Angry Metal LisaEvery now and again—namely, most every time we post a negative review of a popular band—some reader will comment on how it seems like we’re always trashing major label releases. They argue that we’re not being fair and that we underrate records. They explain that records have received universal acclaim and that we’re just being contrarian (even jokingly referring to me as Contrarian Metal Guy). They accuse us of being elitists who are just bashing popular bands because we want to be trve or kvlt (I gave a 5/5 to fucking [Luca Turilli’s] Rhapsody [of Fire]. lol.). I don’t think these are particularly good representations of what we do here or that these comments are reflective of why it is that negative reviews get posted. And I’m sure it’s frustrating and a bit of a shock because, of course, it’s true that we tend to rate things differently than other sites do. I have, frankly, even considered doing away with ratings altogether, because people get so obsessively focused on them.1 I have never openly responded to these accusations, because I don’t want to waste the time and energy. However, there is one complaint which deserves a rebuttal because it’s just flat out wrong and I want to set the record straight publicly.

We here at Angry Metal Guy never (never, ever) write contrarian reviews for the purpose of gaining website views. We are not the Slate of the heavy metal world, launching out #slatepitch bombs at an unsuspecting metal world as some sort of crazy clickbait strategy. We are not intentionally being risqué to get clicks. Anyone who thinks that this is the case has an incorrect understanding of the payoff structures of the very special endeavor of reviewing music and the music industry as a whole. I’ve covered these grounds previously, but they simply bear repeating, since I see this nonsense on an all too frequent basis.

Music reviewing is predicated on the good grace of the industry on which we are dependent. We do not review records that we have not received as promo, which means that we are dependent upon labels to give us access to promotional materials pre-release. This has led to conflicts between me and the people who do promo for different labels, which I have written about rather angrily before. In the past few years, the distance between release date and the release of promos has simply become more minimal and the reason for that is because the day the new Slayer leaks is also the day that all the bloggers get the new promo.2 These details are relevant, however, to make a point: if at any point a blogger or a music writer crosses the line, labels can exert pressure on them by removing their access or by downgrading them. That I receive such ridiculously spotty promotional materials from Nuclear Blast has to do with the fact that I pissed off my promo guy. He doesn’t respond to my e-mails anymore, plain and simple. I sent him a review link a while back, to which he responded with something like “Oh yeah, I heard about that one.” This might be ‘inside baseball,’ but it’s important to get this across: we are dependent upon labels for access, which means that labels have the ultimate leverage over AngryMetalGuy.com if we want to be able to make this site run and to be able to review big releases. I am, for example, certain that I will never receive any promotional material from Iron Maiden again after my review. My footnote about the matter was not tongue-in-cheek. That’s not paranoia; that’s experience.

whatifyourerightThe second important point to keep in mind is that reviews aren’t big hits from a viral perspective. We focus specifically on reviews, for the most part, and that leads to a situation where we are dependent upon momentary spikes in traffic that are tied to a release date. This is a bad business model, which is why the most successful metal blogs produce tons of tiny news posts, opinion pieces, and give zero shits about meaningful reviews of records. Only high-profile releases like Pale CommunionThe Book of Souls, etc., are things that have long shelf-lives; my Record o’ the Month posts do way better than any individual review every month. Furthermore, no one cares about reviews we wrote three years ago except us. Someone might Google their way in to it, but most of our traffic is dependent upon that one, single spike in traffic. Why is this important? When Amon Amarth shares your unnecessarily gushy review, it breaks your website. If Opeth had deigned to share my review, it would have been a billion hits in a day. If Nile or In Vain or The Black Dahlia Murder doesn’t share our reviews, then it is site regulars and those who are out actively looking for reviews that see our stuff. Now, our site regulars are a much bigger pool than the industry is probably comfortable with these days, but our readership would be even larger if we had gotten the kind of reach you get from posting about how a band just released their best record EVER and omfg it’s dark and so heavy and the greatest!11! When we gush, fans and bands share the material, labels pimp it, our reviews get blurbed and that’s great visibility for us. That moment is super important. It was my gushy review of Amorphis‘s Skyforger that got this website established to begin with, because the band shared that review.3 And every time we review a record that is a 2.5 or a 1.5 for a big band, we are nipping viewership in the bud.

Why, then, do we write negative reviews? Well it started out like this: I wrote a review of everything I listened to. It’s just that simple; why should I waste my time listening to an album I’m not going to review? I am always in the business of trying to find new music to listen to which meant that when I would get new promos I’d pop ’em in. And as soon as I was listening to something, I figured I should review it. These days, things work a little differently. Our reviewers, for the most part, choose things to review based on the expectation that they’re going to like it. Aside from trying to maintain continuity between the first person who reviewed something and the current reviewer,4 people look at things that they should like and choose it. But once you’ve dibbed a record, you review it.5 I think this serves a couple of purposes, neither of which were intentional. First, it gives us a broader spectrum of reviews. Second, it helps to give a complete picture of what we here at Angry Metal Guy like and don’t. If you had me pegged as a power metal guy, you might be surprised to know what I think of Anubis Gate. Or, you might know that I’ve been a longtime Iron Maiden fan, so surely my opinion on the new album gives you a sense of what it is about Maiden I like. This attitude is similar to why we should force negative studies to be published in medical testing. Why on earth would we only accept the positive views as somehow painting a complete picture of what works and/or doesn’t? And why should I trust a reviewer who only ever says nice things about the music they review?

Yes, we write negative reviews. But while we write negative reviews, we don’t do it to be intentionally contrarian and even if we are doing it to be contrarian, it’s not a disingenuous attempt to create clickbait—because that would be fucking stupid. Most people read our reviews in order to confirm their cognitive biases about records, and labels share our reviews because the sheen of independence makes our reviews valuable (and very, very cheap) advertising. It is therefore always in our interests to be positive. It would also make my life a lot easier if my promo guy actually bothered to respond to my e-mails or get me records in time so that we could review things before they leaked. But, alas, we’re far too stubborn and stupid to simply kowtow to an industry that simply wants to use us as an advertising medium. You don’t have to like our reviews and you don’t have to like our opinions. But you really should stop accusing us of doing this to be edgy or to drive site views, because that just shows that you don’t have a clue how this whole thing works.  

Show 5 footnotes

  1. I wrote an in-depth review of In Vain‘s last album, which I said was very good and was quite laudatory throughout. I rated it 3.5 and when they never shared the link on their Facebook I asked why and I was told that the rating was too low. Recently the producer of the new Riverside record came through and looked at my review and my critiques and basically implied that I had panned the album. And watching individuals in our comment sections say that they completely agree with my critiques of the new Iron Maiden record and then saying “But it’s still a 3.5 or 4,” is absolutely mind-blowing for me. Ratings are so subjective I can hardly cope, and they cause us more headaches than most anything else.
  2. This is not always true, of course, and suggesting it’s only bloggers would feed directly into the quite unfair treatment that labels have of bloggers. Even embargoed records leak, such as the last two Nightwish records; neither of which was received as promo until after release date, despite them having been on torrent sites for a couple of weeks prior.
  3. They didn’t share my recent gushy one on Facebook as, I suspect, the score wasn’t high enough.
  4. Also, I can steal anyone’s review at any time because I’m Angry Fucking Metal Guy.
  5. Again, unless you’re me. At which point I make someone else review the shit I don’t want to review.
Tagged with →  
Share →
  • Darren

    Nicely put. I’m not sure what leap of logic is required to accuse AMG of clickbait, but this is a good riposte from a(n angry) guy with clear extensive knowledge of how the industry (mis)functions.

  • Dr. A.N. Grier

    Well said. I had other things I was going to say but they would be redundant.

    Pretty annoying to work as hard as we do to knock out as many reviews as possible and get accused of “being contrary” and writing “clickbait.”

    • We call you “Doctor Clickbait” behind your back.

      • Dr. A.N. Grier

        I fucking knew it!

        • Well, we were kinda loud.

          • Dr. A.N. Grier

            You guys always are. Even when I close my door, I can still hear your insults. Words hurt. A lot.

          • Pimpolho

            Maybe hearing the new Vardan album will make you feel better?

          • Dr. A.N. Grier

            Which one???!!!

          • 4 through 11.

          • Dr. A.N. Grier

            Then the answer is a very strong “no.”

          • Pimpolho

            I guess it would add up in the insults list.

    • Yet another click bait comment. You are shameless Doc!

      • He’s a master clickbaiter.

        • You wot m8?

          Or, as I prefer to call him, simply a master-baiter.

      • Dr. A.N. Grier

        Well son of a bitch…

  • dduuurrrr dddduuuurrrr

    I only come to this site because of it’s brutal honesty. I started reading a year or more ago, got into a HUGE fight with AMG himself who held his own without getting insulting (though it was nasty) and we sorta ended it agreeing to disagree.

    I’ve visited every day since.

    I consider this site the ONLY place to get truly good reviews online. Last Rites being a close second but I HATE that they don’t rate their albums anymore. Rating makes it easy for users, I decide to read a whole review usually base don the rating because I often check while I’m at work and can’t necessarily read the whole thing. So depending on the rating (be it a surprise, a release I was waiting for or something I’ve never heard of that got a 4) I come back later to check it out.

    • What did we throw down about? I’m glad it made you come back. That’s a great story!

      • Kronos

        Beefin’!

        • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

          We need to put it on a bun and call that old lady from the Wendy’s commercial…she can finally be at peace.

      • dduuurrrr dddduuuurrrr

        Well on the grounds that we won’t continue arguing about it: It was if Black Dahlia Murder should be considered metalcore

        • Kronos

          Hah!

        • Oh man, yeah. I get fucking mad about that.. haha.

          • dduuurrrr dddduuuurrrr

            I just remember it lasted multiple days.

            And other members of the team started showing up trying to break it up.

            Good times.

          • Levly

            Speaking of which, I was sad not to see a review of Abysmal (or of the new Istapp for that matter) :(. No masterpieces, but I quite enjoy both of them.

          • There’ll be a review of Abysmal coming, Istapp I’m not sure I’ll get to, unfortunately.

          • Levly

            Well, one on two is already great…and you could give the other to one of your obedient servant writers ;).
            Anyway, thanks for this and everything else!

    • RuySan

      Yes, Last Rites is the other music review site that i like, but since it doesn’t support RSS; sometimes i forget it exists.

      • André Snyde Lopes
        • RuySan

          Thanks!

        • Matt Vogt

          Whoa, I’ve kept my LastRites tab open for about two years on the basis that they don’t publish a feed, and now you tell me?

          Great day for review lovers!

          • André Snyde Lopes

            No RSS, no life!

    • [not a Dr]

      You must mean br00tal honesty…

  • mindbleach

    “Most people read our reviews in order to confirm their cognitive biases about records”

    I can’t speak for the rest of this site’s readership but for me I visit AMG to discover new bands, primarily. I’ve loved metal for a long time but always found it hard to find new music beyond the BRVTALDEATHMETALORNOTHINGELSE attitude I found everywhere else. Reading AMG I find new bands I love on nearly a weekly basis.

    • Maybe I’m being unfair, but I certainly do get the impression that a lot of people who have already heard albums are out looking for reviews.

      • Beardfist

        That probably extends from the comments, which not everyone posts. While I do definitely check for you lots’ take on new releases from folk I know of, chances are that I found those folk through here in the first place. I think a lot of folk dig through the reviews every now and then, rarely speakin’ all too oft in the process.

      • Scotoma

        Sometimes you know you like/dislike something, but you can’t exactly pin down why. Well written reviews can help with that

    • Matthew Jeffreys

      I gotta agree with you mindbleach, the main purpose of my daily visit to this site is to discover bands that I otherwise would never know about, both Nechochwen and Mgla are two very recent bands in this category. Absolutely stunning releases in both cases.
      That all the reviews are composed so well and seem to me to be generally on the mark is an added bonus.
      However I do agree with AMG as well. My diving in to the recent reviews of Genexus, Repentless, Book of Souls were indeed to cement my own feelings on the records. I almost feel guilty when I dont like an album my a band that I’ve liked for years. That many on AMG share my opinions makes me feel warm and fuzzy though;-)

    • tim.o

      That… and AMG features bands that don’t cater to the flavor of the month propaganda found elsewhere. God, do I dislike “kvlt”; well at least I am extremely skeptical of it.

  • eloli

    As much as I agree with you, there’s some inherent elitism when underground releases are reviewed, and some bands become critics darlings just because they’re obscure, and some genres are critically more acclaimed than others.

    Case in point: Mgla, and raw black metal.

    I’m not much of a black metal guy, but after reading five rave reviews of Exercises in Futility, I thought that could be a creative, raw black metal album I could enjoy.

    It’s not a bad record by any mark, but I don’t really find it that special, it’s just old school black metal, well executed, nothing less, nothing more. IMO, this record’s pretty good, but it doesn’t deserve any more rave reviews than any rethrash band out there.

    Much has been written about the lyrics, and frankly, maybe I’m not that much of a smart guy, but to me, they read like the ramblings of a very stoned 19 year old who just discovered Nietzche.

    Not that I come to heavy metal to be intellectually enlightened, that’s what books are for, people, but way too many people in extreme metal (especially black) seem to confuse half assed references to literature, philosophy or mythology with deep intellectual discourse, and that’s just laughable. I may love Deathspell Omega and Blut Aus Nord, but their lyrics are no smarter than AC/DC’s, the only difference is that the former write about things that don’t matter, and the latter write about things that do, like having lots of fun and sex.

    Now, I know this may sound like typical bonehead anti intellectualism by some redneck yokel to a lot readers here, but…

    1) I’m not from the US.

    2) I was actually raised in a higher middle class family, on a professional/academic family.

    3) I went to grad school twice.

    4) I’m an unrepentant nerd when it comes to History, Post Impressionist Art, Philosophy, Semiotics, and Communication Theory. :D

    It’s just that to me, heavy metal’s just noisy music that has to be first and foremost fun to listen to, and this faux intellectualism that a lot of underground bands thrive with is getting ridiculously pretentious, and instilling a stupid sense of superiority among way to many listeners.

    Regarding the reviews that triggered this article, I actually agree with the site: both are really disappointing albums.

    Thing is, as I have stated before, I don’t really see the point of expecting legacy bands to recapture the magic of their classic works.

    Those records were the combination of young, talented and hungry musicians with a cultural landscape that won’t be replicated, the best these bands can do is churn out decent faccimiles of that era, but the sad truth is that real magic has a very small window to happen.

    Our beloved 80s bands aged.
    We got older.
    The world changed.
    New bands carry the torch, while the old bands hang on to their legacy.
    That’s life, I guess.

    Oh, and congratulations to the staff on running such a great site.

    • To be fair, I’m making a very specific claim in this article: we do not criticize albums for the sake of getting website clicks. We are not contrarians in some kind of utilitarian way.

      That people are elitsits and that sometimes reviews read a little bit like that, I can totally agree with. Then again, I find a lot of the underground to be way up its own ass, so I guess it takes a certain type of person to like it. The kind who recently read Nietzsche for the first time. ;)

      Regardless, I want to reiterate that while I don’t agree that we are generally elitists, I wasn’t defending that we’re not. I was simply pointing out that we’re not being elitist for views or for cred. We’re being honest. And if we’re honestly elitists, that complicates that picture.

      • Is it time to provide I.Q. numbers and bench press stats? I have them right here.

        • It’s funny, I was giving a lecture today about writing literature reviews and I actually told an anecdote about a professor who I’d had who said something like “I don’t understand why people need to take notes when they read. If you just read it carefully and highlight it you should remember.” Of course, he became tenured based on the influence of his theoretical work and is brilliant. And then i said “And statistically speaking that’s probably like 1 of you in this entire room, which means I suggest you take notes.” Some of the students laughed in kind of an offended way and I just turned to them and said: “Facts.”

          • Celaeno

            amen. i made up a word today…walecules. i’m considering adding word architect to my resume. i know nobody else cares, but my idiocy serves me so well some days.

        • eloli

          I have a lowish IQ, around 95, last time I checked, but I can bench press like a mother fucker, so there’s that. ;)

          • I am both stupid AND weak, and yet here I sit with this eponymous blog.

        • Kronos

          So that’s what all of that staff testing was for…

          • Dr. A.N. Grier

            I failed both…

          • You also failed the urine and DNA test.

          • Dr. A.N. Grier

            I can’t pee when you’re watching! And I don’t know how the latter happened…

          • Next time it will be Doctor Fisting.

          • Dr. A.N. Grier

            I call him up when I need a colonoscopy.

          • Celaeno

            This sounds serious…

      • eloli

        I appreciate the site’s honesty, and that’s why I keep coming back.
        We can both agree that the underground’s way up on its own ass, and you know, I truly appreciate the effort this site puts to separate the wheat from the chaff.
        Regarding Mgla, I actually enjoyed the album a lot, quite a feat, considering how little black metal I listen to it… I enjoyed almost as much as I enjoyed Dr. Living Dead’s Crush the Sublime Gods.
        The difference is that nobody’s really praising the latter, because it’s simply a bonehead exercise on DRI worship. :D
        That’s ok, if you enjoy underground metal, you have to take some elitism every now and then, it comes with the territory. ;)

      • JWEG

        At least it’s not “read Ayn Rand for the first time”…

    • brutal_sushi

      Can I ask? Why include that you are not from the US?

      • Kronos

        As a US citizen, born and raised, I can confirm that the US has an astoundingly anti-intellectual culture. I attend one of the most elite universities in the country and it’s still rampant there.

        • Pipe down, you elitist, hipster brainiac!

        • Excentric_1307

          Sad but trve.

        • Beardfist

          While in certain US subcultures there’s no doubt a predisposition against education or learning, in many cases we’re not anti-intellectual so much as we simply value it as a means to an end. We care little for the humanities or the classics unless they help us buy a suburban home or an urban flat, do not value someone of great experience unless they also has a great car, and frankly do not care to learn unless in so learning we can somehow brag about it. I’m just dipping my toes into philosophy as the most casual of hobbyists, but Kierkegaard’s “The Present Age” captures many elements the current US culture scarily well.

          • tim.o

            …unless in so learning we can somehow brag about it…

            Or increase our bottom line.

        • Celaeno

          ugh. it hurts my heart so much how true this is.

      • eloli

        Kronos already answered your question, and that´s basically it: regardless of the fact that the US is still the most important country when it comes to scientific and technological advancement, it’s also the western world’s current anti intellectualism hot bed… just think about the fact that there are less evolution deniers on any Latin American country than in the US.
        Got nothing against the US, btw: my brother lived there for almost a decade, and got his PhD there.

        • Kronos

          As someone pursuing a degree in Evolutionary biology, this cuts deep. And by deep, I mean my fucking funding.

          • Dr. A.N. Grier

            Yup…

          • eloli

            I guess the way Americans conceptualize both freedom of speech and religious freedom has a lot to do with it. In most western, secular countries, even if you run a religious school, you must abide to a common, nation wide science course that’s approved by a central government authority, something that seems to be a completely alien idea in a lot of states.

          • We don’t tend to like a “central government authority” telling us what to do.

          • Well, I do, so long as it improves quality of life to the point where it de-commodifies human beings.

          • You’re a Swede. I mean us here in the US hating our government as we’re meant to do.

          • tim.o

            Well put

          • [not a Dr] Gonzalo Salazar

            And that may be why it tells people in other countries what to do.
            I do the same: my kids know better than me about EVERYTHING, but I still get to tell people at my job how they should be working.

          • Dr. Scorpion

            Choose one.Monotremes vs Cephalopods.

          • Kronos

            Cephalopoda is way larger and way more diverse, so I’d be slighting them if I chose a tiny early-diverging mammal lineage over them.

          • Monsterth Goatom

            That sounds interesting. I sometimes check in on P.Z. Meyers’s blog, but he often loses me when he goes into depth about things he’s currently teaching.

        • tim.o

          More so anti science than anti intellectual. Americans my be open minded, but their core values are still based in puritanism values from the 1900.

    • [not a Dr] Gonzalo Salazar

      The world is changed. I feel it in the water. I feel it in the earth. I smell it in the air. Much that once was is lost.

      • eloli

        Just like quoting random dead philosophers surely won’t make me smarter, I can assure that quoting Tolkien will make you a nerd. :D

        • [not a Dr] Gonzalo Salazar

          I can assure you that I was already a nerd long before I started quoting Tolkien…

          • eloli

            And I can assure I’m not very smart. :D

        • AndySynn

          See, I really DO pay a lot of attention to lyrics (i’ve had a lyric-based 2-part column in the back of my mind for a long time now) but I do agree that there’s a fine line between something ACTUALLY intellectually stimulating, and something just regurgitating “smart words” by other people as a way of trying to look clever and special.

          There was a band I caught over here opening for a really, really good show… who were just awful. Imagine a sort of gabba-industrial-symphonic (i.e. keyboard-y) Black/Death hybrid that sounded like an out-of-time and out-of-tune mix of new Morbid Angel, Cradle of Filth, and Rob Zombie… with no real recognisable riffs, just indistinct thrashing AT their guitars (in a manner out of time/tempo with whatever the guy pressing the drum machine was doing).

          Then imagine reading an interview with the singer, who turns out to be an academic, who mentions no bands as their influences, just philosophers and modern art types… then makes a big deal out of their lyrics being in Latin (as if it’s something they came up with on their own that no-one else has ever done), and then add in the fact that they decided to give themselves an entirely new genre term because of how “original” they sounded (“original” being a synonym in this case for “utterly terrible”) and you’ll get SOME idea of how pretentious this band was.

          Shudder.

          • eloli

            Man, that’s a nightmarish scenario if there ever was one.

            Double shudder.

    • Monsterth Goatom

      I’m kind of feeling the same way about those Mgła lyrics. I was looking forward to reading through them with the music, but, when I did, I failed to discern any pattern or logic. Maybe they deserve more time to sink in. Right now it just seems like one long nihilistic screed. I do, however, very much like the music.

      • eloli

        Nah, they’re just pseudo intellectual garbage.
        Doesn’t matter, though, the album rocks and the lyrics sound great with the music, just don’t read them. :D

        • gustman17

          While I still haven’t heard the Mgla album, I’m not sure if referencing Oedipus makes them pseudo-intellectual.
          Maybe the criticism hit close to home, but let me give you an example: If I wrote a metal concept album, it is likely that the lyrics are going to be very deep into psychoanalysis and even feature those ridiculously obscure quotes from Lacan. Why? Because at this moment I’m quite into that stuff and it has resonated a lot with me, so speaking-writing about it would come naturally. It’s like when bands who live in Scandinavia use a lot of cold-nature-winter themes because they are quite immersed in them.

          Now the pseudo-intellectualism, as I see it, comes when it feels too obviously forced (maybe even wrong), particularly in genres where certain kind of intellectual topic is commonplace. I’m thinking tech-death and djent with theoretical quantum physics. Maybe with stuff like Nietzsche it feel less forced because he actually fits very well with the kind of moods metal features (like nihilism or –if actually nietzschean– vitalism).

          • eloli

            Personally, I think it’s more about stringing lots of big words together while not really saying anything.
            Look, I’ve worked on a big corporation for about 20 years now, and there’s this really funny game we play that has been circulating ever since I can remember, first in printed form, and as an email for more than a decade now.
            It’s just three columns with different nonsensical phrases in typical corporate speak, the game’s about randomly choosing a phrase from each column to build a paragraph, and building a speech out of five paragraphs: the end result makes no sense whatsoever, yet to the untrained or innatentive ear, it sounds just like any standard corporate speech.
            IMO, these lyrics (and let’s be honest, a good chunk of lyrics from underground metal bands) are just that, lots of big words put together on a semi random fashion that may sound somewhat convincing at a first glance, but if you think about them for a moment you realize they’re utter nonsense.
            Also, if I had a penny for every metal lyricist I’ve known who claims a Nietchzean inffluence when it’s pretty obvious he read beyond some quotes, I’d have around $4. :D

            (1) Not being sexist here, it’s just that sadly, women lyricists in metal are still in the minority.

          • gustman17

            I see your point there. Reminds me of those ‘academic paper generators’.

            The intention behind a lyric is a factor. From reading the Mgla quotes you posted (btw, I finally heard the album and thought it was pretty great) it seems that the lyrics are trying to drive certain point home, so of course coherence would be a factor to take into account when assessing them. Other bands aim for emotional expression, others to ‘paint’ or evoke certain kind of ambiance, in which case coherence would be a less important factor (though this one risks becoming a lazy ‘words-that-sound-cool’ kind of lyrics).
            I think a big part of the pseudo-intellectual problem is the dismissal of the emotional factor, and going too hard into the concept or the ‘sounding cool’ (for the academics who aren’t even likely to check the band…). And, of course, the presumptuous assholes. Maybe so many underground bands commit this sin in an effort to differentiate themselves from dumb gore bands.
            In the end what really mattered was if those lyrics fitted and augmented the song. If the Mgla lyrics read as gibberish but acquire a whole new aesthetic layer when delivered with the music, that’s fine with me.

            And bands should stop reading Nietzsche quotes on facebook posts and start reading The Genealogy of Morals.

          • tim.o

            …The game’s about randomly choosing a phrase from each column to build a
            paragraph, and then building a speech out of five paragraphs; the end
            result makes no sense whatsoever, yet to the untrained or inattentive
            ear, it sounds just like any standard corporate discourse….

            Do me a favor and check out Rake (Australian TV show), Season 2 (2012), episode 2 of the season and 10 of the series. You will enjoy it; and it may just make your day.

          • tim.o

            I read Nietzsche in German when I was in my late teens. It’s impossible to express in any meaningful manner any of his concepts in a 5 minute or whatever long song. If it could be done, you wouldn’t have to read the books. But I do enjoy any of the fantasy ramblings expressed by any number of bands. It’s just make believe and good fun.

    • Gabriel PérezMolphe

      I disagree with you in the lyrics part, DSO lyrics are far away from AC/DC lyrics, I still think that there are a lot of pretencious and pseudointellectual lyrics. But listen tho Primordial’s “The Coffin Chips” or “Gallows Hymn”, two of the best songs ever writen (IMO), now imagine if they talked about fun and sex, it wouldn’t be the same.

      • eloli

        Personally, even if I enjoy DSO a lot, I find the band’s lyric beyond stupid: pretentious, boring hogwash about the suppossed nature of good and evil, nothing more. You might think I’m being cheekily sarcastic when saying that AC/DC’s lyrics are superiot, but I’m not, they talk about real life experiences that almost anyone can relate to, and they do it in a pretty humorous way. I mean, everytime I hear “Whole lotta Rosie” I go “well, that happenned to me more than once, and it was hilarious”, while every time I read a DSO lyric I go “are these guys for real? can anyone read this with a serious face?”… maybe I’m stupid, or just smart enough to reckon that life’s best things are pretty lowbrow and old enough to smell pretentious bullshit from a mile away.
        Funny you mention Primordial, that’s the only folk metal band I can enjoy without any reservations besides Skyclad, despite considering their pseudo pagan romantic naturalism both stupid and completely out of touch with contemporary life. Anyhow, Skyclad, I love their lyrics, really ingenous and full of smart comments about contemporary life.
        Anyhow, sad as it seems, there probably will never be a smarter metal lyricist than Lemmy, the guy can write about sex, drugs and rock’n roll, yet he can also write about deep feelings, history or social commentary, without ever sounding pretentious or hiding behind big words to convince people he’s smart, or deep.
        I mean, I’ve been loving heavy metal for more than 30 years now, but let’s not kid ourselves, it’s just noisy music we happen to like… something I’ve always hated about the underground scene is that stupid need for intellectual validation some artists and lots of fans seem to have: I just love this noise, and I’m to old to care about people’s opinion on my intelligence, or lack thereof. :D
        Anyway, if DSO’s lyrics float your boat, more power to you. :)

        • Gabriel PérezMolphe

          I will check out Skyclad.
          On the primordial lyrics, none of the songs I mentioned talk about naturalism of the stuff you said, they talk about the Irish famine and an execution for religious reasons, with and easely understandable aproach and concentrating a lot in the feeling and not on sounding intellectual.
          And if you consider metal histoy (not being nearly as experienced in metal as you are), Sabbath didn’t talk about fun, neither do Maiden, thrash metal, death metal, doom or power metal (even if ussualy they talk about cheesy epic histories). Just hair metal (wich I hate). I consider there’s room for a lot of lyric apoaches, from the classic death metal gore and horror aproach, through thoughtfull lyrics, ironic lyrics, I even find Behemoth lyrics interesting, not because of their inteligence (not saying they are stupid), but because of being an entreteining aproach on cliché satanic lyrics.
          Maybe I am to elitist in my vision of art (because I do consider metal art). But, ¿where is the room for interesting lyrics in music then?
          ¿Or should all art forms talk about easily reliable fun and sex?

          • eloli

            Well, all art forms talking about easily, reliable fun and sex doesn’t seem like such a bad idea. :D

            Now, seriously, IMO, lyrics wise, there’s room for everything, if you want to focus on sex songs only, do it, and if you’re a history buff who want’s to do a six album concept about the War of the Roses, knock yourself out.

            My point is (and sorry if I’m not really clear) that it’s a mistake to judge songs about mundane things like sex and fun as inferior lyrically when compared to songs about history, mythology, philosophy or religion. The key is that it’s not what a song is about, it’s that how that song convey’s the idea that it’s about.

            Yup, a good ‘ol formalist approach.

            By that line of reasoning, a lot of supposedly “deep” underground metal lyrics are just shit: senseless strings of big words or half baked interpretations of highbrow themes that don’t resist a minimal analysis.

            Personally, I don’t care about the lyrics as long as they sound good with the music they’re carrying.

            I used AC/DC, the ultimate lowbrow band as an example, since they’re really good at what they do, lyrically, most of their songs, especially the Bon Scott era, exude a joie de vivre that to this day remains unmatched in rock, and, as I stated before, I feel a certain kinship with them because they’re about things that happened to me when I was young. By contrast, most “deep” and “philosophical” metal bands, if you approach their lyrics once or twice with minimal previous knowledge regarding the subjects they touch, you see they don’t hold water. And it’s ok, really, as laughable and pretentious I found Deathspell Omega’s or Blut Aus Nord’s lyrics, I truly enjoy their music and the lyrics work with the music.

            What really pisses me of is that “we’re intellectually superior because we explore deeper themes on our lyrics” attitude, so common on underground metal, you’re actually not smarter than anyone, you’re just making noisy music that appeals to very few people, and that’s ok too, because I’m part of it.

            Regarding Primordial, there’s a lot of romantic, pre industrial naturalism on a lot of their songs and albums, for example, both Empire’s Fall and Heathen Tribes feel like paeans to a bygone, pre industrial, pagan era and it’s values. Personally,

            Yes, there is room for interesting themes on heavy metal, but if you’re going to touch them, at least do it in an intelligent fashion, if don’t, don’t even bother and stick to sex, violence and gore.

            Regarding hair metal, maybe it’s an age thing, but I never hated it. I mean, it gave us headbangers a lot of common ground with girls, and a lot of the songs were really great to party to. Hair metal artists were great pop songwriters, and IMO, it’s a lot harder to write a pop song that appeals to a lot of people than any piece of music that only a select few will find appealing, that, at least should be respected.

            I mean, listening to obscure music that almost nobody care about doesn’t make me any smarter, but it does make me grumpy, and a real bore to talk to at parties. :D

          • tim.o

            So, you are more of a nihilistic realist than the pretentious pseudo intellectual bands you enjoy?
            You know I am kidding; not. ; )

            Cheers

        • Gabriel PérezMolphe

          I think its pretty easy to write pop that can be popular, the difficult thing is to write pop that can be remembered more than two years after it realease.
          And there’s also room for fun lyrics, what I complain about is that the majority of them are just plain stupid and anoying. But every time I find out a band’s lyrics talk about philosophy, I asume they are pretencious. The think about hair metal is in my opinion the same thing that happened to grunge, I don’t hate the fist bands, but then there was a lot of bands just coping them for the succes they archive, and there it become a pure shitty power ballad genre.
          I hear a lot of people complain about death and black metal lyrics, but as you said, if your give me the choice between a pretencious ones about the meaning of life, the universe and everything and good old blasphemy of gore, I rather stick to the last.

        • tim.o

          I enjoy the universe DSO created for themselves; but it’s nothing more than entertainment; very pseudo and pretentious, just like Yes, but I do enjoy their music as well. There are a few artists like Lemmy who transcend genre: Wino, Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits, Nico and others.

        • [not a Dr]

          I thought the only real feelings (as well as the driving principles of history) were sex, drugs and rock’n roll…
          But I agree with one thing: the lyrics for many of the songs I like are embarrassingly incoherent. Although that may be a symptom of the songwriter’s ESL clashing with my ETL.

    • siegbran

      If several reasonably intelligent and knowledgable music writers see something of value in a work (in this case the Mgła album), and after less than a week you don’t share their enthusiasm (admittedly, you don’t particularly like the genre in the first place), surely there could be a better thought out response than to immediately call these critics inferior to your upper middle class upbringing.

      • eloli

        WTF?
        Where did that came from?
        In no way I called anyone around here inferior, in fact, if you bother to read the discussion, you’ll see how we all give out our opinions in friendly, jovial terms.
        Also, I’m not implying Mgla’s album’s bad, I’m simply stating what’s pretty obvious to me: the lyrics are strings of nonsensical big words that some pretty pretentious people mistake for profound intellectual discourse, something way too common in the underground metal scene.
        I only talked about my background to clarify that I’m not espousing a cliched American anti intellectual sentiment and that coming from an academic background, I personally find this lyrical faux intellectualism, all too common within our beloved scene and mostly based on a very superficial knowledge, simply laughable.
        Buddy, if you’re trying to stir up some shit between people, you came to the wrong place.
        Have a nice day. :D

        • tim.o

          This MGLA release and the previous one are boring.

      • tim.o

        It just comes down to personal preference. I didn’t like this release either; or the previous one. BTW, my upbringing was blue collar at home and academic at school. Neither influenced my opinion of this record.

    • tim.o

      Oh, I forgot to mention; comments like this one are another reason why I visit this site. Also, Bon Scott was a very fine lyricist. Most metal songwriters are NOT; but all I ask of my metal is to be fun.

      • eloli

        Some guys are ashamed to admit they lived through the Whole Lotta Rosie scenario more than once, I’m not one of those guys. :D
        Anyhow, in my book, a guy who likes Mortadelo y Filemón is smart enough to tell the difference between intelligent and pretentious. ;)

        • tim.o

          Fat bottom girls make the rockin’ world go round.

          “I saw ya in the front row
          Moving to the beat
          Just movin’ and groovin’
          Killed me when I saw
          The wet patch on your seat
          Was it Coca-Cola?”

          Now I feel like a sexist pig. But this is just so raw and surly; and the delivery of the last line just pops in its understated delivery.

          Mortadelo y Filemón or Clever and Smart in German. What fun. I ate this stuff up when I was a pre-teen. His style is just so widely imaginative and humorous; and it was the first time I saw a cartoonist break with the convention of single shot panels and let them just burst into each other; it almost has a surreal quality. Good times.

  • groverXIII

    You know you’re doing something right when people are pissed off because of your honesty. Don’t ever change, AMG.

    • Jm from nj

      This right here^

    • Flämmer

      I agree. AMG has become a part of my daily routine. I enjoy the reviews, even the ones I personally disagree with, and I would be sorely disappointed if they changed the way they review to cater to the industry.

    • Thatguy

      I agree.

      I just want to thank AMG and his minions again for his great site.

      Crack on!

    • [not a Dr] Gonzalo Salazar

      Yeah. What’s the point of being angry if you’re not going to make other people angry?

    • OzanCan

      I totally, 100% agree with this statement!

  • RuySan

    The rationale behind fanboyism is baffling, and it’s something as irrational as religion. You just have to accept that in circumstances like less than stellar Judas Priest or Slayer records these people will come, and hurl insults at you as if you have hurt their mother.

    Thanks for keeping your standards. There’s not many more music critics who don’t overrate everything. Same exactly thing happens in the gaming industry. For some reason most of the film critics are sensible though….

    • Jan

      What online film criticism do you read?

      • RuySan

        None in particular. I used to read Roger Ebert when he was still alive. But since a few years ago i find Metacritic to be much more accurate than imdb when it comes to my tastes. Film critics don’t have any problems in panning movies or using the full spectrum of the score range.

        This usefulness of metascore can’t be applied to games and music though.

        • Jan

          Oh, sure. Ebert was well worth reading. I love reading Birth.Movies.Death (previously called Badass Digest), which mainly does movie news and reviews (mainstream as well as obscure stuff), but also stuff about TV shows and occasionally about games. They have amazing writers who write sharp, insightful essays. And they also have the best movie comment section I know of right now, in terms of great discourse, politeness and basic human decency.

          But it’s still the internet. The bigger the site got, the more trolls found their way there. It’s all quite similar to what goes down here, is what I recognized over the course of the Maiden retro. It’s always about how much someone (over)identifies with any given nerd material (musicians, actors, brands…). Batman and Star Wars fans (as in fanatics) are the worst. I knew that Black Metal guys tend to be like that as well. But up until recently I had no idea of how much of a phenomenom this is all throughout the popculture sphere, thoughout all subcultures and media. It’s hilarious and unsettling at the same time.

  • Roquentin

    I agree with everything that our master has said. Honestly. It’s not just the conditioning that we undergo when joining the writing staff talking. Seriously.

    Anyways, I’d be all for removing ratings, but it’s a double-edged sword. On one hand, you bypass the whole “it’s a positive review, but the score is too low” predicament which is a problem only because everyone else inflates their ratings. On the other, you lose those readers who don’t have the time to read each and every review and instead scan for the higher rated albums.

    tl; dr If only everyone understood that 3.0+ on AMG should be considered an indicator of “good stuff.”

  • BranMakMorn

    I’ve discovered this website a few years back, when I randomly bumped into one of AMG’s “best of the decade” lists. I remember thinking “hell, this guy likes the music I like. I better keep en eye on this website, so I’ll find out more”. And so it was. As I came to know more about it, I discovered what I think is the best-ran review site for metal on the interwebz (and I know a few of them, and used to write for a large one myself in a previous life). Consider that higher traffic means also an higher proportion of knobheads who’ll start feeling hurt if you give a 3 to their darling band.

    One suggestion: you said you’d be willing to drop the numerical score. Do it. I read a lot of videogame reviews, and a few good websites have dropped the numbers and opted for a system where they only give 3 kinds of “badge”: Essential, Recommended, and Avoid. I think it would work great here. Something to consider.

    And don’t forget to put a link to this page from the FAQ page! ;)

    • BranMakMorn

      This just dawned on me: can we agree to call this the #ContrarianMetalGuyGate ? ;)

    • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

      The difficult thing about the badge system would be that most music, at least as I see it, belongs between “Recommended” and “Avoid”. The hard part there would be determining where we draw the line in the sand, or if we add a fourth category and complicate a nice streamlined system.

      • BranMakMorn

        Oh but I wasn’t very clear: the idea isn’t that EVERY review ought to have a badge. The badges are extras, to signal something noteworthy (whether positive or negative) 70/80% of reviews, as you say, would be “badge-less”. Just read the fucking review mate :)

        • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

          That last sentence…words to live by!

          • Monsterth Goatom

            For sure. Some of the records I discovered here and really like didn’t get super-high ratings. I checked them out because of what I inferred from the reviews. Undergang, While Heaven Wept, In Mourning, Ommadon, Raven — a lot of 3/5 scores. I don’t just move on if I see anything lower than a 4/5.

          • tim.o

            Exactly… While Heaven Wept and In Mourning for me as well.

    • RuySan

      The problem with dropping the scores…is either they don’t drop (in the eurogamer example that you wrote, google and Metacritic still translate that to a number). Or either you are giving bigger power to the other websites that don’t do criticism right (by giving up on aggregators like metacritic for example). If other decent and honest sits like Last Rites gave number ratings, maybe fanboys would disperse a little, or could grow up when facing the fact that the newest album of their favourite band is not that great.

      • BranMakMorn

        Well, but there’s no metacritic equivalent for metal albums is there? That’s the point, AMG would be *the* leader of the pack. I agree that some people would not like it, but I think it would definitely push people, as you say, to either grow up or fuck off.

        • JWEG

          I think the Metal Archives wanted to set up a user-base version of an aggregator, but you can’t really argue that even 20 votes averaged is meaningful, never mind the usual 3 or 4. A single outlier has too much power to skew any average.

          There are only two sites whose reviews I use as a yardstick for whether or not I’ll dig something, AMG(blog) being preferential.

          I’m particularly intrigued by weeks in which an album is reviewed by both sites and there’s a large disparity between them (recent example: Rivers of Nihil). I’m actually more inclined to heed the warning from the more critical and lower-scoring review of the two, but at the same time it makes me *more* interested in hearing it for myself rather than giving it a pass.

          …except for the aforementioned RoN.

        • RuySan

          I thought Metal Archives did it but I was wrong. Anyway, I like the number at the end. Please don’t let it go, even if it angers a lot of people.

        • tim.o

          Somebody said “You can’t legislate behavior”; neither can you enforce it. And I don’t care, if the grow up or fuck off. Let them whine, you don’t have to listen to them.

    • tim.o

      First time I came across an AMG review I thought … ‘Angry Metal Guy’ what the fuck! Surprise to me, I didn’t know I ran a zine.

  • george

    Yes AMG, you are right by all accounts, but it is getting kinda creepy-ish strict around here, still it is your house to keep it clean, i’m just sayin

    • 1 week site ban for casting creepy aspersions!

    • Whatdya mean “strict?”

      • george

        i mean, as the dopest snoop dog would say, “just chill”. I was having fun until iron maiden’s worst to best and book of souls appeared and you became itchy everytime somebody told you otherwise, and now you took it to another level writing an article against people who bust your balls. This is one of the nicest net-hoods i’ve seen, don’t overdo it. We are all cool people here, trust me :-)

        • OH man, I had some issues keeping my mouth shut about the Maiden stuff. I’ve been so die-hard for so long about that band, that I finally found the one band where I think my opinion is fucking fact. But what i took away from the whole thing, actually, was how many people read what I wrote and re-considered records–even breaking out The X Factor and Virtual XI–and when it got shared people said “read it because it’s good, not because you have to agree.” I tried to take it in stride, obviously I’m aware that I have a unusual taste in Maiden. I believe, personally, that’s because I’ve spent a lot more time with their discography than a lot of people, but that’s me being a naive realist. And I should know better.

          This article isn’t about people who bust my balls. This is about a very specific, and unfortunately misinformed, critique that I think is so heinously off base that it requires response.

          • Monsterth Goatom

            You made me re-consider Iron Maiden itself, who I had previously dismissed as a NWOBHM band that didn’t move me. I was very wrong, as I’m written elsewhere.

          • tim.o

            I am a huge Maiden fan and because of your article I will have to break out The X Factor again; just out of respect to you. Aren’t I a good minion?

  • bucaneer

    Trash reviews tend to be a lot more fun to read, though. For highly rated albums, music is the main attraction, but for crappy ones it’s the reviews.

    • What’s funniest is that the reviews that ignited this whole thing were written in a really serious, insightful and respectful manner IMO. I guess if Geoff Tate had any fanbois left they would have crushed the site under the weight of all their concentrated hate.

  • Worldeater

    Well written and thoughtful article! Concerning the clickbait topic first and foremost I find it disappointing that it is still necessary to point out such an obvious thing. Relating to elitism – i choose well-founded elitism over mainstream babble anytime! John Bain aka Total Biscuit did a video on the topic concerning the reviews for the new Mad Max computer game where he points out some differences between professional critics and reviews done by “normal consumers”. He makes some interesting observations that i think are also valid here. You can find the video here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dJANS0VTpbY.

  • Dennis Thomsen

    Anyone who cares what someone else’s ‘rating’ is over their own ears obtained opinion obviously has a mental disorder and perhaps actually should reflect on whether it is music or arguing they like more.

  • KingKuranes

    For anyone who complains about the ratings, the rating system is right there on the side. For Amorphis to not post the review that their album was merely “great” is pretty silly. As for Book of Souls, it’s kinda good yet kinda disappointing: therefore it gets a rating of 2.5. This site’s ratings are pretty consistent, with some glaring exceptions (5 stars for White Wizzard?).

    I don’t have time to listen to everything that comes out anymore so I pretty much rely on this site to surface the good stuff. Also, as someone else said, the bad reviews here are worth reading just for entertainment value. I recall one recently that said “the back half of the album, however, shits the bed more than any bed has ever been shat” (paraphrasing). That’s gold.

    • We don’t speak of that incident.

      • André Snyde Lopes

        Free HMG! We will not be silenced!

      • Refined-Iron Cranium

        I will forever remember the ramblings of (AMG reviewer that shall not be named).

        • tim.o

          Oh, so you didn’t enjoy the 1000 words of random, unedited, free fall, stream of conscious (diarrhea of the mouth) ramblings? You must not be the average blog reader. Kudos.

      • tim.o

        I see the HMG perioud as slight dip in excellence in an otherwise splendid career.

  • Vlad Invictus

    Great text, AMG. I really enjoy your reviews and read them on daily basis. Mostly just to discover any new bands I missed. Though I don’t always agree with reviews on this site (which is a pretty normal thing, I hope), I don’t see any other credible metal blog that can cast a light (or darkness) on an album from all sides. If I ever go full retard and want to read or hear only praises for every metal album out there, I’ll just watch ‘That Metal Show’.
    P.S. I’m still wondering how come our label didn’t send you our new album? Would love to read some bashing from you or Steel Druhm.

  • Kronos

    I am strongly for keeping the rating system; it’s not perfect, but I think the coarse ten (well, eleven, but we’ve never given out a 0.0) point system is very useful. It’s specific enough to separate things out very nicely while remaining broad enough to not be ridiculous. I cannot fathom how one goes about using a 101 point or, even worse, a 1001 point scale to quantify their review. One’s tastes are so fluctuating and impermanent that it’s ridiculous to see anyone attempting to line up records based on that sort of scale.
    I think a lot about how I grade records and it makes me write better reviews. One of my favorite things about this site is that our reviewers more often than not don’t agree on how things should be rated, and I think that makes us stronger as a site. Regular readers come here not just to see a review of an album, but to see a specific writer’s review of that album. I know Grymm, who has only been here as long as I have (which, wow two years?), has people that specifically want to know what his opinion of a certain doom release is, and they specifically ant his review and his rating, because they identify with his tastes. It’s great, and it’s tied to the fact that writers give out consistent ratings.

    • I agree with you, Kronos. I think the rating system is integral to the site. It helps the writers think about how the album stacks up and provides a simple metric for readers to assess value by.

      I feel like dropping ratings is moving closer to some kind of mushy grey area.

      • The biggest issue with scores is variance, both among reviewers and the industry at large, i.e. Your 3 is Kronos 2.5 or 3.5, etc. Again, it’s an opinion – that’s it.

        I also think that when one reviewer gives a score, there is a bit of herd mentality where everyone gets on board bashing or raving about it within the AMG community at large since I suspect both staffers and readers respect other people’s opinions highly. It’s just the powers of confirmation bias kicking in – and we are all subject to it.

        I actually believe a really good review is one where the READER scores it based on the WORDS in the review and LISTENING to the source material at hand. And that’s why Dave and I have also talked about removing scores entirely (minus the DR one).

        • Kronos

          I think that’s the strength of us having scores at the end now; you presumably will read the review and then look at the rating. Of course, that’s in an ideal world…

          • I suspect what really happens is the overwhelming majority of people immediately proceed to the score and then go back to correlate it with the review. The damage is already done at that point.

          • Kronos

            Our regular readers are still the best, no matter in what direction the read reviews.

          • madhare

            I don’t see the variance as a problem. The textual review is subjective. The score is subjective. As I said in my other comment, you guys are basically doing journalism. Journalism is never totally objective. (One of the key tenets of journalism research.)

            But AIMING for some kind of objectivity or neutrality is still a valuable thing even if it’s unattainable. It’s been said that the idea of objectivity is “like the North Star” helping to proceed in the right way.

            I agree with the idea that the score is good. It forces the reviewer to think about their opinions from a slightly different angle. Without something like that, there is the danger, as was pointed out, of drifting into a grey mushiness and meaningless. (You might become the Continental/French philosophy or music reviews! Mwahahaha…)

            I usually love reading about the reviewers reflections on their scoring. It gives more transparency to the reviews. Like it works in social sciences: Because objectivity is unattainable, one should at least be transparent about how they got to their results. That way people can evaluate the value, accuracy, and representativeness of the work themselves.

            And I totally love the cases when you get conflicted and the text hypes up things, but then the grade brings things back down.

          • What’s funny is I actually disagree with this argument on pretty much every level but enjoyed reading your point of view immensely.

          • tim.o

            Your remarks about journalism are spot on.

          • tim.o

            …The damage is already done…
            Come on, that’s almost insulting; and at the very least it’s very presumptuous.

          • I am certainly not trying to insult anyone. Bias is part of the human condition and seeing a low score before reading the review WILL have an effect on your gray matter, subconscious or otherwise. It’s part of the human condition and I am just as susceptible to it as anyone else.

            Is that an argument for removing scores entirely? Probably not. And I do empathize with as well as concede Steel’s point about falling into that nebulous gray area so many review based sites fall into. However, I stand by my guns and say that a really good review needs no score – the ideas and feelings conveyed in it should allow you to come up with your own accurate assessment regardless of the 2.5 or 4.5 that sits on the bottom or not.

          • tim.o

            A score is the equivalent of “bottom lining” ones opinion. I like it that way, because the reviewer will have to weight his / her overall impression of an album. It doesn’t get any more condensed than that.
            I am not arguing that the score wouldn’t influence me; but its nothing more than a first impression. Then I read the review; and should the review and the score be in sharp contrast, I will re-evaluate that impression; I take the author’s personal bias or the particular points that being made to describe weaknesses or strengths and reconcile them into something that makes sense to me.
            The same is even true, if the score matches the review, because a particular reviewers biases are not the same as mine. There are many bands that I’ve checked out based on a negative review here that I ended up liking, i.e. Fen; or ones that received a very positive review and I scratched my head saying “What were they thinking”, i.e. Obscura’s Omnivium.
            So, in summary I object to the notion that a score would influence me to such a degree that I couldn’t change my mind later on. : )

            Cheers

          • I give this (tim.o’s) comment a 4.0 out of 5.

          • tim.o

            LOL …

          • tim.o

            This makes no difference to me at all; and I venture to guess that for most folks who come here that’s true as well.

        • The writers here are a mixed bag of nuts and we all have very distinct tastes. For instance, few share my reasoned and objective appreciation for Jorn’s vocal abilities. We only see a herd mentality when there’s free cake or beer.

          • Dr. A.N. Grier

            Did you say beer???

          • Did you say camels!?

          • AndySynn

            WHERE ARE MY GODDAMN CAMELS!?!?

          • No, where are MY camels and 2 alpaca in interest!

          • Celaeno

            I heard beer. And cake. I fucking love cake. Also, the ratings help people like me that want to do nothing but listen to music all the time and read reviews all the time but don’t have time all the time to at least sort of narrow down which ones are worth putting time into. Rarely has AMG staff steered me wrong, especially on the low end. So at least I know what not to spend my lack of time on.

          • And camels?

        • I have been thinking about the groupthink argument here. I don’t think it’s accurate. Frequently I openly disagree, and so do others who write here. Both on scores, but also on the quality of certain artists. We were just as internally split on Deadheaven as the rest of the metal scene, for example.

          What I think you do see is that Kris and I have tastes that appeal to certain readers and those readers niche in with us and want to write. That means that we have more overlap in tastes because we’re a community of taste to begin with. But we have deviance and disagreements, and not everyone speaks up.

          • I agree with your “birds of a feather” defense, but I believe when folks see the score at the bottom of the review before actually reading it, confirmation bias immediately rears its ugly head.

            If I had a nickel for every time I read an AMG reader comment, “I wasn’t expecting much anyway. Thanks AMG for not getting on the hype machine!” I roll my eyes a bit.

          • Maybe I’ve misunderstood you, but isn’t that a different issue? The first is: we as writers likely have similarities in what we like (though, ironically, Steel Druhm, who was my first writer, and I don’t have a ton of overlap).

            But do you mean, instead, that the readers look at scores and get guided by those and not so much what was said? Because our reviews and our scores should–hopefully–match each other. While I don’t like scoring, it’s not because I think we do a poor job (obviously we’re inconsistent, but we’re more consistent than other sites imo), it’s because I think scoring is a horrible way to display a art’s nuance (1) and (2) everybody else seems to take it a lot more seriously than I do. Which means that these examples of Amorphis or In Vain or Riverside not sharing stuff is the result of an industry that’s put a lot of focus on aggregating “measurable data” as some kind of idea of how a record is doing, rather than seeing it as a highly subjective and frustrating practice which doesn’t do anyone much good. Bands overreact. Fans overreact. Labels overreact (which is likely why bands overreact, at least in part), and when all is said and done EVERYTHING’S an 8! And Metal Hammer puts out a TOP 100 Records of 2015!

            In fact, there’s something very similar that happens in metal, when comparing it to other places where data points drive conversations. People over-interpret data, freak out, and then start to try to correct what the data says. Or they invest quality in “that which can be measured with a number,” rather than something else. Academics come more and more into a “publish or parish” paradigm largely due to the fact that ‘number of publications’ is seen as productivity, because that’s what’s measurable. This skews interests and leads people to act in counterproductive ways, rather than leading to higher quality. Medical articles often will have dozens of authors, many of whom were not actually even involved in the process of writing the article or doing the research (i.e., the guy who owns the machine is an author; the lady who’s got the database is an author).

            It’s the same thing here: scores–which are a bad measure of actual quality–become a proxy for “reception,” in an era when record sales are down across the board. But then people write one way and score another, and there’s absolutely no standard for what scores mean. It’s completely ridiculous, but I apparently have a hoard of writers who want to keep scores for bad reasons and I’m pretty well outnumbered and am not really sure I want to stir unrest in the ranks.

          • “…everybody else seems to take it a lot more seriously than I do.”

            And there in lies the rub and really the thrust of my argument. Readers, pundits, and yes, even the record labels themselves look at scores very seriously, and it breeds a groupthink culture where confirmation bias reigns supreme.

            I totally agree that scores do not have enough granularity nor precision to quickly summarize a piece of art. Granted, one could probably make the case that very “bad” or very “good” art (however you want to define those nebulous terms) are probably easier to guestimate, but I submit that everything in between is a lot harder to really pin down. Also scores are very ephemeral, and loose their value over time. Do you still think Endgame is a 4.5/5.0? Have you listened to Endgame since you reviewed it? If you listened to it now, would you still give it that score?

            On the flip side, because of a scores innate brevity, they are helpful if you want to answer more generalized questions. Did AMG enjoy Book of Souls? Based on your score, I would say, “Not really.” Did I enjoy Plagues of Babylon based on my review? Yes, I did.

            EDIT: I feel a whole AMF article is buried in this discussion somewhere…

          • We’ve been having a debate about this in our smoke-filled room. Was thinking about writing about it myself.

            I forgot about giving Endgame a 4.5/5.0. Will need to listen to it again, but it was definitely overrated. But other things have been underrated (Crimfall).

          • tim.o

            That’s just silly. I actually would prefer the score at the top again. Now the first thing I do is go to the bottom then I read the review. Regardless of the score.

        • tim.o

          I never base my opinion on the rating; but its a condensed assessment of the reviewers overall opinion on a particular album. Therefore it has value. BTW, I could care less about your DR ratings. Although I applaud your effort what you’re ultimately trying to accomplish; better sounding recordings.
          Thank you for that

      • eloli

        I disagree.
        I get a much better picture form reading the site’s review if I’m gonna enjoy a particular piece of music rather from a numerical scale.
        Besides, I’ve enjoyed both albums in the 2’s the same as I enjoyed albums in the 4’s, the writing on this site’s already good enough to drop the numerical ratings.

        • tim.o

          …Besides, I’ve enjoyed both albums in the 2’s the same as I enjoyed
          albums in the 4’s, the writing on this site’s already good enough to
          drop the numerical ratings…

          And that’s why we don’t want to mess with a good thing. I really enjoy this discussion, although some discourse reads more like a solution in search for a problem.

      • Wayward Son

        If ratings are dropped the site will be completely pointless. We’re busy, at least some of us, and we don’t have time to read every damn review. Ratings help us weed out the suck rather quickly-assuming we trust the reviewer. People who are against ratings are probably the same people who get offended about everything. “it’s art and you shouldn’t rate it” blah blah blah, some art sucks. Deal with it weak ass.

    • GooberMan

      You know, I’d actually prefer just the descriptions currently associated with the ratings than ending an article with a score. Same end result, except aggregate sites/mentioned producers/etc don’t get hung up on a score. The number is the problem, so just hide the fact that there’s a number involved.

    • Refined-Iron Cranium

      >Regular readers come here not just to see a review of an album, but to see a specific writer’s review of that album.

      I think the ethos of this site also has a lot to do with the community and the people behind the aliases. I’ve been reading AMG since mid-2012 and most of us pick up on the quirks of the different reviewers. A newcomer to the site may not fully understand the process behind the reviews, the types of metal albums reviewed by each reviewer or why some reviews are lobotomized by Lord AMG (see White Wizzard, Ne Obliviscaris).
      I feel that in most cases, to understand the scores and reviews on AMG, one has to build up a familiarity with the different reviewers, and their styles of writing. I’m not saying that the reviews on this site are intended for regulars only, but it does give insight as to why certain albums receive certain ratings and opinions.
      I would understand a bad review of a Pentagram album more if it was written by Steel Druhm than by, say, Noctus, because I know Steel Druhm is a seasoned doom fan.

      • Pimpolho

        Indeed, each writer is unique, and we love them all!

      • tim.o

        Essentially we are all developing personal relationships with reviewers here. We get to learn about their bias, preferences, etc. more so than any other site; and that’s what I take into account when I form my own opinion or decide to check out an album. Not the review on its own; not the score on its own; but the whole enchilada.

    • PanzerFistDominatrix

      I actually don’t care much about the rating. If a rating system make the reviewers write better reviews, well, that’s really great, ‘cus that’s why I’m coming back to this site again and again: a well argued and well written opinion piece on an album.

    • dduuurrrr dddduuuurrrr

      You guys could always switch to Pitchfork’s approach. where everything is like a 6.7 or a 6.8

      No one has ever said “I don’t know, that feels like more of a 6.8 to me than a 6.7”

      Worst rating setup ever.

      • They actually like to take the piss about it too. I think I get more pissy about Fantano’s

        • Pimpolho

          I can’t stand Fantano. No disrespect, probably just personal preference, but DAMN i hate him.

          • All the antics are hard to get into. But then I guess it’s as hard as all the inside jokes we love around here.

      • [not a Dr] Gonzalo Salazar

        I read somewhere that Pitchfork gave 6.8 to music as an art form…

    • De2013

      For me the fun of reading the review is also guessing ahead what the final score will be based on the wording in the review. Most of the times I’m spot on, give or take 0.5 point.

  • Pimpolho

    People that complain about you bashing popular albums for views are not only wrong, they are freaking dumb, and this great post proves it.

  • madhare

    I found my way to AMG because I bought an album from a band I loved and I was totally devastated by how shitty it was. And I seemed to be the only one who thought so. At first googling didn’t help because the reviews were just praising the album. But eventually the negative AMG article popped up… I remember thinking “oh, that blog name definitely sounds suuuuper-objective”… :D

    So I came in kind of to confirm or check on my cognitive bias. But I’ve stayed because I realised that you guys produce good quality stuff that I like to read even when I don’t agree with you. And that quality seems so hard to find nowadays. This place is one of the few islands of reason in the sea of nonsensical adoration.

    As an ex-journalist I consider your blog upholding the traditions of proper music journalism. The way it used to be done in music magazines of old.

    Mostly everyone else, including the music magazines themselves, have turned into… something else. Call it citizen journalism, blogging, or whatever. But it is nowhere near anything that I would even remotely consider journalistic.

    I hope you guys continue to grow and build your readership. A quality readership appreciating quality writing. (Of course, I don’t mind the side-effect of the communal feeling of slight superiority… ;) )

    And I sincerely hope the PR people will keep their wits and keep you in the loop. It seems that you have grown in influence a lot since the beginning, and you keep on growing. Thus, to me it would seem stupid for the PR people not to consider you.

    Ps. If you ever need to place few ads (hopefully restrained though) or something on the site to cover your hosting costs etc., I would totally accept that. This site is worth that.

    • Kronos

      We make our profit through the tithes of our lessers.

  • Beardfist

    The notion that you disagree for the purpose of generating buzz is easy enough to understand. A glimpse at your record and your consistency dispels that gist, but that’s not what is important to the wounded fanboys. The unfortunate reality is that this message will probably resonate strongly with those of us who already know it to be true, but not with those who sling the accusations left and right.

    It seems a consequence of narcissism: they, themselves, believe the music to be a divine gift beyond compare or critique. Your opinion, should it disagree with theirs, is incomprehensible. And as they believe themselves to be right in every respect about it, you then must be wrong for some reason. Yet, unable to argue with the points you raise, they simply choose to believe that you’re trying to be contrarian: it fits in better with their view of the world. And as they can ignore this rebuttal to the accusation, their self-aggrandizing opinion stays sealed airtight, protected from the intruding hand of reality.

    I know the feeling of giving honest perspectives and dealin’ out truths like candy, only to be assumed by some numbnuts to have an ulterior motive. For example, I’m a fairly political fella, around the upper end of the college years, and I’m a left-leaning centrist in the great nation of Clapistan. I am critical of some of Bernie Sanders’ policies, and the number of people who simply cannot deal with the fact that criticism of him even exists–to say nothing of whether I’m right or wrong–is baffling. The only way to assuage them is to agree with them 100%. And that is exactly why I turn to this place for reviews and perspective: it operates on the principle that not everyone is going to think identically, and it doesn’t flounder around to try to appease every last nimrod that throws a fit because they don’t agree. Honesty is born of a willingness to stand by one’s words, after all.

    • Wait, you’re not feeling the Bern?!?

      • Kronos

        Oh I’m feelin’ the Bern, you communist Swede.

      • Beardfist

        He’s banking on personality over policy, which is fine and fair enough in a presidential race this early. He’s stood and fought for the right side of social progress, and people like the honesty he has in that regard. But most supporters know next to nothing about the economic stuff–which, again, is fine, because it’s boring. But the amount of head-sticking-in-sand is painful. To appeal to low-skill, low-income workers, he advocates protectionism in order to preserve jobs that are economically inefficient. To appeal to union workers, he wants the number of employee-owned businesses and unions to expand–just as companiesl ike Uber, Lyft, and Airbnb show how ineffective unions and traditional work structures can be. To appeal to the middle class, he wants the minimum doubled–shafting the people who depend on minimum as their household’s primary income level. The labor becomes more expensive, which is prohibitive for all businesses big and small, though the middle class tends to use minimum as supplementary income from secondary earners. Offering tax credits to businesses and individuals while raising minimum moderately seems to be the more agreeable route, but there’s little talk of that because tax credits are hard–to be fair, from just about any candidate. Raising the tax on corporations and the wealthiest 1%, already some of the highest in OECD countries, makes honest businesses suffer while the ones abusing deferrment and evasion just… do more of that. Perhaps the greatest blow to american sovereignty comes from Burger King shifting its domicile to the dreaded CANADA, while Coca Cola flirts with the lobsterbacks. These companies still pay taxes to the US while they operate in the US at our rates, but other countries do not tend to go after their international earnings in the way that we do.

        tl;dr: sanders has the right ideas socially (even if electing a president does not magically solve bigotry), but he creates a poor business environment that is too shortsighted to go after the actual loopholes that people like that aussie Murdoch abuse to pay upwards of 0% tax. Or, near and dear to my slice of the world, corporations like UPMC use to describe themselves as ‘nonprofits’ to avoid paying untold millions in taxes. He’s a little wrapped up in economic theory from the postwar era and seems ill-fitted to a global economy with China ceasing to serve as the ever-hungry commodities consumer it was.

        Granted, if he somehow won the democratic primary, I’d still vote for him probably. mostly i am just mad with people doing absolutely no research about the guy, hopping on the bandwagon in the hopes of being able to proclaim I SOLVED A LOT OF THESE PROBLEMS, I AM GREAT without actually doing anything or taking responsibility if the programs make things worse.

        METAL BLOG

        • Obviously, I think social democrats would disagree with your comments about the business environment. I think if people on the left are interested in social politics, any of the major running candidates’ll do. In some ways, that’s Clinton’s strength, isn’t it? There’s a reason she’s still kicking ass with the black community.

          I think Bernie is tapping into a different vein of the political left that is absolutely ecstatic because no one ever pays attention to them: the old Labor Left. So I’d disagree with the idea that he’s running on some sort of personality politics, and instead say that you disagree with his assessment of the economy.

          My big issue with President Bernie is that he’s a lone dude who in order to actually even be nominated (a tall order), will have to essentially nuke the democratic power base to get there. I think his presidency would make Jimmy Carter look like a strongly influential president. Also, I dislike that the left has ceded local politics, but then wants to vote for the Bern. One lone social democrat isn’t going to change much of anything. Make change locally or it won’t happen, ffs.

          • Beardfist

            Yes, but I also identify as libertarian with the biggest of asterisks: socially liberal, economically conservative, and unrelated to any of the inane nonsense that the libertarians here or abroad profess. I acknowledge my economic disagreements to just be a difference of perspective, but I wish more Americans at least understood the position they were ‘wholeheartedly’ behind. Clinton’s got the appeal of a less-likable Merkel: she fits Realpolitik well enough, but her downfall is being entirely too robotic–or, at least, entirely too easy for the political press to lampoon as robotic.

            He’s running a somewhat reactionary campaign. Low and medium-skilled jobs in factories or manufacturing plants are being moved to other countries, so he’s got an appeal to disenfranchised workers. The middle class is faced with nonsensically (even within the market) rising housing prices and soaring education costs. The most famous stories of the wealthy display how easy it is to evade taxes, even as tax breaks are constantly cut for them. He has a good swath of america in tune with his anger and frustration there. And on the topic of social issues, he’s been hitting it right for a good while: Americans of virtually any minority are disenfranchised to some degree in direct violation of the constitution’s own wording, with little means to redress it. He represents a lot of positions that labor parties in the UK or Australia take, but that may be lost on the general electorate in the US. As much as I dislike his economic positions for oversimplifying a lot of our problems and solutions in that arena, what he principally strives for is well in tune with center-left on the political spectrum–something that American politics has lacked for a good while. I found myself initially interested in him because I truly do want a shakeup of our stagnant and incestuous political system. I just eventually found myself disagreeing too much on the economics to pledge my support in the primaries. Which I also don’t think I can vote in as an independent (hyuck hyuck). If the guy wins the nomination, though, I’ll campaign my lights out into the next plane of existence to support him.

            That’s also certainly where a lot of my disinterest in him as a candidate stems from. While what he stands for socially is right and economically could be right, it does not entirely matter. The executive branch is fairly limited in what it can actually implement, barring actions of Congress. And Congress does not act, because it passes off that duty to the president. State governments do not act, because they pass that duty off to the federal congress. Local governments do not act, because they pass that off to the state. Individuals do not act, because they pass that off to the local. So on, so on. People here are incredibly disenfranchised and disinterested in the political process UNLESS it gives them the opportunity to talk down on someone else or gain praise for sharing a hashtag. When it comes to affecting real change or shaping the system to be more effective, though, people often could not care less. To an extent, I like Bernie precisely because his surge could smack the current do-nothing politics square in the head. I just wish more people would join him in his revolution -honestly- and push for that same change in their communities. As it is now, we’ve got a lot of people who -say- they’d do something, who then turn around and… well, they want accolades and admiration for saying that, but don’t actually want to do anything.

            To be fair, I am also politically cynical. To no one’s surprise.

          • tim.o

            ^ THAT ^
            Ok, show me another music review site that has thoughtful discourses such as this one? Apart from Metal Sucks that is.

  • I feel like I should apologize for feeding this controversy before. That dude just keeps running his mouth and I felt like I should just call out his bullshit. Not to convince him or his cronies, I don’t really care that he or his friends think about us. I just have a low bullshit tolerance and I need to work on that ?

    • Yes, this is all your fault!

      • I will now proceed to properly hang my head in shame after dropping this turd on your doorstep.

        • [not a Dr] Gonzalo Salazar

          That’s not very metal of you…
          You should be repentless.

    • André Snyde Lopes

      What controversy? Did I miss anything? Was there violence?

      Aaaarrggghh, I hate it when I miss a good old-fashioned flame war!

      • Just look over the buried comments on Slayer’s review. Not my proudest moments.

        • André Snyde Lopes

          Makes sense that it was in the Slayer review. I’m so uninterested in Slayer that I just read the review, looked at some comments and never went back.

          We all have those moments of blind rage at the sheer stupidity that sometimes makes its way through our eyes and into our brain. I think it’s a defense mechanism from our brain to try and keep that stupidity out.

          • You wot m8?

            “I’m so uninterested in Slayer that I just read the review, looked at some comments and never went back.”
            Yay! Someone who I can agree with. :D

    • Worldeater

      No mercy, no regret, no retreat – a guy with a space marine picture for his avatar should know better! No, I am just messing with you, he really deserved it.

    • Pimpolho

      It’s ok buddy, pointing out how ignorant someone is may be the right thing to do sometimes.

  • Alexandre Barata

    I don’t always agree with you, and that might be because I have a mind of my own and don’t agree with everything I read, but I gotta tell you, you’re being too negative about negativism!!!

    • [not a Dr] Gonzalo Salazar

      2 negatives make a positive

  • hallowed

    Old Friedrich said: “Sometimes people don’t want to hear the truth because they don’t want their illusions destroyed”.

    • eloli

      Old Friedrich said a lot of things, like “Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, your Iphone will surely fall from your shirt pocket, and that’s a real bummer since the abyss is really dark and deep to reach for it, and you didn’t want to fork even more for insurance. I mean, you’re royally screwed, know what I’m sayin’?”
      They can’t all be gems, you know. :D

      • tim.o

        Set you ramblings to a score and it may just be deep enough to qualify as the next best facsimile of our favorite kvlt band to come our way. Better yet, drop the score and go for spoken word. Then you can call yourself avant-garde.

  • ME GORAK B.C.™

    ME THINK ANGRY METAL MAN EXPLAIN WHY EVERY BLABBERMOUTH REVIEW SCORE OVER 8…..

    • Hey, who let you out of the Metalsucks comments section?

      • ME GORAK B.C.™

        GORAK A NOMAD!!!!!!!!! UGG UGG!!!!!

    • Monsterth Goatom

      HODOR!

  • Dr. Scorpion

    The Scorpion agrees.Now………Holy Wars!!!!!!!!.No.No.I meant review wars.Are there any upcoming review wars?
    BTW DONT REMOVE THE SCORES. ALSO PLEASE GIVE DR SCORES WITH THINGS WE MAY HAVE MISSED. GRYMM ROCKS.

  • André Snyde Lopes

    So, the main point in my comment is going to be “DON’T CHANGE, PLEASE”. With that out of the way, allow me to elaborate.

    I hate most other review sites with a burning passion and the main factors are inflated scores, ass-kissing and clickbait bullshit. There is a reason regulars are a big percentage of your readership and that reason can be condensed into two words: INTEGRITY and RESPECT. Those are the reason us regulars keep coming back, checking the site multiple times a day (or waiting for the RSS feed to update if you’re smart, like me :P), engaging in conversations in the comments and in the forum even if they disagree with the reviews. Even industry people engage and I have no doubt that the positive ambiance and professionalism of the writers and readers is the catalysts for these interventions.

    This website’s excellent regular readership is a consequence of it’s material. When you do a review for a big album, the readership is not the same. Big bands have big fan bases and as most things in nature, a Gaussian distribution of intelligence and respect is to be expected. The fact that *some* less than agreeable people go on your reviews and make, quite frankly, a mockery of themselves is therefore a consequence of the Gaussian nature of spacetime itself. We as regulars and the staff must recognize this inevitability and simply accept that, unless the negativity in the comment is well explained, it must be either a joke to be laughed at or a display of ignorance to be fittingly ignored.

    Taking into account the minutia of running this website and the label politics involved, it is a testament to the resolve of this website’s staff, considering how petty the whole ordeal can be. Scores are not necessary but people (myself included) like having that tidbit of data on the end of the review, especially since sometimes the text review can be ambiguous. Numbers, however unrepresentative of the reviewer’s complete thoughts, have that deterministic nature. This website has the distinction of having the absolute BEST score system, not by virtue of it’s complexity but because the reviewers know how to properly use it. I get why other websites (not exclusively music focused) do it but that’s INTEGRITY we expect from this website and not any other.

    So yeah, please don’t change.

    • Dogman

      What ^he said! And thanks for the great effort the whole staff puts into creating this site, which is so high-quality and fun it’s ridiculous. Please add a donation button to cover costs for beer and cake!

  • Hammersmith

    I don’t always agree with the reviews here, but they are always backed up with valid points that are well thought out and clearly articulated which is always appreciated.

  • Tom Hardy

    Guys, just carry on reviewing and functioning and living the way you do. Don’t bother with folk who accuse the site of doing some trickery to help garner more site views and all that fookery.

    Pissing someone off isn’t a measure of how right or wrong you are. A review’s an opinion of one member of the site, needn’t necessarily translate to all reviewers and it isn’t absolute or written in stone until the end of time when man will be gone and there will be nothing to show that we were ever here … but stardust.

    • tim.o

      Ah, Amen

  • Oscar Albretsen

    ‘Tis the way of the internet. If someone really likes something, or even really WANTS to like it, a less than stellar review is going to be taken as a personal insult moreso than someone else’s opinion. You’ll see it on any comment page like this site has, but I actually don’t see it nearly as much here as I do on most websites.

  • AnnieK13

    Please don’t ever change!

  • Mr. Water

    I don’t think you are particularly negative. Often, when you are reviewing records of your favourite bands, you state how much you WANT to like the record, but still give a low grade because there are just to many weak points to warrant a good grade. I imagined you started your Iron Maiden review with the hope of making it the album of the month. The problem is that you are not NEGATIVE, but HONEST (in respect to your own opinion).

    Over the years I have come to trust the reviews on this site more than those in “professional” hard rock/metal magazines (which I now only buy for the interviews). It wouldn’t be the furs time that a review there spends 75% of its words describing the record’s weak points, and then promptly gives a 80/100 (the latest Iron Maiden being the most recent example).

    Seriously, if the bands and labels don’t like getting bad reviews they should 1) accept the fact you can’t please 100% of the people 100% of the time, 2) that a reviews are not free promotion, but (opinionated) quality checks and if you get lots of negative ones you should not excommunicate the reviewers, but take it as a sign you’re doing something wrong.

    • [not a Dr] Gonzalo Salazar

      That, or 3) they can make awesome albums.

    • tim.o

      AMG is really Marquis de Sade incarnate. That’s why he writes these “negative” reviews.

  • [not a Dr] Gonzalo Salazar

    How about including the meaning with the score?
    Since the scale is 0 to GuitMachine (or 0 to 5) instead of 8 to 10, people tend to panic and don’t even get to finding the chart.

    If an album is rated “3.0 /5”, it looks bad for someone who is used to seeing “8 / 10” as a flop.

    However, if you rate it as “3.0 / 5 : Good”, it may reduce the panic factor a bit.
    All that to say, I like the score.
    And I miss the 2-word comment that used to follow the score when it used to be at the beginning of the page.

    • The rating system is at the top of every page, but it wouldn’t hurt to make it more visible alongside the rating itself – as you say, to reduce the panic factor. Obviously it’s often overlooked.

    • I agree with all of this, mostly with the return of the blurbs.

  • It just occurred to me that I have been reading AMG for about 4 years now and even though some of your reviews light up my backside like the beacons of Gondor, they seem honest and are more thorough than most blogs. The cool thing is, if you don’t like an artist/album, it has zero impact on my ability to still enjoy if I choose to do so. It’s also important to note that you guys/gals here at AMG have introduced to me to an incredible amount of awesome music and some of my favorite albums.

    P.S I have spent more time than I want to admit exploring the review archives, just so you know the old reviews are still appreciated.

    • tim.o

      Yes, it would be great, if older reviews could be presented in a browse-able archive format.

  • Karmazov

    I think a lot of this has to do with being respectful when commenting as well. Opinions are opinions after all. It’s best to respect them especially with music being so subjective.

    • Pimpolho

      Yes. You may disagree, but there is no need to call someone a click baiter. (Except Dr. Grier, that scum).

      • Dr. A.N. Grier

        Dammit!!!!! I already have enough four-letter-word nicknames!!!!

  • Monsterth Goatom

    Let trolls and the butthurt do their worse: they can’t break this great community. I always remember these lines from Lynch’s The Straight Story:

    “When my kids were young I played a game with them. I’d give each of them a stick. One for each of ’em, and I’d tell them to break it. They’d do that easy. Then I’d tell them to make one bundle of all the sticks and try to break that. A course they couldn’t. I used to say that was family, that bundle.”

  • Did I influence you to write this article, AMG? Haha.

    • Óðinn

      Smitty, you influence everything. ;)

    • Nah, if you made that claim somewhere I missed it. There is a “straw that broke the camel’s back” incident, but I wouldn’t have written a big post about it if it hadn’t been an ongoing frustration of mine.

  • Dion Ka

    I very much like your reviews here but I have trouble to interpret them with the score attached to it. I mean that there are quite a lot of authors writing for angry metal guy for my perspective and every author has a different musical taste and that’s ok. I need to consider the personal taste of a person if i read a review by them. I don’t read enough reviews on here by the same authors to “get to know” them and thus can’t take enough information for me about the album but that’s just me.

  • You wot m8?

    To latch onto a tiny part of what I just read, I really like this idea of removing the rating system on the site, and here’s why:

    Music is as subjective as it gets. Some people like metal, some people like classical, some “people” like the pop-laden sludge that oozes out of the radio. Even within a given genre’s fanbase, there are people who desperately cling to a certain style that they have decided they are most comfortable with, metal being the ultimate example of this with the never-ending war to “subgenre” every fucking little thing.

    Because of the ultimate subjectivity and nigh-impossible objectivity of music in general, perhaps it is better to rely on a completely qualitative review of music. Most of the reviews here showcase what I’m talking about quite nicely, with a 4.5 review positively dripping with fangirl excitement, and 1.0 reviews always coming out just flat and dejected.

    Reviews don’t tell us if something is “good” or “bad”, they tell us what is good about x, and what is bad about x. It’s then left to the reader to weigh the pros and cons about album x and decide if they are willing to suffer the low points in order to experience the high points. For instance, the review of Gojira’s L’Enfant Sauvage. Somewhat of a hot-button topic, I know, but hear me out. The review was bad (sorry, it really was though) and it was given a 5.0. Don’t get me wrong, I think that the album was great, easily a 4 or 4.5, but it was most certainly not a 5. Then we look down in the comment section and see AMG’s short review…

    “Gojira is boring and overrated. I think their style has its moments but they take too long to do anything, the riffs are too repetitive and the vocalist annoys me.” All of this is true, all of it should have been in the “review”. Gojira works on a slow burn, becomes repetitive at times, and occasionally their vocalist tries things he shouldn’t. I freely admit that, and I really like Gojira. But it serves to illustrate something. For me, the slow burn, repetition, and occasional “sameness” are far outweighed by the badassery that the band is capable of. I would have given L’Enfant Sauvage a solid 4. AMG, probably would have been a butt about it, and given them a 2.5. But that’s the score, not the review. The review says: “yeah, their really good, but you have to listen for 35 fucking minutes before you realize it”. How you interpret that review is the difference between a 2.5 and a 4…

    So winding off that tangent, and back to my point, reviews > scores. A score is a individual’s interpretation of a review. Because while you can write a perfectly objective review that tells you what’s good and what’s not, everyone who reads that same review and listens to that same album would still give it a different score. Boiled down: reviews should stay, scores should go because scores are just the writer’s overall response to their own review.

    Thanks for reading all that. :D

    • Gabriel PérezMolphe

      Is doesn’t harm to have a rating sistem considering (based on the comments) that the AMG readers take , as you say, the review as more important than the score: Of coure there are infamous cases like Gojira, or the White Wizzard incident, but scores usually help me know wath a reviewer who I’m not used to means, considering the AMG post on wath should ratings mean.

      • And so it went down into history as “The White Wizzard Incident.”

      • tim.o

        If you are referring to the Natalie Z review, then I would have to disagree. I very much like her style and she was a fantastic addition to the reviewer pool.

  • Logos

    In the end of the day reviews are as much about the album as they are about the reviewer.

  • Eddy Ferreira

    People are getting angry cause your being honest in your reviews?! Holy shit..

  • PanzerFistDominatrix

    “I’m lightin’ up that strong, then pass it to my bro;
    numbers don’t lie, except 5-0”

    :-)

  • Lasse Momme

    Just because every other fucking review site has chosen to inflate their review scores it doesn’t mean you should. Keep on being magnificent, keep on being the best metal blog in the world.

  • The refreshing part of the negative reviews is actual, articulated reasons for why the reviewer doesn’t like a particular album.

    That opens up discussion, and in many cases it creates a “never thought of it that way” thread that is a good read. While I am ecstatic about the new Maiden album (it’s got my album of the year vote) I can understand why people might not like it. Having said that, I think the new Slayer deserves a 0.0, but that’s just me. :)

    That’s the beauty of taste. There is no argument, just differing opinions. :)

    • Synthetase

      ^ Yes.

  • Óðinn

    Everybody has their own opinion. To be honest, I find that Angry Metal Guy tends to inflate ratings for Power Metal releases, and not rate more artistic or avant-garde releases highly enough. But that’s okay. Angry Metal Guy reviewers are entitled to their opinions, and their reviews are generally honest and thoughtful. It’s just that we might have different biases or perspectives. I agree with many reviews and disagree with others. Either way, I appreciate what Angry Metal guy does, providing quality reviews.

    BTW…I appreciate that the recent The Book of Souls review received a modest score. I agree with AMG’s assessment of that album.

    • Kronos

      Blame Steel Druhm!

      • Go review some deathcore, core boy!

        • Kronos

          I haven’t seen a breakdown worth breaking down come my way in months!

          • There was this one amazing breakdown on an Unearth record one time. That was the one breakdown I heard that was worth breaking down. It was 2001 or 2003? You were still in diapers.

          • Kronos

            I’m old enough to remember where I was on 9/11. But just barely.

      • Óðinn

        Haha. I guess you’re right. Druhm has a passion for Power Metal that I do not share.

    • Inflate power metal!? Look to Druhm for that!

      • Slander and lies by the king of Blind Guardian boosterism!

        • That’s not power metal, that’s “epic orchestral German Übermetal!”

          • AMG = Helloweenie

          • Keep that up and I’m taking your “4.0 Because it Reminds Me of My Wasted Youth” stamp away and turning this blog around!

          • Then I’m taking your “2.5 because it kills my soul to give Maiden any less” rubber stamp away!

          • Well, it is a rather specific stamp…

          • Guys, guys, can’t we all agree that Turilli’s massive nuts make for great sleeping pillows?

          • tim.o

            Like Ü-pretentious. Darn, I poked the Beast.

      • tim.o

        Blind Guardian is not power metal? ; )

  • Pimpolho

    As a (relatively, i have been a reader since January, it’s quite some time, but nothing compared to some of the guys here) newbie, i already feel so welcomed by the community and you have no idea how much i LOVE to just come here everyday and read a good review, and this honesty is one of the reasons i keep coming back here. Is it Slayer? Fuck it, it’s bad, you got the sack to say it. Keep being awesome.

  • This is the ONLY blog I trust for a straight review, some I disagree with, (Khemmis deserved at least a 4.5) <—joke/ but mostly, I trust the honesty of the review and the integrity of the comments. I have yet to come across a better community on this great internet as AMG's. As for the promo guys getting you those records on time, I wouldn't worry about it too much, I like to read a review when I have access to the material myself to buy, or am at least able to listen to. I know you won't change, so I won't say don't. You guys rock.

  • Adam

    Personally I think over-focus on DR scores has been far more damaging to discussion than actual review scores. Too many comments like “Wow I’m surprised you rated this album highly considering its a mere DR5” ..etc
    For me at least, review scores serve far more purpose.

    • DR scores matter. Even when they don’t play a major role in the review, per se, they matter because they shine a light on industry practices. I think the “wow dr5 is bad automatically” talk is frustrating, but I can’t help that people don’t understand that DR is not a music quality rating, but a dynamic range rating.

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    You might also review just whatever the hell you want, right? No need to wait for record labels to send you a promo. There are MANY review sites that review albums 3 to 6 months AFTER release date. There are many review websites that review albums the reviewers bought themselves.
    I understand this might not be in line with “the industry” and the “business model” but after all… this is Metal and you´re Angry Metal Guy so fuck “the industry” and fuck the “business model”.

    • The main reason is that the health of the site is still dependent upon excitement around release dates. We do better when we can capitalize on that excitement. People read, discover new things, get upset, whatever; there’s still excitement that drives things. Plus, when we do write positive reviews, they don’t get shared 6 months later, they get shared within a few weeks of release.

  • beurbs

    well done. looking forward to more honest reviews

  • Levly

    Why not let the reviewer choose to score a record or not? It doesn’t need to be an absolute rule.
    Also, Amorphis’ PR considers a 4 for Under the Red Cloud too low for sharing?! So they don’t actually read the reviews and accept only perfect scores? Screw them.

  • I don’t really remember how I got here, but I’m pretty sure it was a review I didn’t agree with. That doesn’t matter, because the reviews and the community are awesome. Some people are just babies and cannot deal with differing opinions, so they need an alternative explanation.

    • tim.o

      I used google-fu; and when I read the name of his site, I laughed out loud with utter glee.

  • OzanCan

    It’s way too easier to express bad-mouth opinions on the Internet. Currently, I am a contributor writer on a Turkish blog and even though of my busy schedule, I always try to write 2-3 articles a week.
    And each week, some dumbass comes up and says that my reviews and/or articles are underrated or some shit. And everytime I give the same response: “If you think you’re better, why don’t you write it?”
    Then there is a satisfactory silence which pratically gives me the stronger edge…
    We love this site for its core nature, and seriously (what I gathered from the comments sections) we really don’t give a shit of others may say about the reviews.
    I mean, c’mon most people don’t even enjoy, appreciate Heavy Metal music and its subgenres; but do we bug them not liking it? NO!

  • Ralph Plug

    All this stuff about review scores is bothersome, and I’m amazed that In Vain or Riverside would be considered “not high enough” to share and/or to warrant action.

    I do get worried when I read these stories about Nuclear Blast, though, and I’m hearing more of these sounds from people who deal with them nowadays. Dealing out deliberately shoddy promo material, low-bitrate streams or granting access to albums way after the release date isn’t helping anyone in the long run, and will only damage both (metal) music journalism and NB themselves in the end. NB’s become too large and too corporate, I think.

  • Luke_22

    Great article that should silence the doubters and their wild, baseless accusations. Fortunately the bulk of the readership here respect the honest no-bullshit approach to reviewing and have intelligent counterpoints when they don’t agree.

  • One More Thing

    I love this site and come here first before going anywhere else. When I’m here, I specifically seek out and pay special attention to anything written by Kronos or Grymm. I visit the site fairly often and try to read most (if not all) of the material posted here because everyone at AMG is a talented writer and I’m always looking for new stuff, but I relate to and have an immense respect for how Kronos and Grymm perceive and evaluate material. If they didn’t write it, I will skip down to the bottom and check the numerical score before reading the review. If they did, I will fight my impatient nature and read through the review first, try to guess what the score is based on how they described the album, and then re-read the review again. I guess the score correctly more often than not these days.

    I’ve never been much of a grind guy, but after I read the review for The Anthropocene Extinction, I have been spinning that motherfucker constantly. I don’t blindly like the same stuff just because they do, but I can give it a fair shot with fresh ears because of the mentality that they’ve shared. If I disagree with a review that they or someone else here posts, it’s either kept to myself (because we don’t have to agree) or I didn’t understand how they arrived at the score given how the review was tailored, and so I will ask questions. I appreciate the brutal honesty here and have found tons of new music to enjoy from both good and negative reviews on this site. Thank you to everyone here for always being straight up.

  • Synthetase

    I think I stumbled on the site looking for someone else’s opinion on a record I was listening to and couldn’t decide what to make of it. I stayed not just for the brutal honesty or the good writing (I’m also an academic, AMG, and I recognise the style :), but for the well set-out reasoning.

    I know that this stuff is all subjective, so the major thing that keeps me reading is that you all clearly articulate exactly what it is about an album or song that makes you like or dislike it. Knowing what I like and why, I can then see from the description if it’s the sort of music I’d appreciate. It’s also very useful when, for example, I disagree with a rating. Reading the review, I can see why you think that, but maybe that thing isn’t as important to me, or perhaps it’s not something I like, therefore we can disagree but I’ve still learnt something.

    Never change, guys :)

  • ZEbyiUWvbe

    We do not review records that we have not received as promo
    Why not?

    • See point 2, about readership and site growth.

      • Kronos

        We should focus more on being Angry Marxist Guys.

        • I don’t think I’m being particularly ruthless by not giving free advertising to labels.

          • Kronos

            Nor do I.

          • tim.o

            You are my favorite monarch; or despot? I get those two confused.

          • I’m an enlightened despot.

      • ZEbyiUWvbe

        I don’t see a review as an advertisement for a product but as communication from a music lover to other music lovers. I would think that, independent of whether you paid for it yourself or not, you would want to share your opinion about an album which means something to you with others.

        Let’s assume that you don’t get a promo for the next Iron Maiden album. You bought a copy for yourself. You have strong opinions about this album. The metal community is waiting for your review with bated breath. What are you going to do?

        • Jeff Kent

          I too question why you wouldn’t want to want to share a fantastic ‘find’ with the readers of AMG. I spent many years in ‘the biz’ and became one of those guys who never bought anything that I could get for free from the label. But when I did find something new that blew me away and a promo wasn’t available, I would buy it and tell everyone I knew. Not as a favor to the label, but for my fellow fans.

          • I buy things I can get free from labels. My policy is primarily for labels. If a label isn’t going to give us promo–particularly big ones–I’m not sure why we should review their shit. We give love to independent bands we’ve discovered, but generally they’ll send us a copy of the album afterward, so I think it basically evens out.

        • It happens, but it’s rare. Even when we are going to review something we picked up elsewhere, we generally ask for promo going forward. It’s a bit of a quid pro quo. Obviously I started this blog because I have opinions. But I’m not going to put myself into debt so that labels can blurb me in their videos since I’m a well-respected, independent critical source who loves the new _insert band here_ album.

          We do make exceptions, but we don’t make many of them. It’s also the case that I’ll get promo for things and purchase albums later. Particularly of bands like Wilderun or Cormorant who don’t have label support.

  • Oberon

    As a general rule of thumb, anything that gets a 3.0 or higher tends to end up on a playlist for any given amount of time.

    Your reviews keep me in the loop for new music and it’s nice to dig back through your archives for stuff I end up missing after disappearing for months on end

  • Jeff Kent

    When I was writing for a zine (Promethean Crusade if you remember it) we published our reviews anonymously with the idea that readers would not be swayed by the fact that I was a Maiden fanboy or hated black metal. It worked to a degree, but in retrospect it didn’t allow readers to connect with our writers. Once every issue (this was a print zine, I’m old) we’d choose a big name band/major label release where all the writers would contribute their opinions. I think it started with Testament’s The Gathering album which some loved and some hated. AMG has this covered in the excellent comments section. I applaud all the writers at AMG for sticking to their guns and writing from the heart.

  • Alper Memioglu

    I don’t understand why people would complain about “negative” reviews. I’ve recently discovered this site, read a few reviews – some I agreed with, some I didn’t. But I appreciated them all because if I am reading somebody else’s review, that means I am curious about their take. I am not expecting them to think the same way I do; I just expect them to give me a new perspective on approaching an album. I get that here, I feel like the reviews are well thought-out and genuine. So I’d say keep it up guys, I think you’re doing a good job!

  • siegbran

    You don’t need to defend yourself, there are easily a hundred “big” established metal bands around who are universally regarded as well past their prime. Occasionally you’ll still find some gems but the vast majority is, for all intents and purposes, pretty unnecessary and adds very little to their legacy. No shame in pointing that out.

  • Monsterworks

    Just out of interest, when do you consider is the best time for the review to be posted in relation to the release date? In my opinion, having a review come out on or just shortly after the release date makes sense because, if it’s good, then it might inspire the reader to go out and get it straightaway. If a review comes out a month before launch (I’ve seen it happen for us many times) then, in a world of a million obscure bands, the little gem can get lost in the noise and the reader forgets about it by the time it is available.

    • 14-7 days ahead of time. That’s my take, it’s rare, but that’s what I prefer.

  • Statherian

    I’ll admit I’m one of those people who often look at the score first, and then read the review – but I do value the actual review more when it’s well written, and that’s why I love this site.

    Most sites these days use inflated scores, and anything under a 4/5 or 8/10 seems to be considered a straight up failure/bad album. I actually wouldn’t mind if you got rid of the scores, as your reviews are so well written and you give good reasons why you like or dislike an album.

    Eurogamer.net (videogames site) actually did that recently, when they felt that people conentrated way too much on the scores. They still do award some games with “Essential”, “Recommended” or “Avoid”, but there seems to be much less squabble over whether a game should get a 6/10 or 7/10 etc. I believe they do lose their Metacritic ratings (at least on those games that don’t get a “stamp of approval/disapproval”), which can be important to a gamesite’s traffic, but they still felt it was worth it. Maybe a model to consider for you guys as well?

  • bolok

    well your record of the year last year was pale communion and that is on roadrunner, pretty big lable if you ask me – which would contradict the accusations! and please never stop with the in depth reviews XD honestly reading terroriser, or rock sound / metal hammer [uk mags] album reviews after reading AMG, there is no comparison! what is the point of a four sentence review?!!!!!

  • You care too much about things.

    Bring the metal.

    Die angry anways.

  • Michael Staugaitis

    I love Maiden and have for nearly 30 years and I am enjoying Book of Souls, but your review was spot on.

    • tim.o

      I don’t expect anything from Maiden anymore; I just love it that they’re still cranking out albums; and I’ll keep listening to them; and I take a new Maiden release over a Metallica release any day. Although Lulu didn’t get a fair shake.

  • The Metal Pigeon

    Love the honesty at AMG, its been an inspiration to me, but yeah I don’t put much stock into the numerical rating. Its always been the review itself that provides context for the writer (ie his/her experience with the band, their position on certain eras of a band’s career, etc). Its why I never bothered with numerical reviews on my site, I hardly even remember to look at the numerical ratings on this site.

    • tim.o

      I’ve discovered a few power metal gems on your site, i.e. F.E.A.R. Love your site.

  • CyberneticOrganism

    Brütal honesty > Caving to pressure

  • Marco Stojanovic

    “Music reviewing is predicated on the good grace of the industry on which we are dependent. We do not review records that we have not received as promo, which means that we are dependent upon labels to give us access to promotional materials pre-release.”

    Why? Is it so important to have a review online before the release date? I mean… everyone has a spotify/apple/[insertmusicstreamingservicehere] these days. That means unlimited access to every fucking Album you want, without verbally sucking major labels’ dicks for some shitty promo material…

    • Kronos

      If we only review things after they come out, it kind of invalidates part of our existence. Yes, we do want to help people find music, but we also want to tell people if they should bother worrying about a future release.

    • In addition to what Kronos said, see the thing about the health and growth of the website: our traffic is largely dependent upon pre-release/release day fervor.

  • Pablo Nogueras

    The world is a million shades of Gray . You apply them all to your reviews. It upsets me when people let ENTITLEMENT creep into their review expectations.

    Open Mind, Open Ears and you will find good music for you.

    Let a review be your guide.

    Keep Reviewing, Keep Honest, and Keep Rockin’!

  • Daniel

    Yet they still send promos to ANUS.

  • Deadpoetdied

    This is the last remaining metal music reviewing site that I enjoy visiting. Keep up the good work. And the good grammar,

  • tim.o

    AMG… I’ve been following this site since your review of Skyforger. I come here daily. The rating system works; don’t change it; keep it simple; and the writing standards high. That’s what sets you apart. Other sites I find worthwhile reading are Metal Pigeon and Full Metal Attorney. Thanks for you insights into the industry.

    Cheers

    PS
    Talking about high standards, are we likely to see some more reviews by Natalie Z?

  • tim.o

    I always scroll down. I would prefer them back at the top.

  • Kryopsis

    “They explain that records have received universal acclaim and that we’re just being contrarian (even jokingly referring to me as Contrarian Metal Guy).”

    Yes, and I want to make sure there can be no possible misunderstandings about that. I don’t remember how long I’ve been reading AMG but I have purchases of releases I discovered here from about six years ago. While I have the all the usual Metal blogs bookmarked, I rarely visit them. Even if a release I like is not covered on this site, I prefer to just scroll through the comments and see if any of the readers mention them. It is much preferable to sorting through the usual hype and polarized love it/hate it drivel published everywhere else.

    Never did I intend to suggest that you are being disingenuous with your review scores. Yes, there are albums I love that you don’t and there are albums on your end-of-year lists that I actively dislike but this blog helped me to grow as a listener, challenged (and still challenges) my preconceived views and, more importantly, discover a lot of incredible music. I may not agree with your placement of ‘Virtual IX’ and ‘The X Factor’ but damn if I don’t appreciate your defence of Blaze Bayley.

    Ultimately, the reason I keep coming back is because of the stance on reviews described above, the rejection of all pretence, pseudo-objectivity and trve kvlt cred. Oh yeah, and Tim “Ripper” Owens bashing, that never gets old. I am not even exaggerating when I say that I get more of a negative AMG Insomnium review than a positive review anywhere else. I don’t feel that I have to agree with you to appreciate your work.

  • savafreak

    Ohhhhhh, so that’s why u haven’t reviewed Tad Morose latest album, because you slammed the one before, so apparently the record company put u on a black list of reviewers! Pity, I was waiting for your review for this one to see your opinion on it, as it is a vast improvement on Revenant !

    • That’s likely what happened. I didn’t like it much anyway tho.

  • Gaia

    I come here because it has a comments section that isn’t full of idiots. Also for new music. The reviews may be honest, and readers may value such things, I prefer a good read, I don’t care what you say as long as you say it with style. I know the kind of bands I like, it’s the being presented with them that cuts down time searching.

  • Innit Bartender

    I’ll read other sites’ reviews, but THE review, in my mind, is always AMG. I barely read the vote, it’s the review that counts. And for the life of me, I really can’t bring myself to see your Maiden’s review as NEGATIVE. It is a great piece, with great arguments, and after 5 or 6 f***ing posts reviewing their entire discography, I can’t think of a bigger fan.
    If the bands/mangements just want a 5/5 or 10/10 to blurb on their Twitter, then they’re doing a great disservice to their fans. This is not pop music. Metal has always been about discussion, different perceptions. ALWAYS.
    And again, the Riverside review was so full of love (and the album is just so GREAT) that if the manager/band can’t see past the observations about the mixing, again, they should do a double check about what they expect from their fans. This is prog. It’s “thinking people” music. If they want a 13-years old Lady Gaga fan-style OMGISSOGR8!!… really, they might even be losing some of my respect. I mean, Riverside?!?!? Come on! Read the review!!

  • Thanks for the insight AMG. I do not really know what goes on behind the scenes, but I came to this site a few years ago because it was the only place I found anywhere that provided useful, honest, and entertaining reviews of new metal albums. I found that my tastes were stuck in the 80’s and 90’s and I had literally not listened to anything new. So having these reviews helped me find new bands, whose music I would then post on my own blog.

    So thanks for keeping it real and brutally honest.

  • Shawn Cypher

    “some reader will comment on how it seems like we’re always trashing major label releases.”

    Guilty, I know I got a bit upset at a few of your reviews, and then have read some of your reviews on other indie albums, that, for me are not very interesting at all. (SOME are, you’ve introduced me to a lot of new stuff also — I guess sometimes we all have our grouchy days)

    “I have, frankly, even considered doing away with ratings altogether, because people get so obsessively focused on them.”

    Also guilty. Sometimes I just go to this site to look for new music that isn’t on the iTunes main genre pages (some of the metal tends to get buried or miscategorized, which I’m not even sure is a word). I click on reviews now, and scroll to the bottom half the time and look at the rating. If it’s under 3.0, and not a band I’ve previously listened to before, I don’t even read the review and move on.

    I’m not a bad person, honestly!

  • Bruno Marques

    I like your reviews, I think they are honest and sincere. Sometime I don’t agree but that don’t mean you are wrong and I’m right, it just different opinions, and that’s good.

  • Nick Maestas

    Bad reviews or not I respect every review I read on this site. Yea I may get disappointed if the reviewer hates an album I love but shit even sites need negative reviews even if it’s for a highly anticipated album (Book of Souls) but at AMG with the high quality writing and discussions there’s no reason to get pissed with an opinion.

  • Here’s Johnny

    My main issue was the reviewing of major releases given to one reviewer only. No way does everyone on this blog think the new Maiden was a 1/5 or whatever. I think major releases of that magnitude should have a couple of different opinions.

    I think it was unfair of staff on here and others to label myself as a fanboy. I also remember getting shit on here when i disagreed with a Nile review, people saying i worked for the band etc.

    I do respect the reviewers opinion but when load of releases were getting stupidly negative(often putting your noses up style) reviews, i started to come on here less and less. It became predictable to me and when i showed a friend the review of Maiden(no catchy tunes on it), they literally laughed out loud.

    Debate is always good and well done for not blocking people who were criticising the blog like others might have done.

    You are still a bunch of snobs btw :)

    • You are a pain in the ass, but we love ya. Now come get give us a hug!

      • Here’s Johnny

        I’ll give you a pain in the ass alright, ooooshh!

    • I am probably guilty of some of the snobbery in tone that you’re talking about, but I try not to be. It is never my goal to sound aloof. I’ve always thought that my writing tone was pretty straight and frank and that my honesty is why people liked my writing.

      And of all the reviews I’ve written, the idea that my Maiden review would fit into that mold is pretty mind-blowing for me. I fought hard with that album and was personally extremely disappointed. I wasn’t flippant, nor did I impugn the band in any way. I simply said that they should have edited the album and that it fell flat because of it. If you think that is “laugh out loud” worthy, then I can’t help but feel confused as to what the hell you expect from reviewers unless it’s an endorsement of your personal opinion of a record.

      • Here’s Johnny

        I laughed out loud as you said ‘no catchy tunes’ on it, even the worst Maiden albums have great tunes( X Factor – 2AM, Man on Edge, Sign of Cross)

        I don’t really take reviews on board that much anymore because that Maiden review, is your own personal opinion. Something you are chastising me for.

        • No, I’m not chastising you for having an opinion. I’m chastising you for implying that because I don’t agree with you the review is “laughable.” There’s a qualitative difference.

          • Here’s Johnny

            I didn’t say that though, i just thought be good idea to have a couple people review major releases. No way everyone thought that was ‘not a good’ album.

          • There was no disagreement within the staff on The Book of Souls.

          • Here’s Johnny

            hahaha that is becasue they are all whipped, especially Steel D.

          • No. It’s cause it wasn’t good.

          • You always find a way to drag me into these debates. It’s because you love me, and I accept that.