.
65% [6.5/10] It's not bad, but you'll forget it just after listening.
60% [6/10] Basically the median for most metal albums released.
55% [5.5/10] Average with perhaps the spark of a good idea or two.
50% [5/10] Not offensive, but entirely mediocre.
45% [4.5/10] Pretty weak, but things could be worse...
40% [4/10] Things are worse. Not worth the media it's printed on.
30% [3/10] I recognize this as music, but it's painful to listen to.
20% [2/10] Proof that we live in a cruel, cruel universe.
10% [1/10] You're kidding me, right? Where's the hidden camera?
0% [0/10] I didn't realize 'shit' was now a color on the rainbow. This is usually reserved for worthless compilations of previously released material, but there might be a special exception once in awhile.
Here is a link to the series of comprehensive RYM lists I am organizing, for the purpose of not having to write up a new list every time someone asks me for a recommendation. None are 100% set in stone, all subject to some edits, and I try to add a few each year when time permits.
I recently deleted my last.fm account. I appreciate all the contacts made and kind words shared, but the Scrobbling function just wasn't working on my PC, and I just wasn't using the page much at all.
If my normal address is down, try: http://autothrall.blogspot.com
Also, I don't normally have time to read through the forums, so if you've got a question or want to Facebook or something, send me a PM.