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hells_unicorn's profile

Metal demon 
Full name:
United States 
Favourite metal genre(s):

I've been a writer for The Metal Observer webzine for about 12 years now, and have been writing for Sonic Perspectives for about 3 years, along with occasionally having work published on Loud Hailer Magazine and Lots Of Muzic, hence those annoying "Originally written for blank website" tags at the end of some of my reviews. I omit the score sheet and verdict summary portions of my Sonic Perspectives and Lots Of Muzic reviews when posting them here, and my scores here are rounded up or down to increments of 5 on The Metal Observer. Most of my work is done exclusively for this site, as it was for my first 3 years as a registered user here.

I'm the lead guitarist and principle songwriter for Ominous Glory (Symphonic Power Metal), an on-again/off-again project that I've had on hold for upwards of 15 years and have only recently managed to make active in a studio capacity. Some of the material for said project was written as far back as my latter high school days in 1997/1998, heavily influenced by Iron Maiden and Dio (prior to my discovery of the emerging European power metal scene), and it has since developed into a backlog of close to 10 LPs worth of material that I hope to have recorded in the coming years.

I have previously played lead guitar for Frost Giant (Folk/Melodic Death Metal/Hardcore) from 2007 until 2017 and contributed to every release up until The Harlot Star. I also played Dave Murray's guitar parts in the Philadelphia-based Iron Maiden Tribute Band known as Tailgunner from 2014 until 2017.

In the past I was a very avid CD collector and a completist, though over the past couple years my collection has slowed in growth due to economic reasons and ease of access via Spotify. My listed collection on my profile has not been updated since February of 2008 and accounts for about a third of albums I own on CD, cassette and vinyl.

When I first joined this website I was going through a power metal craze and largely stuck to said sub-genre when reviewing, along with various old school heavy metal and 80s thrash albums that I was initially exposed to in my childhood. Since around 2008 my horizons have broadened to include most sub-genres of metal, though I tend to show a great deal of skepticism towards groove, deathcore, metalcore, grindcore and death n' roll acts in general, with a few noted exceptions.

Review Scale

100 - An album that maximizes all the elements of the genre. Perfection is a relative concept that relates to what an individual looks for in a collection of songs, in my case memorability, quality, musicality and production. If I can stay in another world through the entire album, it's perfect by my standards.

90 to 99 - An excellent album for it's particular genre, well worth seeking out at full price.

80 to 89 - A good album with very few flaws, listens well for most or all it's duration, worth getting at full price.

70 to 79 - A mostly solid listen, maybe a few songs that sound like filler or some uninspired elements, shop for at $10 or less.

60 to 69 - A flawed album that contains a few exceptional songs, worth $7 or less.

50 to 59 - Mediocre or a couple inspired songs surrounded by filler, worth $5 or less.

40 to 49 - Mediocre to annoying, often contains an element that ruins most of the listen, $3 for bargain hunters or completists.

30 to 39 - Poor, worthy of deriding by educated or profane means, not worth seeking out.

20 to 29 - Bad, either completely devoid of worth musically, technically or production wise.

10 to 19 - Terrible, may cause physical pain to listen to, masochists are encouraged to stick to conventional S&M so we can avoid the whole "My son commited suicide because of the music" bullshit from happening yet again.

0 to 9 - It literally stops being aesthetically displeasing and simply becomes either a vulgar insult to the listener or a joke that is so ridiculously funny that it ceases to be such and is instead disturbing. Picture the South Park episode "Scott Tenorman Must Die" ending and place yourself in Scott's shoes and you'll have an idea of what you're in for.

"Remember my fellow critics, as I, you are but one person with an opinion. Its worth is reflected in the joy of those who profit from your words by finding the music that they seek to love. Use them and use them well." (myself)