Re-view from Above

Good day all,

Yesterday was new releases Tuesday in the music world and heavy metal was no exception. A fine group of new heavy metal albums were released yesterday for public consumption in record stores, download sites and your various Target and Wal-Mart stores. New releases Tuesday is an exciting day for a lot of people including myself, I look forward to the release of new albums from my favorite metal acts just like the next guy. It can also be a sad day for some as the album that they have been waiting for, for years finally gets released and it falls way below expectations. That is how I felt when Judas Priest released Nostradamus, I really disliked that album even though I had been waiting for it for about two and a half years. I don’t blame Judas Priest for putting out the album, they have done enough in the music world to put out an album any way they choose, but I didn’t like it and because of that new releases Tuesday, was a bit disappointing to me that Tuesday.

With new releases Tuesday also comes the reviews of the new albums coming out from the various websites, magazines, music professionals etc… This is where I have a problem, either there are way too many music reviewers out there, or their standards have dropped significantly. I believe that it is an over saturation of reviewers and this is what causes the problem of what seems to me, every album that is released is getting 5 out of 5 or 5 skulls or some other type of grade that makes every new album seem like the best album of the year. Two caveats to this discussion, one I do not review music because as I have said previously, I don’t think I have the music acumen or experience to do it credibly, and two, I have said in an earlier post that social media is a blessing to the music and heavy metal industry, but in this case it may be a detriment.

My first reason is pretty self explanatory and I will not go into it, but the second reason I think I should expand on just a little bit. As I have said I love social media and how it brings people together and how it gives access to bands that we as fans never really had in the past. But I think this access also scares reviewers into giving higher grades than necessary because access to them is much easier. It doesn’t take but a click of a mouse for a record label to stop following an online music magazine if they think they have been given a bad review by the magazine on one of their new releases, and I think that scares the magazines. Because of the whole premise of social media, that kind of buzz could spread throughout the industry pretty quickly, which in turn makes other magazines, and by extension their reviewers feel a bit uneasy about bad reviews. I will point out that there are plenty of reviewers who give a honest opinion and don’t seem to be afraid of giving a bad review where others have skirted the line to stay on the positive. But most of those reviewers are backed by major magazines and corporations and have little to fear in retaliation.

Yesterday was the release of Allegaeon’s new album Formshifter and by all of the retweeted reviews that were sent out on Twitter by Metal Blade and the band one would have thought it was the second coming of Reign in Blood! I purchased the album, and I liked it but it definitely didn’t break any barriers in heavy metal like the reviews about it seemed to indicate. Now I understand that there are some reviewers out there that just review the music they want to review, put up a website and call themselves professionals, and this leads to the over-inflation of the actual quality of the album. But there are also plenty of well-respected reviewers who are doing this same thing and I go back to my previous statement and wonder if it isn’t because they are a little bit afraid of the backlash?

No matter what I am always going to look forward to new releases Tuesday like a kid on Christmas morning, but I will also be very aware of the reviews I am reading of an album, and I would suggest you look at them with a critical eye before buying into their praises. I won’t stop reading reviews as I have found a few places where the reviewer actually gives an honest opinion without the fear of hurting any one’s feelings and who give solid reviews every Tuesday morning. I have learned a lot of things in my life but one thing that always sticks with me as a manager of people and I think translates well here is when you are evaluating people you want to be as fair as possible, and if your workforce is doing their jobs well you want to give them the best evaluation you can. But if when giving your evaluation, everyone you evaluate is “excellent” doesn’t that just make everyone average? 

Song of the Day:

Until Later, Peace



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