.Editorial - Dancing about Architecture... A Plague on Words?
Metal Reviews

Release year: 2008
Reviewed by Goat

I can’t actually remember the moment when I realised that I’d like a go at this Metal reviewing lark; certainly boredom was one major factor. Having lots of free time and easy access to the internet meant that sooner or later I would do some research on the strange music that had caught my attention after hearing Evanescence and Rage Against The Machine on the radio. And after I impulse-bought the albums that would start me on the steel-plated path (Iron MaidenPowerslave, EvanescenceFallen and System Of A DownToxicity) there was no stopping me! Oh, to be able to live those days again, those moments when each new album was an unknown pleasure, each riff opened a new world...

I think every new Metalhead goes through a certain period when they’ve just discovered our fantastic genre, enthusiastically playing random songs to friends and family, expecting their joy to be matched... which it rarely is, of course. What propelled me, I think, towards actually writing about Metal was a desire to share my new-found knowledge, having been spurned by both friends and family. Without a doubt, I wouldn’t be a quarter as musically-knowledgeable as I am without this very site – why not return the favour and tell people online of my musical discoveries? And whilst it took me a while to get aboard the good ship Metal Reviews, the knowledge and experience that I accrued at the now sadly defunct Blastwave helped me a lot in the path towards being that pinnacle of human existence – the Metal Reviewer.

Something I’ve come to notice over the couple of years that I’ve been writing about music is that it’s helped me to appreciate it more. Anyone can play a CD and enjoy it, but when it comes to putting into words just why you like a certain piece of music, how exactly to describe it so that others can tell from those words alone whether they will enjoy it too... this is where the struggle begins, the struggle that writers for this site and many others undergo weekly as they listen to their chosen albums and put their thoughts down. Speaking for myself and myself alone, I love it; picking the album, listening, writing... it’s a process that has forced me to sit and actually listen to many a release that I might otherwise have ignored. One example is my decision to review Rush’s back catalogue, born from the realisation that as much as I loved 2112, I might never have the patience to sit and listen to the band’s many other full-lengths – by taking on each and every album, I have to not only listen to them all, but appreciate and write about them. So I’ve gained a better understanding of a kickass band’s back catalogue, and Metal Reviews becomes one of the few (only?) places with an extensive guide to Rush – everyone wins!

Of course, there’s more to it than just listening to music. As an intellectual exercise, little beats thinking of diverse and interesting ways to say the same thing about whichever latest The Haunted rip-off has come through the letterbox in search of a review. Yes, they all sound the same, yes, none of them are much good, but when someone has picked me to review their EP or album, it’s hard to just dismiss it in a few words – these guys have put more blood, sweat and tears into their songs than any of us webzine monkeys have into our waffling, after all. Who am I to dismiss them, and then go on to give the latest Sabbath clones 85 out of 100? Yes, normally I’d rather stab myself repeatedly in the face with a sharpened spoon than listen to some terrible bunch of teenagers attempting to reinterpret, say, Darkthrone’s greatest hits, yet when they go to the bother of posting (often from halfway across the world) their magnum opus to me, I react as if the band themselves are sitting in front of me with big puppy-dog eyes, tears brimming at the merest hint of harshness. Of course, they are on their first demo, so some criticism has to take place, but I tend to forgive them far more than I would, say, Metallica.

So, writing reviews has improved my essay-writing and made me a better human being too, as well as giving me insights into the processes that take the Metal from the fingers and toes of the artists and put it into the CD in question. Come on, how many of you download-happy internet monkeys actually care about the journey of each riff from mind to matter? You’re all too busy torrenting the latest studio excretions from *insert band name here* to give a damn about Metal as a whole, the spirit of it, that special vibe that unites all of us, whatever country we live in. Well, if your hobby, your way of spending Sunday afternoons, was to sit and describe the sounds that were coming from the deepest underground – and I don’t mean the underground as in who’s got the best corpsepaint, I mean the underground as in, even Google have never heard of them – you’d get a far better idea as to the lifeforce of Metal, the working class of the genre. Those so many yet so few, that work all day for a pittance then spend their free time creating art every bit as potent and pure as what hangs in the Louvre, if not moreso... they are the bedrock upon which our house is built.

Of the three primary elements involved in Metal Reviewing – the writer, the subject, and the audience – we’ve dealt with the first two, but what of the third? What of you, dear reader, the one that chooses to spend their online time reading these words instead of browsing hotgirlaction dot com or, well, whatever takes your fancy? In many ways, we’re the lucky ones, you and I. See, we’re the ones, the fans, discovering the depths and widths of the Metal world, the acolytes of the True path. We’re the prospectors panning for precious Metals in the rivers of life; the bands may provide the substance in question, true, but I’m the one who sifts it out and cleans it for inspection, and you’re the ones who get to go home with it snuggled deep in your pockets.

Others throw everything in together; give you a wide variety of cheap, serviceable goods, the Walmarts and Tescos of the musical world. But writing about music, and specialising in this manner, music for Metalheads, is the equivalent of running the mom-and-pop store on the corner of the street, the specialist bookstore, the place where you go to clear your worries and collect your thoughts. It’s not about how many units we can shift; it’s about the smiling faces as we help each customer find what they want, the look of joy as their needs are met. That is more reward than any quarterly sales chart, and that’s another reason I choose to spend a goodly portion of my spare time tapping out these words, writing about music, Metal Reviewing – it’s the joy of letting people know that something is special and worthy of attention, something greater than what it appears to be. It’s the passion in taking this weird, freakish little genre, this runt of the musical litter, and making it divine, imperial, the fairy tale of the aural world. And it’s all come from the simple act of writing, typing these thoughts, sharing impressions with a digital world. My appreciation of music has been enhanced by all these words I've written; the knowledge that yours has too would be the perfect reward.

Killing Songs :
Goat quoted
Other albums by .Editorial that we have reviewed:
.Editorial - Exit the Warrior - RIP Neil Peart reviewed by Goat and quoted
.Editorial - From music reviewer to "successful" SciFi Author reviewed by Chris and quoted
.Editorial - Earth - Last Sanctuary: A SciFi novel by a metalhead reviewed by Chris and quoted
.Editorial - Picking Winners? reviewed by Goat and quoted
.Editorial - Making an iOS app for iPad - Dragon Alliance HD project reviewed by Chris and quoted
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