Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Reviews and Corrections January-February

As some of you may have noticed, there has been a recent surge of album reviews on my blog. This is because I have decided to start dedicating more of my time to finding and reviewing new metal albums. While that will certainly not become the sole purpose of this blog (I still need a place to post whatever I feel like posting, after all) I do intend to start placing more emphasis on album reviews.

With that said, I've decided to start including a new regular feature which I am calling, as this post's title indicates, "Reviews and Corrections". At the end of each month, I'm going to make one of these posts. In each, I will do three things:

-First, I will give an alphabetical list (by band) of the albums I reviewed that month, their genres, and the grades I gave them. This will just serve as a quick and easy reference for somebody who is looking for new material but who doesn't want to take the time to read a bunch of full reviews.

-Second, I will list the previous month's reviews, and (now that they've had a little more time to settle in my mind) post any final grade corrections I would make if I were reviewing them again at the time of the new post.

-Third, I will give an explanation of my grading policy. This will be a copy/paste procedure from one moth to the next, so after this initial explanation, that part will really just there for people who are seeing one of these posts for the first time.

This will be the first such monthly post. I realize that this is a leap year, so tomorrow is the last day of February, but I've got a full schedule tomorrow so I'm just going to put this one up a day early.


Horde Thor - Roots (Viking/folk metal, Grade: B+)
Horn of the Rhino - Grengus (doom metal, Grade: B)
Hugin Munin - Ten Thousand Spears for Ten Thousand Gods (deathcore, Grade: C-)
Sphere - Homo Hereticus (death metal, B-)
Umbah - Enter the Dagobah Core (electronic/industrial metal, Grade: B+)
Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats - Blood Lust (stoner/doom metal, Grade: B+)
Viniir - The Story Chapter 1 (Viking metal, Grade: B)
Winds of Plague - Against the World (metalcore, Grade: F)
Woods of Ypres - Woods 5: Grey Skies and Electric Light (black/doom metal, Grade: A)

January Corrections:
The Mountain Goats - All Eternals Deck (indie folk, change from A to A-)
Valtyr - Verinen Saagat (Viking metal, change from A to A-)


[On Grades]

(A) means I loved this album. An album does not have to be absolutely perfect to get an "A" grade from me, but it does need to really stand out as something special.

(A-) means the album was excellent, and I really enjoyed it. There are just a few flaws which stop me from giving it the top grade.

(B+) means the album was very good. Usually this grade means it was an otherwise fantastic album with one major flaw that I couldn't get past, or it was very strong but lacked the real "it factor" impact of a great album.

(B) means it was a good, solid album.

(B-) means it was a good solid album, but I have a gripe of some kind with it.

(C+) means this was an okay album, nothing worth going out of your way to get.

(C) means the album was mediocre.

(C-) means the album was weak, but not offensively bad.

(D+) means the album was pretty bad, but it had some small redeeming factor.

(D) means the album was bad.

(D-) means the album was really bad.

(F) means the album was absolutely horrible and I hated it. I would play it on a loop to torture my enemies.

I am perfectly willing to give grades anywhere on the scale. There doesn't seem to be much point in having a scale if I won't use the whole thing. I don't believe in holding "A" in reserve for only all-time classic albums, because it's difficult (if not impossible) to initially tell whether a new album deserves such a high level of recognition. Instead, I prefer to think of it the way a teacher looks at grading a class. In every class (year) there will be "A" students (albums), and that doesn't have to mean that they produced the greatest thing I've ever heard. That said, I won't just give a top grade to every album I enjoy, either.

Additionally, you may have noticed that most of my grades fall in the above-average region. That isn't because I'm an overly kind judge. Rather, it's because I have to seek out and listen to the albums I review on my own, so an album has to seem interesting to me before I pick it up in the first place. Thus, I end up weeding out a lot of the crap I can tell I won't like before it ever gets to the review stage.

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