The Author And My System
In case you are curious to learn a little more about the man behind the keyboard, I offer an introduction of sorts into myself and my love of music.
My origin, at least most people claim, is British, but due to a complication at birth I ended up with an American passport too. Aren’t I lucky. At the time of writing, I studying German & Russian at university in Bath, England, but also finding room for other pursuits such as theater and music journalism. I also at one point considered myself a poet, although my output for that has diminished over the years. Another passion of mine, although not quite to music’s level, is that of travel. I have, at various points, spent several months in Austria and Russia apiece (both thoroughly enjoyable experiences), and visited several other countries besides. But that’s for another time.
Music journalism is where this site comes in. I intend to develop this love into a career after graduation, working for either a print company or online site (ideally paid), hopefully in the metal direction but I am more than flexible enough to take on other styles and opportunities if they arise!
I got into music properly around the age of 11, and have since migrated from my origins in rap to rock to metal, now enjoying a wide range of all those genres and more, although metal is easily my preferred genre. Unlike many listeners, however, I never gave up on my roots. I still enjoy listening to many of the albums I enjoyed as a kid, leading to some confused raised eyebrows upon glancing at my CD collection. Most of my musical influence was based on my own exploration of bands and recommendations from friends and internet sites, resulting in an eclectic taste to say the least. To name all the bands I love would be a folly, as there are so many, but reading through the reviews should give you a general idea as to what tickles my fancy.
How I enjoy a song or album depends entirely on my mood. Sometimes in a contemplative mood I will opt for some post-rock or classical, relaxation turns me to new-age and ambient, and I have no end of all-out anger releases to thrash and death metal. Jazz also is starting to play a role, and my adoration of acoustic guitar has made me discover all sorts of talented folk artists.
Unlike many people, when I need to concentrate I find that louder and more extreme music helps: I frequently use Death FM when doing work unrelated to writing reviews, or put on a very heavy album when needing to be productive away from the computer. The hip hop I listen to is generally lyrical-based and so demands much of my attention when listening, moreso than in, say, deathcore, which is more about the heaviness (although melody can play a part, depending on the band).
I’ll freely admit that music is a completely subjective topic, and two people never truly “hear” the same album, so my work is always to be taken as a point of view rather than the authoritative view on a given piece of music. I can’t claim to have heard every song to judge it against the album in question, but hopefully my writing should give an idea to you, the reader, as to whether it’s worth your time pursuing that course of listening. I don’t claim to be the be all and end all of musical recommendation, just a guide along the way.
So if you are wondering upon which criteria I review music, I thought I’d break down the format slightly, and give a guideline as to what constitutes which rating.
N.B. These are inclusive due to the flexibility of each rating, as you may have noticed I hand out halves and quarters frequently.
0-2 – Not worth listening to unless the review has left you curious as to how bad the music is. The upper end may hold some musical merit, but rarely something worth exploring beyond the song provided.
2-4 – Not terrible, but still not enough to attract multiple listens. Maybe the album has one redeeming factor, but not enough to be worth your time. Probably for completionists only.
4-6 Some may tolerate it, but not likely to attract a strong fanbase due to a few issues stopping full enjoyment. More likely to be labeled ‘middle-of-the-road’, but by no means bad quality music.
6-8 Getting into the ‘good’ territory, certainly an enjoyable album which you can play several times without getting bored. There may be some lacking factor which could tip this into the top category.
8-10 The cream of the crop, and one of the better releases that I’ve have heard. Definitely one you can replay and love each time you listen to it. The top half would be considered for Best Of The Year lists.