Metal Storm & Review Ratings


Written by: BitterCOld
Published: 03.07.2015


Here we go.

Metal Storm & Review Ratings

Hi, I'm Troy McClure BitterCOld and you might remember me from such famous behind the MS scenes articles like So You Want To Write A Guest Review For Metal Storm?, About The Metal Storm Awards, About The Metal Storm Awards… Results Edition, and Teenage Lesbian Nurses… In Bondage.

I'm back with another installment, Metal Storm & Review Ratings.

It seems there is some sporadic confusion in regards to the four sub elements in our rating system and computation of the final score, so here's some thoughts on the matter.

Performance - how well they play their instruments. Or whatever. Seems fairly self-explanatory. Do they play well within the framework of what they play? Are they competent or does it sound like everyone swapped instruments and played with their offhand? Are they just mailing it in or are they playing with pure unadulterated passion?

Songwriting - can they construct a decent tune? Can they do something memorable or catchy? Can they craft a beginning, middle, and end or do they all too often pull a Ghost ABCDEFG and just fade o

Originality - is kind of a tough one. Is it original? In pretty much 95% of albums reviewed you could be scored in the red here. Pretty much everything has been done. And, no, tossing a xylophone on top of a prog black album isn't particularly original… it's a gimmick. So take this with a grain of salt. A higher score probably means either the artist sort of invented their own sound and continue to tinker/improve (think Bolt Thrower or High On Fire) or at the very least within the existing style they at least showed some of their own ideas. A low score probably means the band is just spinning out the same shit, but only inferior to what they've done (looking at you, Obituary), or it is just metal-by-numbers.

Production - easy concept. Does it sound good? Beyond just good or bad, the style of music definitely comes in to play. Darkthrone sound like it was recorded in a basement and neither Fenriz or Nocturno Culto have ever heard of a second take. Blind Guardian sounds like it was engineered by people in labcoats twiddling knobs on Deep Thought. And both are great. They fit the music. A BG album that sounded like Under A Funeral Moon would be a horrible joke. Likewise if the next Darkthrone sounded like a Wintersun album, people would be dressing up in full corpsepaint out in the back yard with their gardening tools cursing Fenriz and the Heavens. Under a full moon in the dead of winter, of course.

Finally, the big one.

Rating - i.e. the Total Score! The Whole Enchilada! The number which causes a lot of people to flip out and start mashing their keyboard.

It is NOT simply an average of the above categories. Those are factored in, but there are other considerations which come in to play not reflected in the those above. Like:

Did I actually enjoy the album?

Someone like DragonForce can write a great sounding album loaded with pyrotechnics and displays of guitar-wankery that make Michaelangelo (the Nitro dude, not the dude who did the Sistine Chapel) jealous. So they could score really high in a couple categories… but the album itself could be not at all enjoyable. One song is like a twinkie. It's great. The album, however might be like eating a box of twinkies in one sitting… you feel horribly, fat, bloated, and want to expel that crème filling out of every orifice on your body.

Meanwhile another artist might release an album that is highly derivative, doesn't showcase comfort with the instrument, let alone mastery… but it might be played with such energy, enthusiasm and reckless abandon that you cannot help but enjoy it.

See what I mean?

Also things like "replay value" come into play. Some albums sounds great, but each subsequent listen the buzz wears off. Other albums only pull you in on further listens as you discover more little bits and pieces with each listen.

Each of those are factored in, which is a good thing. It makes me place value on aspects of albums I might otherwise find no redeeming factors in. (IMBO most albums sit between 5-7.) At the same time they are not the be all, end all to final evaluation.

So there you have it.



 



Written on 03.07.2015 by BitterCOld has been officially reviewing albums for MetalStorm since 2009.


Comments

Comments: 19   Visited by: 266 users
03.07.2015 - 02:43
Zaph
The Nothingth
Don't wanna point fingers, but some users/reviewers here should really have a look at this article.
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Wubba Lubba Dub Dub
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03.07.2015 - 03:44
Karlabos
Weirdo of MS
I think the teen lesbian link is directing to the wrong place...
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2016

2017
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03.07.2015 - 09:43
Nimlot
A. Reader
Written by Karlabos on 03.07.2015 at 03:44

I think the teen lesbian link is directing to the wrong place...

Works fine for me.
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03.07.2015 - 10:48
Ivor
Staff
Written by Karlabos on 03.07.2015 at 03:44

I think the teen lesbian link is directing to the wrong place...

Turn parental control off in your browser settings.

I.
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No friends for playing games
No foes who scorn my name
Computerized machines of steel and rust
/---/
No friends in my house on Mars
No foes in my house on Mars
I was born in my house on Mars
I will die in my house on Mars
-- Ayreon - My House on Mars
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03.07.2015 - 12:54
Windrider
Raureif
Nice article. I think replay value is one of the key factors because it summarizes most aspects and the final rating. Also I'd never felt like rating = (sum of them all)/4, I'd rather put like 40% songwriting, 30% performance, 20% production and 10% originality. But even that doesn't apply in most cases, final rating is a rather free parameter.
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03.07.2015 - 15:06
Belegûr
Arise In Might!
Sometimes when I am giving a final score, it seems like it does end up being around the average of the 4 scores. I never mean this though, it's just how it happens. I think averaging those scores is pointless because is production more important than originality? Or is songwriting more important than performance? Final score should just be how the album ratings system tends to work; pure shit up to perfect.
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03.07.2015 - 16:13
Apothecary
PsyCHEdelic
Written by Belegûr on 03.07.2015 at 15:06

Sometimes when I am giving a final score, it seems like it does end up being around the average of the 4 scores. I never mean this though, it's just how it happens. I think averaging those scores is pointless because is production more important than originality? Or is songwriting more important than performance? Final score should just be how the album ratings system tends to work; pure shit up to perfect.

Usually I do actually score albums around what the average of those ratings would be. Just because it kind of makes sense and is really a bit inevitable... if you think those four areas on the album are excellent, you're probably gonna give the album an excellent rating. If you think they're shit, you're probably going to give it a shit rating. But of course, you're overall rating doesn't have to be an exact average by any means. And quite frankly, if someone starts throwing a fit about how I gave an album an 8 when the average of those four scores is an 8.5 or a 9 or something therearound, I'm gonna tell them to fuck right off
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Written by RaduP on 14.01.2016 at 02:08

So you're not actually a bearded shaman opening his third eye through music?
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03.07.2015 - 16:18
Belegûr
Arise In Might!
Written by Apothecary on 03.07.2015 at 16:13

Written by Belegûr on 03.07.2015 at 15:06

Sometimes when I am giving a final score, it seems like it does end up being around the average of the 4 scores. I never mean this though, it's just how it happens. I think averaging those scores is pointless because is production more important than originality? Or is songwriting more important than performance? Final score should just be how the album ratings system tends to work; pure shit up to perfect.

Usually I do actually score albums around what the average of those ratings would be. Just because it kind of makes sense and is really a bit inevitable... if you think those four areas on the album are excellent, you're probably gonna give the album an excellent rating. If you think they're shit, you're probably going to give it a shit rating. But of course, you're overall rating doesn't have to be an exact average by any means. And quite frankly, if someone starts throwing a fit about how I gave an album an 8 when the average of those four scores is an 8.5 or a 9 or something therearound, I'm gonna tell them to fuck right off


Yeah I've had complaints about giving an album a 7 for originality. A 7 is good!

You are right about the averages of course. If all 4 scores are high then it shows you liked the album. I still like to think of the score on it's own though and try not to get worked up about what I gave it in those categories. I gave Powerwolfs album a 6.9 even though Production, Songwriting and Performance were 10, 7 and 8 ( I think ). This was simply because originality was so low and I felt that was an important issue in terms of my enjoyment of the album.
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03.07.2015 - 17:02
D.T. Metal
Editor In Chief
Written by Windrider on 03.07.2015 at 12:54

Nice article. I think replay value is one of the key factors because it summarizes most aspects and the final rating. Also I'd never felt like rating = (sum of them all)/4, I'd rather put like 40% songwriting, 30% performance, 20% production and 10% originality. But even that doesn't apply in most cases, final rating is a rather free parameter.

That ^^^
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04.07.2015 - 00:08
Ilham
Giant robot
I agree with everything I read. But can I ask, Craig, is there a specific reason behind the publication of this article? Haven't been too much around the forum lately.
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04.07.2015 - 07:48
BitterCOld
Gringo
Written by Ilham on 04.07.2015 at 00:08

I agree with everything I read. But can I ask, Craig, is there a specific reason behind the publication of this article? Haven't been too much around the forum lately.

'
Just the same questions seem to come up again and again on reviews, we figured worth an article/explanation and i do so love writing those.
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get the fuck off my lawn.
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04.07.2015 - 09:18
Mr. Doctor
Skandino
And I do so love reading those.
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Written by BloodTears on 19.08.2011 at 18:29
Like you could kiss my ass
Written by Milena on 20.06.2012 at 10:49
Rod, let me love you.
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04.07.2015 - 13:09
Charly546
Wouldn't it make sense to unite the "Originality" and "Songwriting" categories or have "Originality" as s sub-category for "Songwriting" (which is also how I've usually interpreted the scores. The review itself is the most important though but sometimes stuff not covered in review is shown in the score.)? I'm asking because it seems to me that everything "Originality" encompasses is also present in "Songwriting".
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04.07.2015 - 15:49
Karlabos
Weirdo of MS
Written by Charly546 on 04.07.2015 at 13:09

Wouldn't it make sense to unite the "Originality" and "Songwriting" categories or have "Originality" as s sub-category for "Songwriting" (which is also how I've usually interpreted the scores. The review itself is the most important though but sometimes stuff not covered in review is shown in the score.)? I'm asking because it seems to me that everything "Originality" encompasses is also present in "Songwriting".

Nahh.. Originality is originality and songwriting is songwriting.
Originality is the ability to come up with fresh ideas in a world where everyone are copycats.
Songwriting is the ability of write memorable songs, to make a song sufficiently distinct from the others and so on. Why would one be a subcategory of the other?
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2016

2017
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04.07.2015 - 16:43
BitterCOld
Gringo
Written by Charly546 on 04.07.2015 at 13:09

Wouldn't it make sense to unite the "Originality" and "Songwriting" categories or have "Originality" as s sub-category for "Songwriting" (which is also how I've usually interpreted the scores. The review itself is the most important though but sometimes stuff not covered in review is shown in the score.)? I'm asking because it seems to me that everything "Originality" encompasses is also present in "Songwriting".


absolutely baffled by this.

they are vastly different concepts. you can craft a great batch of songs without being original. you can craft "original" songs without them being remotely good.
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get the fuck off my lawn.
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04.07.2015 - 17:01
Charly546
Written by Karlabos on 04.07.2015 at 15:49

Written by Charly546 on 04.07.2015 at 13:09

Wouldn't it make sense to unite the "Originality" and "Songwriting" categories or have "Originality" as s sub-category for "Songwriting" (which is also how I've usually interpreted the scores. The review itself is the most important though but sometimes stuff not covered in review is shown in the score.)? I'm asking because it seems to me that everything "Originality" encompasses is also present in "Songwriting".

Nahh.. Originality is originality and songwriting is songwriting.
Originality is the ability to come up with fresh ideas in a world where everyone are copycats.
Songwriting is the ability of write memorable songs, to make a song sufficiently distinct from the others and so on. Why would one be a subcategory of the other?


Yeah, I didn't really think that one through (it's not internally consistent), sorry about that. The heat must be getting to me.

The main idea was that while originality could be considered the "quality" of the ideas used to write a song and how they'd be used while songwriting is the whole process of writing a song - coming up with ideas and how to use them, then using them and judging whether they do work (as in achieve the intended sound/effect) in the context of a song.
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04.07.2015 - 17:24
Karlabos
Weirdo of MS
Written by Charly546 on 04.07.2015 at 17:01

Yeah, I didn't really think that one through (it's not internally consistent), sorry about that. The heat must be getting to me.

The main idea was that while originality could be considered the "quality" of the ideas used to write a song and how they'd be used while songwriting is the whole process of writing a song - coming up with ideas and how to use them, then using them and judging whether they do work (as in achieve the intended sound/effect) in the context of a song.

I see. You were thinking of originality when it comes to write a song then... Yeah, it would fit as a subcategory.
But the term here (I think) is originality on a more abrasive way, originality on the album concept, on the genre played and so on, which don't have much to do with the songwriting per se. This way, as Bittercold said it is possible to have lots of original ideas but still writing a crap of a song as well as the opposite is also possible.
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2016

2017
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05.07.2015 - 00:10
Ellrohir
Heaven Knight
This article:

Performance: 8
Songwriting: 0
Originality: 9.5
Production: 5

Overall: 2/10...would not bang
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So behold the flight of the sapphire dragon
soaring through the skies once again


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03.08.2015 - 23:55
Guib
Thrash Talker
Fun read Also, can't agree more with what some others have said, it's a good tip for people who want to write reviews.
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- I love my technical, melodic, my thrash, agressive and fast paced, my sludge, well thought, my heavy, heavier and my metal, ever-growing -
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