Jun 292010

Why do people read album reviews? In an extremely rare moment of logical thought, I decided that was a question worth considering when I started writing them myself. Just seemed to me that if I really wanted anyone to give a fuck about what I wrote, it might make sense to figure out what people were looking for. Here are the answers I came up with:

First, some people are looking for advice in deciding whether to spend their time (and maybe their money) on the music.

Second, even if readers already know the band and have their own opinions about the album, they’re curious about how the particular writer has reacted to it, and why — maybe as validation for their own opinions, maybe as a test about whether their own musical taste has finally fallen all the way into the shitter.

And/or third, they want to be entertained by the writing — even if they don’t really give a crap about the album itself.

I read album reviews for all three of those reasons, and I try to keep those reasons in mind when I write my own, even though I know full well that (a) anyone who looks to me for advice is scraping rock-bottom; (b) no one in their right mind would use my opinion as a standard by which to judge their own; and (c) my best shot at being entertaining depends on using words like “shitter,” “crap,” “fuck,” and “anus” as often as possible.

For me, the best reviews are those that satisfy all three of the criteria listed above. But I confess that, more and more, I read reviews for the third reason — to be entertained. I still read reviews to find new music, though the truth is that I already have so much new music to hear that I need more like I need a second anus. And I figured out a long time ago that I like so much of what I hear that testing my opinions against those of respected critics would just make me feel even more retarded than I already feel.

So, realizing that the desire to be entertained is a big part of why I gravitate to particular reviews, I decided to sample for you some of the best lines I found in music reviews over the past week. Why? Because it’s fucking entertaining.  (so, if you want to be fucking entertained, continue reading past the fucking jump . . .)

From the writer “Empty Hell” at Baroque, Bleak, Brutal, reviewing Watain‘s new album:

Watain’s “Lawless Darkness”, released June 7th,  is the musical equivalent of the Gulf spill. Totally relentless, life killing, and a thing you can see from space.

From a review by “non-metal fan” Aimee at MetalSucks about Impending Doom‘s forthcoming album, There Will Be Violence:

[I]t’s impressive that the singer can scream for that long without getting a sore throat. And the drummer can play very fast! I bet he practices a lot. In fact, all of these guys can play fast. Good for them!

From Cosmo Lee at Invisible Oranges, reviewing Nightbringer‘s new album:

Apocalypse Sun sounds expensive: clean and compressed, with much separation between instruments. For mainstream metal, the sound would be appropriate, but for underground black metal, it is problematic. The incessant kick drums suggest a sewing machine, and the relentless tremolo picking is too clearly defined. The result is tense and neurotic, like the spotless home of an OCD sufferer.

From Steff Metal (one of our own occasional guest contributors), reviewing Blackjazz by Shining on her own site:

It’s like the soundtrack from some future science-fiction jungle jazzhall, space-junkie Fear and Loathing in Los Vagas. It’s not headbanging music . . . it’s almost fit for a dance club. A dance club of your nightmares.

From Etan at Cerebral Metalhead, reviewing the self-titled EP by Kings Destroy:

Stoner metal should be played by ugly dudes for ugly dudes. . . . Point is, the almighty fuzz riff is best pursued and appreciated when sex is a non-issue, and bliss is the main objective. . . . Soak the band in bong resin for a millennium and they’ll be considered classic.

From Erik Thomas at Teeth of the Divine reviewing the album Spacemaker by Microtia:

I’m not much for gimmicks, but when a CD is sent to me with the ‘jewel case’ cut from a 12-pack of beer, and the track listing is printed on a Camels lights -pack, I’ll admit it: Well played, good sirs!

From Kris Yancey‘s review of Nachtmystium‘s new album, Addicts: Black Meddle Part II, at Teeth of the Divine:

For every step Nachtmystium takes in the right direction, it just veers right off course again. It’s like a dog that, for every new trick it learns, it manages to shit on the rug and completely blow its credibility as a good dog.

From Shelby Cobras‘ review at Illogical Contraption of an album by Medieval Demon:

Medieval Demon can’t seem to play two actual songs in a row, instead choosing to fuck with the cohesive flow of an otherwise solid (if overly “raw”) BM album with a bunch of candle-lit psuedo-classical vampire bullshit. Which isn’t necessarily a BAD thing . . . .

From EvilivE at The Number of the Blog (okay this isn’t from a review, but I can’t help but include it):

Going down like a fat chick’s pants at an ICP show.

From Shawn Macomber‘s review of Ozzy Osbourne‘s Scream in the current issue of Decibel:

If the Prince of Darkness strained more on this record than during his last shit, he’s definitely drinking more prune juice than vodka these days.

From Cosmo Lee (again) and his Decibel review of Dirt Communion‘s latest release, Antique Mechanic:

Perhaps we’ve gotten to a point where bands have become purely technicians. They’re simply executing commands that someone else laid  down, instead of coming up with their own.  How else to reconcile such thunderous musicianship with such thunderous unoriginality? Five percent body fat, bench press of 500 pounds, IQ of 50: a killer package, perhaps, depending on your inclination.

There’s more, but enough for today. By the way, why do you read album reviews? Or do you not bother with them? Leave comments please. And have a nice fucking day.

  4 Responses to “GOOD LINES”

  1. My primary reason to read reviews is to be entertained. I don’t read many blogs/reviews, but when I come across reviews I don’t usually read them all the way through. Skim it then quit. I’d rather hear these “brain pummeling” riffs. Although if the writer can keep my attention and be entertaining, then I’ll read it of course. I should admit, this entire blog is quite entertaining. Thanks for the amusing lines and article!

  2. I don’t know about the entertainment factor, but I like a review that actually shows that the person’s listened to the album more than a couple times and if they aren’t/weren’t already familiar with the band, they’ve done their homework as best they can. Nothing worse than seeing a review (for anything, games, books, movies too) written by someone who’s barely given it time or effort – or when they’ve made up their mind before even listening. It’s not always easy, but even a little bit goes a long way.

    But a review also needs to read as something with more character than a boring 700 page technical manual or the military’s guidelines for making brownies or oatmeal cookies. However, I think some go too far with their reviews and it turns into a mockery. Although there’s no one “right” way to do it, part of doing reviews – at least if you’re getting promos/advances – is to help promote the music and not just swipe the CD in your ass crack like a credit card and see what you get afterwards.

    • LMFAO: “part of doing reviews – at least if you’re getting promos/advances – is to help promote the music and not just swipe the CD in your ass crack like a credit card and see what you get afterwards.” Line of the day!

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