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Adam's Blog #3: On Reviewing

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    Posted: 27 Aug 2016 at 12:47pm
Yeah, the only argument about the music I've seen other than the "trve" and "kvlt" comments are about it being a rip-off as well. I just don't get it, not only is she one of the best black metal musicians I've heard, but it's also among the most unique black metal I've heard. I try to ignore it, assholes will be assholes, although it can be hard to ignore when it becomes so wide-spread (I'm looking at you elitists who say Metallica didn't do anything and are sell-outs).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 666sharon666 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Aug 2016 at 12:33pm
I was being semi-sarcastic. I know full well how so called 'trve' and 'kvlt' black metal fans can be (bad spellers for a start) and I know its them who give her such grief as a person. They do the same sort of thing with any black metal act that they deem too trendy (like Deafheaven). Which is why its kinda of ironic that the Myrkur image I posted has 'no trends' written on it. So what are they actually saying? That's she's not trendy enough?

My point was more about how those who at least try to bring her music into it don't actually offer up any decent argument to support why it's supposedly such garbage. Calling it amateur when an album like Filosofem is so well regarded rubs me up the wrong way. Filosofem is so minimalist every song sounds like you're listening to the same few bars of music over and over for each track's duration. Yet on RYM it's the top rated black metal album. How is that okay by them and Myrkur isn't? Because what it looks like to me is for church burning murdering racists like Varg Vikernes and for a woman who if you think about it did the exact opposite of selling out by moving from pop to black metal (if you want to play it without considering the music, as these elitists seem to).

And saying she's not true is bollocks as well. I reckon that they'd criticise her just the same even if she followed the early Mayhem/Darkthrone template by the book. In fact I've seen some calling her a copycat artist as it is, which is even more stupid as anyone whose heard her music can surely tell it's pretty far removed from Mayhem, Darkthrone and even well know atmospheric black metal like Burzum. Ulver's first is probably what M is closest to but I still don't see it as any kind of a rip off. No more than every B grade black metal act out there has ripped off Mayhem and Darkthrone or whoever in some way.

Fortunately the people here are not like this.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Unitron Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Aug 2016 at 10:35am
Originally posted by 666sharon666 666sharon666 wrote:

Yes she takes it well, but I still find it sickening the way some people have launched personal attacks against her. Some people have apparently sent her death threats as well. Metalheads often make a big thing about how metal is for everyone, but there's a portion here that are really letting the side down. And she's not the only female I've noticed getting this sort of harassment.

Most of the criticisms she receives don't seem to have anything to do with her actual music. Those that do make little sense given that she plays black metal which isn't exactly known for its virtuosic values. And I personally find her album to be a lot more interesting and unusual in the genre than most black metal is. I sometimes wonder if the people who criticise her even listen to much black metal. Calling her music amateurish seems rather ironic considering some of those early black metal releases. And meanwhile Filosofem is still ranked as the best black metal album of all time on RYM...which if anything has all the same 'flaws' people say Myrkur has, if not more so.


I think a lot of the people insulting her are actually black metal fans, as most black metal fans I've seen on other sites are among the most elitist of fans. I've seen some particularly disgusting Youtube comments on some of her videos, including one person who literally was saying she wasn't "Trve" (Actually said this, and not ironically) because she used to be a model and in a pop group.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote adg211288 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Aug 2016 at 5:00am
I happen to like Filosofem but I do get your point. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 666sharon666 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Aug 2016 at 3:51am
Yes she takes it well, but I still find it sickening the way some people have launched personal attacks against her. Some people have apparently sent her death threats as well. Metalheads often make a big thing about how metal is for everyone, but there's a portion here that are really letting the side down. And she's not the only female I've noticed getting this sort of harassment.

Most of the criticisms she receives don't seem to have anything to do with her actual music. Those that do make little sense given that she plays black metal which isn't exactly known for its virtuosic values. And I personally find her album to be a lot more interesting and unusual in the genre than most black metal is. I sometimes wonder if the people who criticise her even listen to much black metal. Calling her music amateurish seems rather ironic considering some of those early black metal releases. And meanwhile Filosofem is still ranked as the best black metal album of all time on RYM...which if anything has all the same 'flaws' people say Myrkur has, if not more so.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Nightfly Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Aug 2016 at 12:01pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote UMUR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Aug 2016 at 1:34pm
Originally posted by 666sharon666 666sharon666 wrote:

Counter reviews are the very reason I've never posted the longest review I ever wrote. I could never get it to read the way I intended it to, and it was a general counter to something rather than a direct response to one review/person.

I'm talking about Myrkur by the way. Ultimately I just gave up on my review. Adam and Khaliq both also touched on what I was trying to respond to anyway in their reviews - I think that's enough to show that there is a genuine problem with the backlash Myrkur got, especially when you get idiots making things like this:

https://www.facebook.com/myrkurmyrkur/photos/a.272794102908301.1073741827.197207977133581/570824123105296/?type=3&theater
Check out this comment by the lady herself...now that´s great humour Clap
 
Myrkur "Also they are not right about the "no ass", ask anyone who's stood behind me"
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TheHeavyMetalCat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Aug 2016 at 8:43am
That image makes me angry. It's good to see that she takes it in her stride though.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 666sharon666 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Aug 2016 at 1:26pm
Counter reviews are the very reason I've never posted the longest review I ever wrote. I could never get it to read the way I intended it to, and it was a general counter to something rather than a direct response to one review/person.

I'm talking about Myrkur by the way. Ultimately I just gave up on my review. Adam and Khaliq both also touched on what I was trying to respond to anyway in their reviews - I think that's enough to show that there is a genuine problem with the backlash Myrkur got, especially when you get idiots making things like this:

https://www.facebook.com/myrkurmyrkur/photos/a.272794102908301.1073741827.197207977133581/570824123105296/?type=3&theater
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Vim Fuego Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Aug 2016 at 1:12am
Originally posted by adg211288 adg211288 wrote:

I think a general reference to no one person/review in particular is okay. Used the right way it can give context to why you wrote something, though I'd personally only do that if I felt it was absolutely necessary. Generally I try to write with the assumption that my review is going to be read by someone who has never heard of the artist but is at least somewhat familiar with the genre of music (I can'r explain exactly what power metal or black metal sounds like in its base form in every review after all). 


This is all about writing to your audience. The reviews I submitted to the paper were very different to those I post here. In a newspaper, you never know who will read your review, so you need to cater to people who know very little about music. My Grandmother used to read mine, just because I'd written them! (As a godfearing Christian, I often wonder what she made of my Deicide review in the paper...) I have since rewritten some of them and posted them here, where there is definitely more scope for description, and no annoying fucking word count limit!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote adg211288 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Aug 2016 at 1:36pm
I think a general reference to no one person/review in particular is okay. Used the right way it can give context to why you wrote something, though I'd personally only do that if I felt it was absolutely necessary. Generally I try to write with the assumption that my review is going to be read by someone who has never heard of the artist but is at least somewhat familiar with the genre of music (I can'r explain exactly what power metal or black metal sounds like in its base form in every review after all). 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DippoMagoo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Aug 2016 at 1:26pm
Yeah, counter reviews can definitely be helpful if handled right. The problem is, in the situation I described, both reviews were poorly written, so that's not going to help anyone. It was clear I wrote that review only because I thought the other review was outright wrong and wanted to prove it, which was obviously an immature thing for a reivewer to do. Ideally, you would have a well written negative review and an equally well written positive review, so that way readers unfamilar with the band can get an idea of what the release is like and decide if they' like to check it out or not. 

I generally don't reference other reviews at this point, because that usually leads to trouble and is generally lazy to do (in fact a friend of mine got someone's review on RYM taken down recently for blatantly calling me out and criticizing my tastes,) but I will occasionally throw in small references. For example, my Timeless Miracle review had a couple, but I used them a lot more carefully than I did in the past, so they seemed like general observations.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote UMUR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Aug 2016 at 1:24pm
^Yeah definitely never mention other reviews or reviewers in your own reviews. It´s also pretty annoying to people who don´t know the original reviewer.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote adg211288 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Aug 2016 at 1:11pm
^ Great contribution Travis. 

The act of a counter review is tricky ground. On one hand if a review you disagree with motivates you to write your own that much you should go for it, but you've got to be subtle about it and make sure that your review can stand on its own without your reader having to go read the other review first. I'm sure many reviewers have fallen into that trap and really this also goes for referencing any other review even if you are agreeing with it: that review may not always be there after all. The reviewer may change it or pull it completely at any time. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DippoMagoo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Aug 2016 at 1:00pm
I never saw this topic until today, probably because it happened while I was in the hospital and before I had access to my laptop. One thing I can add: I've personally never had negative feedback on my reviews (even in one case where I wrote a terrible 0.5 star review on RYM the band seemed more interested to know why I hated the album than actually offended by it,) but I was involved with a bit of a siutation. 

Basically, back at the first site I was doing promos for, one of the reviewers made a forum post explaining he was working on a promo but hated the album so much he couldn't get through a single listen, and asked if people thought he should go through with the review anyway. He did, despite me and another person saying it wasn't a good idea, and long story short, I discovered one of my best friends on RYM loved the band in question, so I pointed him to the review and shortly after I heard from the person who ran the site that he had recieved an email blasting that review, and I knew it was my friend who did it, because he told me he had. I too thought the review was terribly written, so I did what I thought was the best thing to do at the time: I checked the album for myself and got to work on my own review. Well, surprise surprise, I loved the album but because I was a bit immature as a reviewer back then, my review looked like a blatant counter to the other review, and so I recieved a bit of negative feedback from the site before it got posted (we had a place where we worked on reviews and the admins of the site could see what the staff was working on before it was submitted,) leading to a heavily edited version being posted. 

A slightly revised version of the original review still exists on RYM, though I won't directly link it because even though I made some good points in it, I also made some of the most obvious mistakes a reviewer shouldn't make, the most obvious being that you should never write a review specifically to counter someone and make them look bad, which is essentially what I did. Yes, writing a detailed positive review can help when the only other review on the site for that album is negative, but directly mentioning other reviews in any way is an obvious no-no and back then I didn't know better. So basically, that whole situation was handled quite terribly by just about everyone involved. (For those curious, the album in question was http://www.metalmusicarchives.com/album/andromeda/manifest-tyranny, though I'd never post that review here for the reasons I already mentioned.)

Thankfully, since then I haven't had any similar situations. I have gotten a decent amount of positive feedback for my reviews over the years, though. In fact, I've gotten shout outs from the makers of my two favorite albums of all time (one of them was even for a review I specifically wrote for MMA recently) so that's pretty awesome.

My experiences are different from Adam's though, because I'm part of a team so I don't have to worry about encountering some of the challenges he faces. I pretty much get to pick and choose what I cover and know new albums from the labels will always show up for me. I do occasionally experience burnouts, but even then it's usually more struggling to come up with opening paragraphs for a review than it is not being motivated to listen to my promos. I did enjoy reading Adam's write up though, and can agree that a lot of the things he brought up on both sides would be problems.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote adg211288 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Aug 2016 at 4:00am
Originally posted by siLLy puPPy siLLy puPPy wrote:

Have you ever had anyone go ape sit over a negative review?

Digging up an old post here, but I realised something else that you could say was someone going ape shit over a review:

Quite some time ago I gave a negative review to someone and at the time nothing was said about it. I'd forgotten about it until recently when I was expecting a promo for a release I was expecting to review from them. It didn't arrive, which is when I realised I haven't received a damn thing from that label since I gave one of theirs a bad write-up.

If being struck off someone's promo list for giving a negative review isn't going age shit, I don't know what is. 

This was the review in question (rating was lowered from original 2.5 to 2 due to revising my rating system): http://www.metalmusicarchives.com/review/omniscient/297439
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote adg211288 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Apr 2016 at 12:39pm
Originally posted by Unitron Unitron wrote:

I really hate that the "reviews" voted most helpful are just people trying to be funny instead of the real reviews as you said. 

I think it speaks volumes that Valve felt the need to add a funny option on the review feedback.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Unitron Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Apr 2016 at 12:32pm
Originally posted by adg211288 adg211288 wrote:

I'd forgotten about these cases as the reviews were not for music but I have had someone get mad at what I wrote for a both a TV boxset review posted to Amazon and one for a video game review posted to Steam

The boxset review was for the first season of the show Legend of the Seeker. It was based on the fantasy book series The Sword of Truth by Terry Goodkind. Goodkind's books are mature fantasy in the vein of Game of Thrones but where that show (which didn't exist then) is faithful to the tone of the books the producers of Seeker decided to take something that was written strictly for adults and make a family friendly show out of it. And this wasn't even its worst offence. The bigger offence was that they made a 22 episode season out of the first book and only four of that number had anything at all to do with the book's plot. The rest either did their own thing with pointless side stories or went out of their way to do the exact opposite to the book's established canon. It short they completely butchered it and I gave the series a negative review (2/5).

Enter the rapid fans who promptly informed me about how wrong I was and that my criticism were basically invalid because the series was only meant to be 'based on' the books (which ironically they think are shit) and not an actual 'adaptation'. I was unaware there was a difference. Apparently there was 'no point' in comparing how faithful the series was to its source in 'ridiculous detail'. I expect these are the same sort of people who complain about Game of Thrones being too full of sex and violence. Anyone's who's extensively read fantasy should know the majority of it is not for the kids.

The game review was for Slender: The Arrival which I thought was a pretty good horror experience but a bad video game experience. I can't remember exactly what the comments said now as this review doesn't exist any more as I decided to pull everything I wrote from Steam due to the mentality of the user base but I felt that I gave it a fair write-up based on my experience of the title. Again, enter the rabid fan who was quick to tell me I wasn't qualified to give the game a negative write-up. He seemed most pissed that my review had actually been voted up as the most helpful review as well. Another one was genuinely upset that I had given the game a negative review saying something like 'I don't care if you didn't like it but don't rag on the game and hurt its reputation for the rest of us'. 

I eventually deleted all my Steam reviews as I couldn't stand the user base any longer. I've since put a new review up to test the waters but found it hasn't changed much. It's a place where throwaway reviews that don't really tell you much get voted up and thought out ones that actually evaluate the game get voted down as unhelpful. My testing the waters review was for a simple point and click game that I found a game breaking bug in that required a complete restart to get by so I based my negative largely on that (while praising the game in general and pointing out that it would be a positive otherwise). Apparently pointing out this serious problem in the game meant the review was 'unhelpful' though. 

Here's the Slender review. You guys tell me if it describes a game you want to play (the game has actually been updated since this was written but I never played the new version):

Quote I've been a fan of horror video games, particularly survival horror, ever since buying the Penumbra and Amnesia titles. Following them I'm always on the lookout for further horror titles for my collection, the latest of which to find its way there being the 2013 game Slender: The Arrival. I've seen the game called before a sequel and extended version of the previous game Slender: The Eight Pages. I haven't played the original, so I'm not sure which is correct. Perhaps it's both.

In any case Slender: The Arrival does what every other horror game I've played since Amnesia: The Dark Descent has failed to do, and that is give such an experience to prompt a panicky sort of gameplay as you desperately try to keep the player character alive.

Ironically this is what makes Slender: The Arrival such a poor survival horror experience. The game starts off more positively, featuring exploration and very little danger, but enough creepiness to keep you wary of your surroundings, and jumping at every little noise and cautiously poking into dark rooms of the house that marks up part of the early setting. You're following clues in regard to the disappearance of your friend Kate and any moment you're expecting something to happen and have to run, like in any good survival horror game where you can't defend yourself.

Well that happens, but when it does happen it simply does not relent. The titular Slender Man attacks relentlessly after the first area of the game is completed, resulting in that panicky gameplay I previously mentioned. You'll spend a lot of time running. As a horror experience I can't fault it, but the trouble is the attacks from the Slender Man are so frequent it begins to kill the atmosphere and become simply tedious. And the game only has autosave, and only at the start of each level, so if you fail you potentially lose a lot of progress. But hey, now you know what you did wrong right? Wrong. The second chapter randomises itself , placing the items you need in different locations. Good replay value if you were going to start the game from scratch, but utterly frustrating when you're only reloading after a death.

The next chapter seemed more thought out, with a different enemy known as the Chaser with the Slender Man markedly less troublesome than previously. This does of course change again in the later stages of the game as you try to escape a forest fire, with no real clue about where you're meant to be running too, and it is only by sheer dumb luck I eventually got out of that area. But then, I suppose that is good for a horror game is it not?

Well, I can't deny that developer Blue Isle Studios make a good horror experience in Slender: The Arrival. What I do deny is that they made a good game out of it. The story is rather vague, perhaps intentionally but even so, fleshing out a proper plot is essential for any game, and Slender: The Arrival seems to really scrimp on the details and in my opinion it suffers for it. The ending is especially deflating and sudden when it comes. I actually groaned thinking I'd just got killed again before the achievement popped for beating the game. The gameplay is further more rather repetitive even for such a short game, which can be beaten in under 45 minutes, going by the requirements for one of its speed runner achievements. It's basically a lot of running, collecting items, and shining your torch at things. Said torch went dead towards the end of the game, leaving me in pitch darkness and literally unable to progress due to not being able to see a single thing beyond the outline of the video camera the character holds throughout, a item which serves no particularly use, by the way.

I want to like Slender: The Arrival, I really do. But it's difficult. The game is good horror, yes, but it is not fun. Surviving is down to luck and running, leaving no room for really thinking problems through and trying to find a solution. Disappointing because it has the potential to be so much more.



Really good review, it certainly doesn't make me want to play the game.

I could go on and on about how many issues I have with the Steam user base, but I'll keep it on topic. I really hate that the "reviews" voted most helpful are just people trying to be funny instead of the real reviews as you said. I wrote a negative review of Star Wars Dark Forces II a few years ago, and while to be fair I've since replaced it as it was pretty badly written review being one of my first reviews, it got many down votes. Although the review I replaced it also needs to be replaced as I didn't go into as much detail as I wanted, and that's one of the unfinished reviews I have saved to my computer. I think the main thing keeping me from reviewing it is that I'm not wanting to go through playing it again. LOL
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote siLLy puPPy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Apr 2016 at 7:00am
Originally posted by Vim Fuego Vim Fuego wrote:

Originally posted by siLLy puPPy siLLy puPPy wrote:

Have you ever had anyone go ape sit over a negative review?


Several times on Amazon. Suffocation fans seem to be particularly venomous.LOL


Those charming Suffocation fans need to sit back take a deep breath and visualize exactly what those other talents of the Great Kat are :)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Vim Fuego Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Apr 2016 at 4:25am
Originally posted by adg211288 adg211288 wrote:


One other thing semi-related, I don't usually bring up this review as it should be let lie now (which means do not post shouts on it - I'll just delete them) but this is a great example of how not to write a review. http://www.metalmusicarchives.com/review/aquarius/270812


I would have been proud of that rant myself if it had been more coherent and actually understood the point it was trying to make.LOL Not very well written at all. It's a perfect demonstration as to why you should keep the words "I", "me" and "my" out of a review. The discussion about it got quite heated too.
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