Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Thoughts On Reviewing Pt.II

Since nobody commented on the last one, I doubt that anyone will comment or even read this one. But I'm going to write it anyway. You should know by now that I'm not exactly 100% familiar with the entire history of metal. While I do know a great deal about some of my personal favorite acts, because I liked them enough to want to know more about them - I am not an omnibus of all the names of musicians and styles and such. I also really don't have that much of a grip on the terminology of music. Arpeggios, tremolos? They just sounded like riffs to me. Yeah, it's a bit meat headed; but I've never studied music. Again, I'm a writer who happens to enjoy and review music and several other things (like books on my author page) so I express these in the terminology that I know. I do however, make true on the promise that if you send me something, I will review it. It might be a while, but it'll get done. Right now, my inbox is full of promos and submissions, which I haven't been able to get to yet; but will be getting to around the time this posts. I download each and every album with the full intention to promote everything, (as long as it isn't live, as I don't really do too many live albums. Mockingbird was the exception.) but it just takes a while, so bear with me on that.

One thing that I really don't like these days, are elitists. First of all, elitist stems from the word "elite" which makes me think of the powers that be (the rich wealthy bastards who run this world) and their level of thinking is something I abhor. Elite means to put one's self and one's tastes above all others. There are elitists in films, video games, books, television programs, and of course - music. While there are certain areas of these entertainment medium that aren't so great; some of us are too quick to judge an act without having actually heard one song. I'll admit that I after playing Jets N' Guns, that I was kind of frightened when hearing that Machinae Supremacy had a vocalist. Then I kind of looked at the band and kind of thought it would be emo. I listened to the vocals and thought they might take a bit to grow on me, but I let them grow on me and now I certainly have to say that I'm a huge fan of this really great act. But yeah, I like Cradle Of Filth and Daniel's work in that band also. Is it just vocals for me? Nope. I get plenty of sub-par vocalists in bands; but if the music is good enough it sometimes doesn't matter unless the ball has been dropped entirely as far as singing is concerned. I listen to many genres of metal, having grown up with the nu-metal scene and not having been familiar with the thrash and doom that emerged before those years, or even classic death and black. So I did my research and checked some of these old albums out. I listened to Sabbath, Slayer, Venom, Mercyful Fate, Metallica (classic era) old Opeth, Cannibal Corpse, Deicide, Emperor, Mayhem, Darkthrone, Megadeth, Destruction, Morbid Angel, Carcass and several others in that spectrum (I've still got many more that I need to listened to yet) as well as obscure acts that I found intriguing. I've found that I like all of this music for the most part and can see where many of the newer bands get their influences. I also like when the reissues come out, because I do like to hear these old albums. Of course these bands have had their share in great eras of the genre. And yes, I'll admit that I can see the work of industrial hands coming into our scene. Nothing these days comes without a price. Heck, even The Insane Clown Posse have their own television spot on FUSE now where they do what Beavis And Butthead did in the 90's. I never would have thought these guys would "sell out" like they have, but they're old and need money. Things have changed.

Abigor made a facebook post about the spirit of black metal being killed because black metal shouldn't be played during Wacken festivals and didn't like that zines cut their interviews (sorry guys, that's out of my hands when I submit articles for NN) and don't like that people post "fake reviews" because they're either hardcore fans or want to bash on them. Of course, my answer to all that would be, "If you hate that the spirit of black metal is dying, then why are you even on Facebook? In the 90's would we have had black metal social networking? Who's the pot calling the kettle black now?" But the fact of the matter is, that black metal is no longer "niche." Blame who? Blame the internet. Nothing is a niche genre anymore, because of social networking. Everything connected, means that there's nothing sacred anymore. Even obscure fetishes are commonplace on Youtube if you just type in the right words.

So guess what? I have no reason to be an elitist. Never have, never will. Some people have a fit because an actor isn't a good actor, but they'll put him in a good film. Everyone gets a chance, as far as I'm concerned. I've seen worse movies, bar-none. Just like I've heard worse albums, bar-none. If I don't like your album, I'll tell you. I don't sugarcoat or pad ratings. And I also don't believe on shitting all over something because you don't necessarily like the genre. I've heard gore-grind before, but you saw me give that Necrotic Disgorgement album a very high score. Because I liked it. Not my genre, but they pulled it off and people are entitled to that. That's why I'll review anything, as long as you're willing to accept my honest thoughts.

At The Grim Tower, we're not an encyclopedia of terms and band histories. I regurgitate what I'm given from the PR info, but you're on your own after that. Some of these guys reviewing in larger magazines like Decibel will mention names of vocalists and guitarists, drummers exc. to act like they know what they're talking about. But as for me, if I don't know them; they're just a bunch of dudes. My job is to listen to the disc and give you my thoughts. That simple. That's all a review of anything is, or should be. Maybe my thoughts are long-winded, but maybe they're a short paragraph. They're still my true thoughts. I've got no reason to lie, if something sucks then I'm not going to say it doesn't. I try to look for the good in most things, so even if an album's terrible - I try to find at least something there of merit. But 9/10, if you've written an album where every song sounds the same and it begins to grate on my nerves, then you'll be told as such. And you know what I mean, by "every song sounds the same." I mean that if I change to another track, that track sounds exactly like the last one. Maybe one different riff, but the same thing. But then again, it's my impression of a disc and I won't lie that I've heard albums where each song sounds just like the last, but that song was a good song; so I don't mind hearing the same approach. Keep in mind, that's really fucking rare.

So to cap this, I don't like elitists and I review based on my experience of the album. My reviews aren't perfect, but they're fact. If you walk up to me in public and ask me why I didn't like "X" album and I can remember it; I will sit there and tell you why I didn't like it. It's really that simple. I like what I like and you like what you like, as there is no 100% accurate and proven scientific system that determines the paramount of human created mediums. Alternatively, I ask that you would use these reviews as a guide in what an album sounds like, not necessarily as to what you should think about it. One should make their own decisions in life. I just tell you some of what is out and will be out and how it sounds from the listen, plus my overall thoughts. Please think for yourself. There is just not enough of "that" these days - thinking.

Once again, it's really that simple.

No comments:

Post a Comment