(Andy Synn wrote this piece, reflecting on the passage of roughly seven years after the publication of his first piece at NCS — this one.)
…yada, yada, yada, you know the rest, right?
Seriously though, I recently passed the seventh anniversary of my coming onboard to write for NCS, and it’s caused me to reflect on my time here, and how lucky I am to have a platform where what I think and what I write can make a difference – if only a small one – to so many bands.
I’ve always felt that writing for NCS is not just a privilege, but a responsibility, and one which I take very seriously.
Because although I may not have “great” power… I’m still incredibly fortunate to have a voice which people (well, some people) will listen to. And, for better or worse, that voice has had an influence over the years. And that’s a power I’ve always tried to use responsibly.
It helps of course that NCS doesn’t use ads, doesn’t farm for clicks, and that we’re really not interested in sucking up to labels and PR companies (even if I do still get a kick out of seeing my words quoted in press releases, etc).
Heck, I know for a fact that some of them stopped sending us promos… not because we’ve ever leaked anything (not going to happen) but because we simply weren’t nice enough about one of their bands!
Still, I’ve always been proud to write for a site which is independent, self-sufficient, and (largely) self-reliant. Which means that, for the most part, I hope you can all be confident we’re not being influenced by outside forces.
Well, not excessively so anyway.
I know that I’ve rubbed some people the wrong way over the years, and I’ve been accused of all sorts of things, largely by passing commenters who either don’t know the site and how we work, or who just had a bee in their bonnet because I was too nice to a band they hate… or not nice enough to a band they love.
But I can say, with hand on my pitch-black heart, that I’ve always tried to be as objective as humanly possible when reviewing the many, many albums I’ve covered here at NCS. And although true objectivity is obviously a pipe-dream, I’ve always tried to be as self-aware as possible, tried to limit or counteract any bias or prejudice (positive or negative) that might creep in, and always, always, tried to be scrupulously honest in both my praise and my criticism.
Sometimes of course this has led me to go against the grain a little – to praise bands who’ve been criticised elsewhere, or to criticise bands who most blogs/sites seem to be falling all over themselves to praise.
But I promise you, I’ve never done so just to be contrarian or to be self-aggrandising. And if I truly feel like I need to write something that goes against the prevailing opinion… well, you’d better believe I’ve always tried to back it up, and I’m always willing to put my money where my mouth is in these circumstances.
Like I said. It’s a responsibility, and one which I take very seriously.
But it’s also very much my privilege to write here, and joining the team here at NCS has quite honestly been one of the best things that’s ever happened to me.
Through NCS I’ve come to make so many new friends, to discover (and in certain cases befriend) so many new bands, and had the opportunity to go to so many more shows and festivals – both at home and abroad – than I ever would have otherwise.
And I guarantee you that Beyond Grace wouldn’t be in the position we are now, slowly starting to make a name for ourselves without any label backing, and looking towards finally getting out to tour Europe (and possibly even America… if anyone might be interested in that?) next year, without the help and exposure which Islander and NCS have given us over the years.
And speaking of Islander… if there’s anyone to credit for all of this, it’s him.
Let’s face it, none of us would be here – I wouldn’t now be writing this, you wouldn’t be reading it – without Islander’s dedication to Metal, or his generosity (and patience).
So here’s to Islander… and to all of you… for making the last seven years so brilliant. And don’t worry, I’m nowhere near done yet!
Anyway, that’s enough mawkish sentimentality for one evening. Here’s the new Krallice album.