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~Guest 327946
Metal newbie

Joined: Mon Dec 16, 2013 3:19 pm
Posts: 103
PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2016 7:23 am 
 

Are there actual standards to be met, regarding short reviews??

E.g. Here is my review for Sabbath Bloody Sabbath (rejected due to a lack of substance)

Spoiler: show
It is a hard task to think of any other record, which would conduct such a perfect mixture of rock music's propensities, dominant for the period. References to '50s-60s western musical culture and artful orchestral inserts (reflective of prog and folk rock movements), annotated with a commanding riff work, further pushing the boundaries of heavy metal guitar style, form a sophisticated yet intelligible configuration of this album.

What's so stirring about Sabbath Bloody Sabbath is its very condensed assertion of ornate non-rock components, submerged into an unfailing tightness of guitars and a rhythm section. This quality makes the album a more hard-hitting and accessible (in a positive sense) offshoot of the early '70s rock's complicated side, than other releases of the same era, when maker's intent to sound complex sometimes turned music into an oversaturated muddle of ideas.

The aforesaid quality shines through a classy interaction between symphony and rock (standing in the same league of grandiosity as Queen's "The Prophet's Song") in "Spiral Architect" or "Sabbra Caddabra's" masterful, hard rocking re-embodiment of the late '50s Little Richard vibe with a saxophone's tonality of driving guitar licks and also piano, accompanying pumping riffs in a swingy mode. Mellow instrumentation (acoustics, flute, synths) subdues the music, making it diverge from heaviness and encompassing laid-back parts, where Ozzy Osbourne demonstrates an ability to carry emotion with his singing. This attitude is shown in "Looking for Today" and the title track. The latter is also notable for containing some of the heaviest Sabbath's riffs ever. However, the record's most impressive indication of the band's prowess as heavy metal innovators can be found in "Killing Yourself to Live" and "A National Acrobat", both featuring churning chords, overlapped with highly memorable harmonies and double-tracked leads.

Whatever the band does here, a sense of both intricacy and catchiness remains. It's something, I always evaluate in rock/metal albums. The feeling, which the music and Butler's metaphysical poetry radiate, differs from the previous Black Sabbath's output; it is slightly more uplifting, definitely a good sign of evolving towards unexplored directions. Sabbath Bloody Sabbath is truly a highpoint of the band's artistic growth.



Here is The Infamous Bastard's review for Root (accepted). I really like its style and language, but it virtually avoids sticking to specific compositional and technical aspects and doesn't mention songs themselves, while my review provides some details (speaking of substance):

http://www.metal-archives.com/reviews/R ... ard/326326


As a reader, I always preferred something concisely written and a couple of my first reviews are like that (they are sloppy, but now I can do better). After making an observation of how gigantic many reviews here are, I decided to shape up with this attitude. However, I have encountered hints of somewhat negative outlook at epic reviewing in some of moderator's sayings on the Forum (like "this guy's reviews are painfully overlong"). So now I want to return back to more compact (yet descriptive) style

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Diamhea
Eats and Spits Corpses

Joined: Wed Feb 14, 2007 7:46 pm
Posts: 9354
Location: At the Heat of Winter
PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 7:55 am 
 

It's more about lack of substance. It also opens up a rather large can of worms, because the standards have changed and we no longer accept the Amazon.com-length brief synopsis type reviews that are popular elsewhere.

I'll be honest, nine times out of ten short reviews are submitted by users who haven't read the guidelines and are unacceptable for many reasons, but occasionally someone will be able to pull it off in 3 short paragraphs like the earlier review you cited. I don't think I moderated your review, but I would have rejected it for poor grammar before claiming it was lacking description, although it is on the brief side.
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Grave_Wyrm
Metal Sloth

Joined: Sun Mar 04, 2012 5:55 pm
Posts: 3833
Location: FML States of America
PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 4:09 pm 
 

LoveBreedsSuicide wrote:
Here is The Infamous Bastard's review for Root (accepted). I really like its style and language, but it virtually avoids sticking to specific compositional and technical aspects and doesn't mention songs themselves, while my review provides some details (speaking of substance)

From an editing perspective, the comparison comes down to the use of rhetoric, not technicalities. The flow of ideas in his review is almost seamless. The Infamous Bastard is easy to follow; he smoothly and deliberately moves from one point to the next, doing a good job both analyzing/contextualizing and illustrating the work as a whole. Your review, by comparison, is choppy and erratic.

On a personal note, I find individual song details to be a weak choice, or at least I generally see them used in a way that weakens a review. To me, they don't add substance because they rarely substantiate anything. If a reader doesn't know what the song sounds like, referencing "that killer riff at 2:20" isn't going to mean shit. The review is going to lend a clearer understanding of the album's sound if that detail isn't there at all, relying instead on vocabulary and story telling (rhetorical style) to paint an effective picture. If you want to focus on details, use them to substantiate the development of an insight or a larger general point. However, that, too, is going to boil down to effective use of rhetoric.

LoveBreedsSuicide wrote:
"painfully overlong"

-- an author who's made their scanty points yet continues to break wind. In a word, prolix.

Follow the guidelines, and be economical and organized. With those accomplished, you're off to a better start than most, and the process of your reflections will be more meaningful to you as a writer.

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~Guest 327946
Metal newbie

Joined: Mon Dec 16, 2013 3:19 pm
Posts: 103
PostPosted: Sun Sep 11, 2016 4:58 pm 
 

Thanks for your responses, they are actually useful.

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TrooperEd
Metalhead

Joined: Sun Nov 14, 2004 6:18 pm
Posts: 1785
Location: United States
PostPosted: Sun Feb 04, 2018 10:45 pm 
 

Can mods post examples of great terse reviews? I'm very interested in reading them and trying to say as much as is acceptable with few words.
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Ilwhyan
Metel fraek

Joined: Sat Sep 29, 2007 1:41 pm
Posts: 7802
Location: Lifeless shadows
PostPosted: Tue Feb 06, 2018 7:42 am 
 

Generally, it takes longer to write a high-quality short review, than a longer review of similar quality (brevity or length notwithstanding). The usual workflow comprises several draft versions, where the first one is a largely unedited, longer one, and each subsequent version is trimmed, until the desired brevity is achieved, without having sacrificed substance or clarity.
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caspian
Wanderer of the Wastes

Joined: Tue Dec 07, 2004 11:29 pm
Posts: 6681
Location: Australia
PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 3:19 am 
 

I'd take a good short review over most. Something snappy and nice to read. There's that quote about (I think it's engineering) that I'll paraphrase: "The mark of a good design is not when there's nothing left to add, but when there's nothing left to take away."

Cheeses Priced often did very short reviews that were still pretty informative and really good to read.
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caspian
Wanderer of the Wastes

Joined: Tue Dec 07, 2004 11:29 pm
Posts: 6681
Location: Australia
PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 3:19 am 
 

Ilwhyan wrote:
Generally, it takes longer to write a high-quality short review, than a longer review of similar quality (brevity or length notwithstanding). The usual workflow comprises several draft versions, where the first one is a largely unedited, longer one, and each subsequent version is trimmed, until the desired brevity is achieved, without having sacrificed substance or clarity.


People write drafts? ???
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Derigin
The Mountain Man

Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2006 6:25 am
Posts: 5003
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:19 am 
 

caspian wrote:
I'd take a good short review over most. Something snappy and nice to read.

Yeah, such reviews can be quite classy when pulled off well.
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dystopia4
Thumbman

Joined: Mon Nov 16, 2009 6:47 pm
Posts: 4371
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 2:26 pm 
 

Just no-bullshit writing is preferable. No need to draw it out.
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Napalm_Satan
Veteran

Joined: Sat Apr 18, 2015 4:27 pm
Posts: 3138
PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 2:33 pm 
 

It takes a mature, experienced writer to concisely express thoughts on an album. Just a skill that has to be honed.
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Derigin
The Mountain Man

Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2006 6:25 am
Posts: 5003
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 6:59 pm 
 

True true. Usually those writers have been around this place for a while, and accumulated a high number of points and/or posts.
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