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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.
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 hipsters. No pandering to poseurs. No automatic dismissals based on sub-genre. No political or contrarian scores or motives. No sacred cows. No concern for 'consensus' opinion. No decaf.
UPDATE: Due to an already hectic schedule with a lot of real life shit going down (in addition to other review projects or promos I've already got lined up), I'm unable to field review requests through late April and May. If you've sent such a request (for your own work or another band's album) recently and I've not gotten back to you, I do apologize, but bear in mind this is just a hobby for me and I simply can't cover everything.
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 about 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.
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 another every few months when time permits.
Friend me on last.fm if you'd like: autothrall
If my normal address is down, try: http://autothrall.blogspot.com