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SweetLeaf95
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PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2018 11:15 pm 
 

Maybe not, but sometimes I do get some level of entertainment out of them, even if it's laughing at what is being said.
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BastardHead
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PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2018 10:12 am 
 

Though I am probably the most outwardly annoyed mod here when it comes to Ed, I will say he does have strengths. Sometimes he'll show a surprisingly deep understanding of what he's talking about and touch on things that other reviews tend to skip over (like highlighting the jazz influence in Bill Ward's drumming, or how the feel of Sabbath had changed by Vol. 4 likely because they went from four poor blue collar nerds to four dudes doing coke in a mansion, or how an unfairly understated element of Somewhere in Time is that Bruce Dickinson took on a greater role in songwriting, etc).

The problem is that he so rarely sticks to those strengths. He's far too preoccupied with making grand, iconoclastic statements that are sure to get him noticed, but he clearly has a very shallow understanding of metal as a whole so he winds up saying nonsense and referencing the same ten bands over and over and over again. There's an old review for Persuader's Evolution Purgatory from 2004 that I just nuked for having a gazillion spelling errors and being an Amazon style track-by-track, but one of the things that review did was constantly reference In Flames, as if he only really knew a handful of bands and In Flames was the heaviest one he could think of (despite Persuader just being an angrier Blind Guardian and not sounding like In Flames in any capacity whatsoever). That's the kind of thing Ed does all the time. He'll make such odd comparisons because it's kind of clear that he doesn't know much outside of the obvious classics. That's why Hammerheart is doom to him, because he clearly doesn't know what actual viking metal really sounds like because I'm 99% sure that's one of the only albums in the style he's ever heard. That's why his recent Eternal Devastation review keeps bringing up black metal, because it's a lo-fi album and he clearly can't think of any other lo-fi things to compare it to. That's why the Dissection review references Children of Bodom from out of the blue. You could pick up pretty much any review of his and find an example of him making a downright baffling statement like this. Part of me feels like it's because he knows that it's easier to stick to bigger albums when making comparisons because more readers are likely to know them but he winds up namedropping a dozen of them and maybe two of them actually make sense and it always comes off like he just can't think of anything else. This showcases one of his other major weaknesses: he's really kind of terrible at describing music without comparing it to something else. You could say that a thrash album is loaded with razor sharp riffing that skips along at high speeds, complemented by pummeling, frantic drumming and frenzied screams. Or you could say "it's kind of like Slayer" or "it sounds nothing like Metallica in the 90s". Ed will take the second and third options every single time.

Not to mention how badly shoehorned-in most of his jokes are, which always come off like trying to emulate Boris while missing the rest of the wacky character that made him work so well (when he worked, looking back I think most of us can agree that he had way more misses than hits). Take that with everything else (plus what everybody else has said) and you can pretty easily sum up his problem with "he tried to force it too much". Everything he says feels forced. Comparison X doesn't make sense, but whatever, force it in. Grand statement Y is obvious nonsense to people who understand nuance in any form, but whatever, force it. Joke Z is really sophomoric and ill-placed, who cares, force it anyway. His impeccable resistance towards improving is almost Six Feet Under-esque.
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gasmask_colostomy
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PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2018 10:31 am 
 

BastardHead wrote:
Though I am probably the most outwardly annoyed mod here when it comes to Ed, I will say he does have strengths. Sometimes he'll show a surprisingly deep understanding of what he's talking about and touch on things that other reviews tend to skip over (like highlighting the jazz influence in Bill Ward's drumming, or how the feel of Sabbath had changed by Vol. 4 likely because they went from four poor blue collar nerds to four dudes doing coke in a mansion, or how an unfairly understated element of Somewhere in Time is that Bruce Dickinson took on a greater role in songwriting, etc).

The problem is that he so rarely sticks to those strengths.



As far as I can see, this is the most reasoned critique of why TrooperEd is being discussed on this forum. It's fair as well, because Ed hasn't written bad reviews consistently, nor are most of the reviews even in their quality from beginning to end. Probably, the best thing for him to do is read BastardHead's comment above and take his time with the next review he writes, using the Similar Artists tab as help and doing a bit of research.

For everyone else commenting, maybe we can try the opposite approach and focus on the parts that are good, detailed in the first paragraph of the previous post.

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Empyreal
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PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2018 10:40 am 
 

That's fair, he does have some good stuff like that Sabbath critique at times. However, I hope he can really improve in general and do much better than he has been overall. Writing is a long and tough process. It's important to keep a critical eye on one's own work and always try to improve.
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Twisted_Psychology
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PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2018 10:43 am 
 

I get outside artist comparisons within reason, especially when the comparisons are just that blatantly obvious. My reviews of Electric Wizard or Iron Maiden clone bands basically write themselves for that exact reason. But I much prefer reviewing an album in the context of a band's overall discography unless the influences are that radically different than what came before or after.
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mjollnir
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PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2018 10:48 am 
 

I think he needs to open his mind a bit more to other metal genres as well as expand his playlists or however he consumes his music. He's really stuck in the old days and won't find his way out.
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Acrobat
Eric Olthwaite

Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2007 8:53 am
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PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2018 12:15 pm 
 

BastardHead wrote:
Though I am probably the most outwardly annoyed mod here when it comes to Ed, I will say he does have strengths. Sometimes he'll show a surprisingly deep understanding of what he's talking about and touch on things that other reviews tend to skip over (like highlighting the jazz influence in Bill Ward's drumming, or how the feel of Sabbath had changed by Vol. 4 likely because they went from four poor blue collar nerds to four dudes doing coke in a mansion, or how an unfairly understated element of Somewhere in Time is that Bruce Dickinson took on a greater role in songwriting, etc).


Well, if he said that about Bruce then it’s 100% wrong as he had no writing credits on that album (hence its comparative weakness).
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TrooperEd
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PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2018 12:24 pm 
 

Acrobat wrote:
BastardHead wrote:
Though I am probably the most outwardly annoyed mod here when it comes to Ed, I will say he does have strengths. Sometimes he'll show a surprisingly deep understanding of what he's talking about and touch on things that other reviews tend to skip over (like highlighting the jazz influence in Bill Ward's drumming, or how the feel of Sabbath had changed by Vol. 4 likely because they went from four poor blue collar nerds to four dudes doing coke in a mansion, or how an unfairly understated element of Somewhere in Time is that Bruce Dickinson took on a greater role in songwriting, etc).


Well, if he said that about Bruce then it’s 100% wrong as he had no writing credits on that album (hence its comparative weakness).


I'm not sure what BH is referring to here because I thought I made it clear that Bruce had no writing input on Somewhere In Time and that was ultimately a benefit, in spite of his writing roles on Piece of Mind and Powerslave.

So a few thoughts:

There are black metal notions in the Destruction review because I've heard a few black metal purists (Fenriz in particular, he actually put Curse The Gods on his old school black metal compilation years back) refer to their early material as black metal. Slayer and Sodom's first two releases get called this sometimes too (actually didn't Boris call Hell Awaits black metal in that album's review). I....don't wholeheartedly agree with that notion, but there's a much stronger argument to be made for those releases to be considered first wave of black metal than anything Mercyful Fate ever put out. So when I discuss black metal in that Eternal Devastation review, that's what I'm referring to.
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SweetLeaf95
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PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2018 12:39 pm 
 

I actually can kind of see it in Eternal Devastation as well. It isn't a "black metal" record by any means, but blackened thrash isn't too out there of a description, I'd say the same about Kreator's first record. They just have BM qualities thrown in.
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TrooperEd
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PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2018 12:40 pm 
 

Continued

-The Children of Bodom reference in my Dissection review was stupid. That's why I deleted it.

-The Manowar comparisons to Hammerheart aren't completely unfounded, Martin Popoff made the same observation. Most viking metal I've come across seem to be either bad traditional metal or Nightwish knockoffs with even MORE folk elements if possible. Sorry, but that's not why I come to metal. I know most of my criticism comes from calling it doom with the clickbait-ish title, but the first sentence is my usually confused personality of trying to call it "power-doom" considering all of the Hammerheart music is slow.

-I also never really said the feel of Sabbath changed with their fortunes in 1972. Quite the opposite.

-I will admit describing the music is a big weakness for me. Part of this is my disagreement with this idea that an album is more than just a collection of songs. I always thought that was a pretentious crock of shit. But not being able to do track by track reviews really puts handcuffs on me. The music as a whole? If an album does it's job right and has varying material you shouldn't be able to describe the album as a whole in a paragraph or something. I feel like I need a ANUS-esque musical doctorate to describe the music in a way that will satisfy me completely, but unfortunately, there's only 24 hours in a day, and not a whole lot of books dedicated to metal musical theory. Or at least be able to understand instruments slightly beyond the basics. Boris was a guitar player if I remember correctly, the knowledge of which he applied in certain reviews. I think maybe a reason he harped on Opeth so much is because their riffs might not sound like there is anything wrong with them to our ears, but from a playing perspective most of them just had no bite to them.

"You could say that a thrash album is loaded with razor sharp riffing that skips along at high speeds, complemented by pummeling, frantic drumming and frenzied screams."

-Nothing wrong with this approach, but it's almost too easy and too obvious. Plus Lemmy forbid that album have a slow or midpaced track that throws a monkey wrench into that argument. I'm not trying to say "look at how much more clever I am by taking a road less travelled," it's just not how I would prefer to write.

-Another thing about the Destruction review. Every other album I reference there is used to draw attention to their respective productions. Usually if a band has awful production on an album, it's their first, and they get their act together around the second. Eternal Devastation was a unique case in my book because I thought Sentence of Death and Infernal Overkill sounded great (which makes Sentence of Death's first wave of black metal credentials even more mystifying to me, as usually an album needs to be very lo-fi in order to make that nod).


You know what the fucked up thing is? I haven't made a review of an album with my ultimate production pet peeve yet: when the snare drum drown out everything else in the mix. I can only imagine the hubris that is going to cause.
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PaganiusI
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PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2018 1:32 pm 
 

TrooperEd wrote:
There are black metal notions in the Destruction review because I've heard a few black metal purists (Fenriz in particular, he actually put Curse The Gods on his old school black metal compilation years back) refer to their early material as black metal. Slayer and Sodom's first two releases get called this sometimes too (actually didn't Boris call Hell Awaits black metal in that album's review). I....don't wholeheartedly agree with that notion, but there's a much stronger argument to be made for those releases to be considered first wave of black metal than anything Mercyful Fate ever put out. So when I discuss black metal in that Eternal Devastation review, that's what I'm referring to.


To this date, Sodom is a slightly blackened thrash metal band. At least in my world.
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Xlxlx
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PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2018 1:39 pm 
 

TrooperEd wrote:
-I will admit describing the music is a big weakness for me. Part of this is my disagreement with this idea that an album is more than just a collection of songs. I always thought that was a pretentious crock of shit. But not being able to do track by track reviews really puts handcuffs on me. The music as a whole? If an album does it's job right and has varying material you shouldn't be able to describe the album as a whole in a paragraph or something. I feel like I need a ANUS-esque musical doctorate to describe the music in a way that will satisfy me completely, but unfortunately, there's only 24 hours in a day, and not a whole lot of books dedicated to metal musical theory. Or at least be able to understand instruments slightly beyond the basics. Boris was a guitar player if I remember correctly, the knowledge of which he applied in certain reviews. I think maybe a reason he harped on Opeth so much is because their riffs might not sound like there is anything wrong with them to our ears, but from a playing perspective most of them just had no bite to them.

So, going point by point:

1) I'm going to be very raw about this, but I'll say that if describing music is a "big weakness" for you, then I'm not sure you should even be reviewing it at all.

2) It might not be true for every single case, but generally speaking, albums are constructed by artists with a particular vision in mind. Tracklisting and the way songs synergize off each other is a big part of this. A while ago, when Priest's Redeemer of Souls came out, everyone here made fun of a guy who claimed the album was amazing once he deleted a few songs and rearranged all the others, basically mangling the record and thus making his own point about it being good moot. Like it or not, almost every single album that isn't a best of is meant to be bigger than the sum of its parts, and thus to be taken in as a whole.

3) Track by tracks are frowned upon for a plethora of reasons; not only are they antithetical to the idea that albums are meant to be taken in as a whole, but they're also breeding grounds for lazy writing and a complete bore to read. Nobody cares about a review that reads like a grocery list; my eyes instinctively drift away from any such piece of writing. They encourage dry, witless, high school level analysis and the format is just universally terrible. If you think the rule against track by tracks somehow smothers your creativity... well, once again, you might not have a lot to offer in the first place then.

4) You do not need to be a musician to understand and review albums, the same way you do not need to be a chef to judge whether a dish is good or not. It might give you more tools to analyze the music, yes, but most readers are unlikely to be musicians themselves, and will probably relate more to layman's terms and good descriptive and emotive writing rather than hardcore musical theory. Music is meant to evoke emotions, so the means used to evoke them are secondary.

There are other things you've said I disagree with, but I take particular issue with this one chunk of text.
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SweetLeaf95
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PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2018 1:42 pm 
 

You can describe a whole album as more than a collection of songs, though. Typically, a good album is gonna follow a consistent structure yet varying hooks and elements that help the tracks stand apart from one another. It's best to describe the sound overall, and then dive into each element, using single tracks as examples.
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Diamhea
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PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2018 1:48 pm 
 

Stop bitching about the fucking track-by-track thing. You have zero credibility as a writer if you need to adhere to such a writing style to describe an album. I'm hardly a laureate myself and it has always been clear as day for me.
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Eric Olthwaite

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PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2018 5:38 pm 
 

Also, Viking metal isn’t a thing. Let’s just be clear on this.
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PaganiusI
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PostPosted: Sat May 19, 2018 1:50 am 
 

Viking Metal is a thing. It was created by bands like Bathory and Windir. It has nothing to do with the lyrical themes. Amon Amarth is just as much Viking Metal as Sabaton is War Metal.
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Eric Olthwaite

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PostPosted: Sat May 19, 2018 4:44 am 
 

Right, then, so what does it mean musically? Windir and Bathory have very, very little in common; one played wimpy black metal, the other did some unique albums in an epic heavy metal vein with influences from, say, Manowar and Candlemass.
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PaganiusI
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PostPosted: Sat May 19, 2018 5:11 am 
 

I'm def. not a genre definition pro, but to me it's a first wave Black Metal influenced, thrashy and a little doomy style that gets combined with a norse atmosphere and folklore. Windir's "Sóknardalr" and Bathory's "Hammerheart" or "Blood Fire Death" are perfect examples. That's opposeds to the more MeloDeath-influenced style that became Pagan Metal.

Calling Bathory "Wimpy Black Metal" is just like calling Black Sabbath "some sort of Blues Rock" or calling Ulver "Folk". Technically, that's correct, but it only represents one tiny piece of the musical universe they created.

Also, this discussion is getting a little off-topic...
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Eric Olthwaite

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PostPosted: Sat May 19, 2018 10:44 am 
 

I wasn’t referring to Bathory there. :)
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Empyreal
The Final Frontier

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PostPosted: Sat May 19, 2018 12:08 pm 
 

TrooperEd wrote:
-I will admit describing the music is a big weakness for me. Part of this is my disagreement with this idea that an album is more than just a collection of songs. I always thought that was a pretentious crock of shit. But not being able to do track by track reviews really puts handcuffs on me. The music as a whole? If an album does it's job right and has varying material you shouldn't be able to describe the album as a whole in a paragraph or something. I feel like I need a ANUS-esque musical doctorate to describe the music in a way that will satisfy me completely, but unfortunately, there's only 24 hours in a day, and not a whole lot of books dedicated to metal musical theory. Or at least be able to understand instruments slightly beyond the basics. Boris was a guitar player if I remember correctly, the knowledge of which he applied in certain reviews. I think maybe a reason he harped on Opeth so much is because their riffs might not sound like there is anything wrong with them to our ears, but from a playing perspective most of them just had no bite to them.


This thing about not thinking albums are more than just random collections of songs explains a lot. That's baffling to me. Any good album feels like more than just a bunch of random songs. And you don't need to be a musician to describe music well, you just need to understand what you're hearing. It takes practice.

And you don't need to worry about this track by track thing. You are thinking too much about that. Just write what you feel about the music. It isn't hard.

Quote:
"You could say that a thrash album is loaded with razor sharp riffing that skips along at high speeds, complemented by pummeling, frantic drumming and frenzied screams."

-Nothing wrong with this approach, but it's almost too easy and too obvious. Plus Lemmy forbid that album have a slow or midpaced track that throws a monkey wrench into that argument. I'm not trying to say "look at how much more clever I am by taking a road less travelled," it's just not how I would prefer to write..


This is the issue I have with a lot of younger metal fans and such - it always seems like any deviation from what they expect has to then turn into some whole new genre. That's nonsense. It just leads to over-thinking shit and then you think there's all these minute categories you have to talk about, rather than just talking about the unique qualities of one particular band or album.
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SweetLeaf95
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PostPosted: Sat May 19, 2018 2:51 pm 
 

Everyone on MA uses the word "baffling" a lot.
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Subrick
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PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2018 1:23 am 
 

It's a very usable word for a variety of situations. In this case, the proper use would be, "It's baffling to anyone with eyes that TrooperEd writes reviews despite him openly admitting he has trouble properly describing music in words, which is the whole point of writing a review".
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SweetLeaf95
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PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2018 8:11 pm 
 

I know, I just see everyone use it all the time and I find it somewhat funny, haha.
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ChildClownOutlet
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PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2018 6:42 pm 
 

There was some reviewer named Snowvixen a while back. Highly entitled and snobby reviewer. Perhaps it's because she gave a Kalmah album a fucking 5% review.
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DrummingEdge133
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PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2018 2:31 pm 
 

TrooperEd wrote:
There are black metal notions in the Destruction review because I've heard a few black metal purists (Fenriz in particular, he actually put Curse The Gods on his old school black metal compilation years back) refer to their early material as black metal. Slayer and Sodom's first two releases get called this sometimes too (actually didn't Boris call Hell Awaits black metal in that album's review). I....don't wholeheartedly agree with that notion, but there's a much stronger argument to be made for those releases to be considered first wave of black metal than anything Mercyful Fate ever put out. So when I discuss black metal in that Eternal Devastation review, that's what I'm referring to.


I mean you did essentially call Master black metal. I just can't get over this. I don't even read your reviews, I just happen to see a Master review on the front page and decided to read it. Good grief man. That review is just staggering and.....wait for it...bafflingly ignorant and misguided.

It's just yet another good example of what Bastardhead was saying about you. Your knowledge of metal in a deeper sense is lacking, which leads you to misinterpret things. Like Master as black metal. Because why? Because he isn't growling out of his anus?
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