Overrated? Find a Better Criticism

It’s an inevitable turn in the conversation about any work in music, film, or literature that has been greeted with approbation by critics or fans. Sooner or later someone will say or – far more likely these days – post, “Am I the only who thinks ‘x’ is totally overrated?” No, you are not. There are always plenty of compatriots prepared to cry out their judgement that the celebrated artist of the moment is in fact a monarch marching through the streets without a stitch to cover his sagging buttocks. Good for you. Now, knock it off and find more meaningful ways to discuss music and culture.

My dislike for the idea of “overrating” begins with its vagueness of as a critique. There is endless variation in who is doing the rating and the form their appreciation takes depending on the specific work in question. The discussion that prompted this piece focused on the new album from Khemmis, Hunted. There’s no doubt that this record has been well-received by many in this blog’s community and also by publications like Decibel, who named it album of the year. However, other indications suggest the Denver doom band is a long way off from the kind of crossover success that groups like Grammy-winners Ghost, iPhone and sunglasses aficionados Deafheaven, or even past doom darlings Pallbearer have discovered in recent years. The band still has well under 10,000 followers on Facebook, and the review from the tastemaking bastion Pitchfork was positive but not glowing.

So, at what point does an album go from being generally well-received by metal fans to being highly considered enough to warrant a backlash? And when the “conventional wisdom” you’re striking out against is narrowly limited to the portion of the world population who are passionate about heavy music in general and doom metal in particular, why even bother? Each week brings new releases, and there’s a good chance the ambient drone black metal or technical goregrind masterpiece you’ve been waiting for will be among them.

If you were so little moved by the beloved record of last week that you can only muster a one-word declaration of its unworthiness, it’s probably better to just move on. Different albums appeal to different people for different reasons. Inquisition are either a powerful cosmic horror extrapolation of thrashy black metal or Immortal wannabes with dangerous political sympathies and a frog for a singer. Nails are a tightly focused unit delivering a concise metallic hardcore pounding without the frills or self-important knuckle draggers who can’t be bothered to write entire songs or enough music for a proper full-length. And so on.

That said, even if we’re talking about an album widely regarded as a classic, “overrated” is an exceptionally weak criticism. Sure, question whether the early Venom was a raw, Satanic good time or just the half-assed product of ineptitude that could have come from any stoned teenager’s garage. Argue that Reign in Blood lacks dynamic variation and most of the songs are not fully formed enough to fulfill the promise of the masterpieces bookending the tracklist. Claim that Metallica’s first four albums were never that great and thrash would have been better off with Exodus, Testament, and Anthrax as the leading lights of the movement. These kinds of discussions can be interesting and cause us to reevaluate our thinking on ideas like creativity and influence. They also require you to go beyond pooh-poohing how other people feel about those records and start making strong assertions in regard to what makes them worthwhile or not.

Because above all, my problem with calling things overrated lies in the fact that it is a deeply lazy excuse for criticism. Rather than engaging with a work of art on its particular intentions and merits, one can simply dismiss it. In the process, the critic privileges his or her own elite aesthetic understanding over that of the vulgar unwashed who have been taken in by inferior product. There is no need to give the overrated work extended attention, for its popularity or critical acclaim has been revealed as mere hype.

But the fact you personally failed to see the appeal of an album that cost you 45 minutes of listening to a free stream while playing video games is not much of a statement. Nor is your declaration that you did not enjoy something as much as other people a sign your perception is necessarily superior to others. Most of us realize this intellectually, but it does not stop many from presenting opinions in such a categorical manner, showing an inherent disespect for the critical judgment of every single person who found pleasure or emotional connection in the work by displaying a refusal to even offer serious objections.

Of course, that’s partly a matter of convenience. It’s a whole lot quicker and easier to type a single sentence than whole paragraphs of analysis. But trust me, the world is not so desperate for your opinions that we need you to pump out a summation of your feelings as immediately as possible. We can wait for you to present fully formed thoughts, or not hear from you at all. It will be all right, losing only a few moments of irritation for the people who have been listening to an album repeatedly and absorbing its nuances.

Since I was assigned to write this post, our Great Orange Overlord responded to his homophobic lackey’s poor reception at a performance of Hamilton (and to the need to distract from the various scandals already mounting around his clusterfuck of a transition) by attacking the show itself. Did he question the quality of the tunes or whether portraying dead white guys with actors of color and hip hop-influenced music really has any impact on a history of racial iniquity? Of course not. He said he had heard the musical was “highly overrated.” How much impact do you think this judgement will have on the people participating in lotteries for a chance to have crappy seats to catch a live performance after listening to the soundtrack for months? I’m guessing not much. It’s a meaningless criticism that convinces no one – even if it comes from someone who actually knows what he or she is talking about.

Okay, let’s head to the comments, where you can tell me why my opinions and writing are overrated. But maybe when the temptation strikes again to lazily piss in the general direction of the next Greatest Album in Metal and feel above the rubes, at least consider giving your opening gambit for discussion further consideration. We’re all a part of keeping niche art alive, even as it’s propped up by a failing record industry, so we might as well make our conversations about that art better and more rewarding for everyone.

Written by:

Published on: November 22, 2016

Filled Under: Metal, Opinion

Views: 1847

Tags: , , , , , , ,

  • “Because above all, my problem with calling things overrated lies in the fact that it is a deeply lazy excuse for criticism”

    Well, to be fair. I’m a deeply lazy excuse for a human being.

  • Heliocrat

    “Overrated” implies that the rating of a majority actually meanings shit.

  • AndySynn

    Ha, funnily enough I have a column half finished that talks about how sometimes you SHOULD challenge the critical consensus if/when you truly feel an album is being overrated. I should get that finished sometime.

    Though I do kind of feel like saying an album is “being” overrated by someone (or someones) is different than saying an album just “is” overrated.

  • SupremeKrieg

    Music is either true or false, fvck

    • GL

      You have misspelled trve, which immediately places you in the “false” group.

      GL

      • GL

        …. and I mean this in a completely and utterly joking fashion.

        <3

      • SupremeKrieg

        You’re false, not me. I’m fvcking true

        • GL

          Well, when you put it that way…

    • Elegant Gazing Globe

      but what about 0101010100111000101010101 ?

      • CyberneticOrganism

        AFFIRMATIVE

    • RepostedAvengedSevenfoldFan2

      i dunno if they are satanic or not but they sure do have sick ass solos.

      -Heretic Rogers, 3 years ago

    • Señor Jefe El Rosa

      Yesssssss

    • SupremeKrieg

      Fvckin Venom, fvck yeah

    • I will stand by my opinion that every venom clone band is actually better than Venom

  • Howard Dean

    Dr. Kolkey is an overrated doctor. He couldn’t even set the broken bone in my leg that I sustained from STOMPING THE FUCK OUT OF OVERRATED ALBUMS FROM OVERRATED BANDS.

  • Joaquin Stick

    Hamilton ist krieg.

    Nice work JK, I am indeed tired of “overrated” meaning “I don’t like this thing, and I’m better than you, so I should know.”

    • GL

      question: get that “new” Protest yet?

      • Joaquin Stick

        I did! Based on the few singles I heard, I had VERY low expectations, but was actually pleasantly surprised. Not sure if I wanna drop $10 for an EP though. Don’t give a shit that instrumental version comes with it, I like Rody well enough.

        • GL

          I thought it pretty good too! I think I paid something stupid like 12.99 on itunes for it. I love them though. Oh well!

  • Señor Jefe El Rosa

    Spot on writing, Dr. K! I’ve never enjoyed the term overrated as a point of criticism and you have gone to far batter explanation than I ever could. Excellent job

  • Rob M

    “So, at what point does an album go from
    being generally well-received by metal fans to being highly considered
    enough to warrant a backlash?”

    The minute a site like Metal Injection starts slobbering all over it

  • I’m really curious on how people can get “butthurt” when his/her favorite bands get aslammed on the internet.

    I think some metal fanatics community, sometimes, should help themselves by not linking their personal life to music. Same applies with all kinds of fandom. I know sometimes people get opinionated very hard and attack everything, but that’s how things are today. That’s particularly the bloggers’ sin: to attack or disacredit without basis.

    That’s how I just ignore opinions with #overrated pastiched in a sentence, too. If the person formulates his/her opinion in a poorly way, I tend to ignore.

    Focus in the good, throw the bad.

    Good writing, Dr. Kolkey.

    • Rob M

      This is a great point…Theres a difference between “I think that band sucks” and “I think you suck for liking that band”…

      …People need to learn how to step back from things

      • Indeed. I feel the same as you.

        Sometimes, we just need to chill out and just enjoy. You know? The very first thing that made me comment in this blog and later become a contributor to all the people around here was Masterlord (R.I.P.) and Randall Thor blabbing about power metal; it was super fun to read about such a dreaded genre and next reading about killer black, death, noise and prog metal at the same.

        My tastes doesn’t overlap to all the people around here and when I write I know it will not be for the taste of everyone, but I think I can share music with some users around here because they can “step back”, like you said, when seriously argue about some recommendation.

        • Rob M

          For me, it was just one of those things I picked up after being on various websites and constantly arguing with people all the time.
          I finally just realized:

          A) Im way too old to give a shit about what some guy I’ll probably never meet thinks of the various bands I like

          B) No one deserves to be dumped on for liking a band I dont…it dosnt affect my life in any way, so whats the point of doing it. I’ll happily voice my opinion about a band…positive or negative, but very rarely do I pull a “listen to real metal, poser” type attitude

          • Yeah, man. I think the same.

            Too old and tired to try to change the mind of people on what they enjoy. It’s their business, not mine. I prefer to focus in searching new things I know I can enjoy.

        • I love this place and still consider it to be the most civil place to discuss merol on the web. Even the albums I choose to flush, I don’t call them intrinsically bad. Instead I like to describe what I do not like about them. I REALLY hope folks are kidding when they say things like “Iron Maiden is objectively great” or “Five Finger Death Punch is objectively terrible”. Those statements are impossible.

          • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

            Yeah, but FFDP is objectively terrible.

          • Óðinn

            You make a good point.

      • Dr. K

        Well. That escalated quickly.

      • FUCK OFF, OVERRATED BLACK METAL BAND. DON’T TELL ME HOW TO LIVE. I WILL FUCKING SELL YOUR RECORD AND I WILL PAYPAL THE SHIT OUT THIS MONEY AND YOU WILL LOVE IT OK

        • HAHA! TELL EM LINK!

        • CyberneticOrganism

          That band doesn’t understand the concept of selling.

      • sweetooth0

        what is that word at the end of the first line? “negoriate”?

        • Negotiate, I think.

          • sweetooth0

            it should be I think, but I am not seeing a T there, it looks a whole lot like an R. I think I’m going to go an try and negoriate a better interest rate on my high interest loan later…

          • CyberneticOrganism

            Area Moms Earn $6000 Per Month Teaching This One Negoriating Trick Realtors Don’t Want You To Know

          • Howard Dean

            Engrish, my friend. Good lukk with negoriations on your intrest paiments!

        • RJA

          are they spelling negotiate with a ‘c’? – negociate

    • This extends to a lot of things. When I first started design school in college, so many people had their egos shattered when professors disliked their designs. You have distance yourself from things you enjoy and even things you create in order to grow as an artist and/or person. I had a teacher write “POOP” on one of my designs and rip it off the wall once, didn’t even phase me because I knew it was directed at the work and not the person.

      • GL

        Did you proceed to “flush” your poser teacher? That seems the only logical next step.

      • Howard Dean

        I had something similar to that happen to me once, but it was the word “SHIT.” And instead of on one of my designs, it was written on my door in Sharpie accompanied by the words “You are a piece of,” and “We should’ve coat-hanger’d your ass.” Thanks mom and dad!

      • Ohhh, that happened to me sometimes in journalism studies. UGH!

        I repressed those memories 🙁 Thanks for making them come out again!

        • W.

          I think it connects to grades, though. I don’t think (most of) my students are bad people when they underperform. In fact, some of my favorite students have been C-students.

          • Óðinn

            Yeah, but how will they get into grad school?

    • tigeraid

      ICED EARTH ROOLS FUCK U GUYS

  • RepostedAvengedSevenfoldFan2

    jimi hendric so overrate he onbly played pentatonic some lame shit u need some dream theater bra

    – bob Victor • a year ago

    • Maik Beninton™

      shut up bob vyctor

    • Howard Dean
    • Maik Beninton™
      • Howard Dean

        Now ain’t that some shit! It’s like capoeira-based professional wrestling–a capoeira frankensteiner. Fuck!

        Related (a classic):

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NqS9N7WJOFY

      • Rob M

        I can do that, but I dont wanna

      • Elegant Gazing Globe

        the secret to his smooth moves lie at the top of his head

      • Elegant Gazing Globe

        that looks like the same guy who juggled devil sticks in high school

        • Howard Dean

          And the same guy who used one of these fuckers (when he wasn’t perfecting his hacky sack technique, of course).

          http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41H0de2BnUL.jpg

          • CyberneticOrganism

            *vapes*

          • W.

            I’ve honestly never seen one of these. Is that a practice skateboard?

          • Howard Dean

            Vew-do boards. Kind of a skateboard trainer type thing, but it was a balance board that you did tricks on and shit. All the hacky sack playing, devil stick twirling dudes were obsessed with it. Popular in the early-to-mid 90’s (at least in the northeast).

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H_d4zhYidNk

          • GL

            *fffrrppRRRrrrr**pushesharder**FRRRRRRRRRRPPRRPP*

          • CyberneticOrganism
          • W.

            Interesting. Maybe these never made it to Colorado.

          • Dumpster Lung ᴰᵃᵐᵃᵍᵉ_ᴵⁿᶜ⁸⁹

            Or Tennessee. Thank GodSatan.

            I did play the hell out of some hacky sack back in the day, though. Quite a lot. Never any of the rest, though, and I didn’t really have any particular look or style going on. I was just a regular dork, not a specific subculture-adhering dork.

          • more beer

            I am not sure they made it out of that guys bedroom.

          • W.

            lol

          • more beer

            On a sad note. I just found out Foothills Gutfest in the Springs is done. It was always a fun festival. But the promoter couldn’t afford to do it anymore.

          • W.

            That sucks. I think it is getting harder for small-time promoters to get things going.

            On another note, my wife really enjoyed her interviews in Utah and Virginia. I dunno if Denver is still the top. We shall see.

          • more beer

            Hey you guys have to do whats best for you. Yea I was kind of bummed about the fest. But we are talking with the guy who runs Las Vegas Death Fest. Because he wants us to do something in Denver with a bunch of his bands that are playing that. So they have more than just that stop. So we shall see.

          • Óðinn
          • Óðinn
          • Howard Dean

            RIP PHILADELPHIA COLLINS

          • tigeraid

            Fuckin filthy mustard tiger.

          • Howard Dean

            Which is surprising, because I think they were tailor made for a place like Boulder.

          • NDG

            My son is getting one for Christmas. We live on the coast and he is heavily into skating and surfing.

            Most of the time I call him Warchild.

          • Elegant Gazing Globe

            and smoking American Spirits

      • tigeraid
      • GoatForest

        Goddamn, son.

    • CyberneticOrganism

      RIP jimi hendric

  • KyleJMcBride

    Damn, somebody got their cornflakes pissed in today.

  • GL

    What is the most overrated band you are aware of?

    My response is obvious: Ghost (triple-reggaeton-flush)

    GL

    • Dumpster Lung ᴰᵃᵐᵃᵍᵉ_ᴵⁿᶜ⁸⁹

      Hahaha. That was initially what kept me away from Ghost, although I eventually really grew to like them once I listened to that single from the last album (starts with a “C” and already have enough tabs open in Chrome, so fuck it).

      All it seemed I ever heard about was “OMG the costumes and who R they?” and it was just such a huge turnoff.

      In their case, I did eventually find that the music was good enough on its own merit to really get into, but I also really like classic BOC, so that helps a whole hell of a lot.

      • Depechemodeisgangsta

        I went to see Ghost since, a lot of people said that their shows were good live, so i listened to a couple of songs and they were fine for my taste, i just think of them like rock classic 70’s sounds with ABBA in between.
        And their show was good IMO, nothing special, but not the worst live band, that would be Papa Roach.

        • Dumpster Lung ᴰᵃᵐᵃᵍᵉ_ᴵⁿᶜ⁸⁹

          I should’ve gone to see them when they came to Nashville, but I didn’t. Oh well 😛 I don’t know if I’d want to travel very far unless there were really good openers too, but I’ll catch ’em next time they come here. I’m sure it sold well.

          • Depechemodeisgangsta

            I’m the worst, i won’t drive 2 hours to go see a band, i live in Miami so we don’t get too many bands, coming down here since they know that they won’t make $, Miami is the worst town, unless you are a famous pop band, because then everyone will go, so they can take their pictures and share it online.
            The ghost show here in Miami was on a venue that can probably hold 2,500 i would say that on that show was about 60% sold, there was a lot of empty seats.

          • Dumpster Lung ᴰᵃᵐᵃᵍᵉ_ᴵⁿᶜ⁸⁹

            You are the worst haha. Just kidding, but come on, it’s all flat as shit down there too, so 2 hours is probably a pretty easy drive.

            From Nashville to Atlanta is annoying as fuck on the way back home when it’s like 1AM and you’re really tired. All those curves and hills for like half the drive. . . .ugh. But Nashville gets skipped by a lot of major bands, so it’s necessary. I’m trying to cut down on the Atlanta trips, though. It’s just too much to do all that often.

          • Depechemodeisgangsta

            The problem here is traffic, because let say, if i want to make that drive after work, and go straight to highway, from Miami to Ft lauderdale, which at most is 30-40 minutes drive, on Miami traffic, that is a 2 hour drive just on traffic, and then you still have to drive about another hour to get to the place, that right there pisses me off, and like you said, we are lucky since is all flat, but at night, there is always some construction going on, so at some parts, the traffic slows down on the way back, plus is pass my bedtime, once is 11:30 PM, i just want to be sleeping lol.

    • Rob M

      See, I think theyve kinda earned the whole “overrated” tag. I liked Opus Eponymous when it came out, it was a fun, catchy throwback to the proto-metal days, but now theyve become this huge thing and its just kind of tired

      • Howard Dean

        Opus Eponymous was a pretty cool album. The rest can get flushed.

    • Mmm, I don’t recommend doing this GL. A few people tried this in the FB group and nothing good ever came from it.

      • GL

        STOKING THE FLAMES OF BUTT-HURT IS ALWAYS A GOOD IDEA.

        • KyleJMcBride

          I’ll think about this while listening to some Opeth.

          • GL

            NOPETH.

            -JOE

    • You and I can agree on that.

    • Sir Crawfish The Based

      Beatles.

      • Kevin Nash’s Jackknife

        I can’t believe I’m saying this but I agree 100 percent.

      • Óðinn

        Okay, yeah. Most overrated band of all time. Right up there with Rolling Stones, The Who, and Led Zeppelin.

    • CyberneticOrganism

      Foo Fighters. Dull radio rock for 90s kids who stopped listening to new music after high school/college.

      • This robit must not know that Father Grohl started out in The Foo Fighters

        • CyberneticOrganism

          Negative; fuck Father Grohl

          • GL

            If I see one single God damn the best video response I am going to nuke this fucker.

          • Rob M

            How about “The Pretender” by a bunch of jailbait?

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DB2ELkIzWQ0

          • GL

            I am not going to watch this. lol

          • CyberneticOrganism

            Now appearing at participating Chuck E Cheese locations nationwide!

          • Depechemodeisgangsta

            Man i guess i’m not “Hip” enough, i didn’t even knew that this existed.

          • Rob M

            Dont worry, this isnt really a case of being “hip” so much as a case of “Why the hell do I even know this exists?”

          • Sir Crawfish The Based
          • GL
          • Sir Crawfish The Based

            I shan’t

          • GL

            At least you are consistent!

          • Kevin Nash’s Jackknife

            Such a good live album.

          • Man, we Toileteers went from jokingly praising Father Grohl to vehemently bashing him p quick. (For clarification, I do not sincerely like Dave Grohl)

    • Kevin Nash’s Jackknife

      You know what my most overrated band is? The Beatles. They can’t equal Brian Wilson on his worst day. Sgt Pepper is nowhere near as good as Pet Sounds.

      • Ted Nü-Djent ™

        I don’t like The Beatles but they were important for the time they were around. You’re not qualified to call them overrated

  • Count_Breznak

    Venom are ineptitude personified, it’s what they are all about.

    • SupremeKrieg

      Venom are true warriors

  • KyleJMcBride

    95% of everything ever written, recorded, or filmed is overrated, and by overrated, I mean shit.

    • Sir Crawfish The Based

      At its core all music is shit.

      • Óðinn

        Yes. It’s Shitcore, which, I assume, is the genre of music that Avenged Sevenfold plays.

        • Sir Crawfish The Based

          Shitcore is an universal genre. Every band plays it.

          • Óðinn

            See, I was right. 😉

  • Elegant Gazing Globe

    I listen to music I like, and fuck what the peanut gallery thinks

  • mother☆shabubu

    I have a feeling that “bro do you even play an instrument?” will be the new “overrated” in 2017.

  • KyleJMcBride

    I could come up with more nuanced reasons why I like a particular album or not, but that would cut into valuable masturbation time, not worth it.

    • Haha! The extent of of my metal criticism is usually on the lines of: “This fucking rules”, “This band fucking slays” “This band fucking kills” “This band fucking sucks”, “This band is fucking poopy”, “This band is fucking garbage”. Then move on.

      • Rob M

        …thats pretty much all I ever need to know anyway.

      • Same, except my vocabulary changes slightly depending on the genre

    • ME GORAK™✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ
      • Gorak. Did you (or will you) get to see Vektor and Black Fast on the current tour?

        • ME GORAK™✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

          BLACK FAST EMAIL OFFER GET IN FREE CLEVELAND SHOW ON 2ND, BUT ONLY IF HAD SMARTFONE TO TAPE SET!!!!!!!!! BUT ONLY HAVE SHITTY NOT INTERNET OR VAYDO FONE SO MISSED OUT 🙁 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          • Who wants to tape a live set anyways? They played in STL last night and it was amazing. Sorry you can’t catch them

          • ME GORAK™✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

            HAVE MISSED COUPLE GOOD SHOWS THIS MONTH!!!!!!! BUT ABBATH & BODOM IS MONDAY!!!!!!!

  • Abradolf Lincler

    you dont have to have reasons to hate a thing

  • Dumpster Lung ᴰᵃᵐᵃᵍᵉ_ᴵⁿᶜ⁸⁹

    I really liked the different takes on bands like Nails and Inquisition, however. . . .

    even considering that those first 4 ‘Tallica albums were not that great is like, I dunno, denying climate change, or saying the Earth is only 5 thousand years old, or the Earth is flat, or vaccines cause autism.

    • Howard Dean

      Autism causes wrong opinions–like the one that the first 4 Metallica albums are overrated.

      • Slayer, Bathory, Celtic Frost and Venom are all overrated. *Dies an agonizing death*

        https://i.makeagif.com/media/9-27-2015/ulfbyE.gif

        • Howard Dean

          Hahahaha. We know of at least one autistic dude who actually believes this nonsense.

          • Haha, that’s who I was channeling there. It hurt a little, not going to lie.

        • SupremeKrieg

          Burn any untrue fvcks that say that shit

      • > using autism as an insult

        • Howard Dean

          I tried to use autism to win money at the blackjack tables in Vegas, but it didn’t work.

          > Now I’ve used autism in joke.

          >> I am a bad person.

          • < not reading the original comment and taking yours out of context and realizing it 2 hours later

        • Kevin Nash’s Jackknife

          Agreed. I refuse to support anyone who does that. I take people making fun of a condition which some on my best friends have very seriously.

      • Kevin Nash’s Jackknife

        I’m not even mad, I’m just disappointed.

        • Howard Dean

          You couldn’t have cut me any deeper with a Bowie knife, JJD.

    • Dr. K

      To be clear, I subscribe to the more positive take on every album or band mentioned here, with the exception of Hamilton. I’ve never seen Hamilton.

      • Dumpster Lung ᴰᵃᵐᵃᵍᵉ_ᴵⁿᶜ⁸⁹

        I figured you probably did, haha. I do too, although it wasn’t until Obscure Verses that I changed my mind on Inquisition. Before that I was definitely on the “oh, that black metal band with the frog vocals?” side of things.

  • Fuuuuuuucking nailed it. I recently posted an article with a very similar sentiment from the dudes at Heavy Blog is Heavy in the TovH FB group.

  • Doctor Kolkey, this was beyond impressive.
    “Band Y is overrated.”
    translation:
    “I don’t like Band Y’s new album, and can’t understand why others would like it. Can I write a bullet-point list of items to try to convince you to stop liking it plz?”

  • tigeraid

    I love the new Khemmis. Overrated or otherwise.

    I feel this may be directed at a few choice members of our terlet!

  • frozengoatsheadupanunsarse

    If you’re not careful calling things overrated will become underrated and then people will embrace it again 🙁

    But seriously though, this was a spot on article.

  • Dumpster Lung ᴰᵃᵐᵃᵍᵉ_ᴵⁿᶜ⁸⁹

    I never place much importance on year-end lists and that sort of thing, but I do enjoy reading them. I was pretty surprised at Decibel’s, though. No Vektor? Dillinger at #40? That new fucking Diamond Head at like 20 or something!?

    Don’t get me wrong, I love Lightning to the Nations as much as anyone else with half a brain, but this new Diamond Head just didn’t seem like top-anything material. It was really nice that they stopped trying to cash in on grunge, or whatever it was that they were doing throughout the 90s, but as much as I really truly wanted to love it, I was kinda disappointed. It just felt very bland to me.

    Feels like there’s a single word for how I feel this album was received. Hmmm. . . .

    • Rob M

      Nails was top five…that list is irrelevant

    • Dr. K

      No! Bad! (I’m working from home today to care for a foster dog, by the way.) Let’s at least make it a full sentence that can encourage further meaningful discussion: “Decibel’s year-end list vastly overrated Diamond Head’s perfunctory new album in relation to the far more inventive and relevant Vektor release.” See, now I’m not mad at you. Plus, I agree with the statement.

      • Dumpster Lung ᴰᵃᵐᵃᵍᵉ_ᴵⁿᶜ⁸⁹

        Hahahaha, well to be fair, I wasn’t strictly limiting it to Vektor vs Diamond Head. It was Vektor vs lots of things, but particularly that album, and how Dillinger barely made it at all.

        The whole thing was kind of puzzling.

    • Óðinn

      I can’t remember which label(s), but I seem to recall that Decibel doesn’t include artist from certain record labels.

      • Sir Crawfish The Based

        Varför?

      • Dumpster Lung ᴰᵃᵐᵃᵍᵉ_ᴵⁿᶜ⁸⁹

        Really? That’s weird. I wonder why.

        • Óðinn

          Probably because of advertising or lack thereof.

          • Dumpster Lung ᴰᵃᵐᵃᵍᵉ_ᴵⁿᶜ⁸⁹

            I found an old Reddit AMA from a while back where it sounded like maybe it was Southern Lord, but the conversation was vague (guess everyone involved knew the situation well enough to not have to spell anything out), and it made it tough to decipher exactly what the deal was there.

          • Óðinn

            Yeah, I think it might have been Southern Lord. It was an issue people were discussing a few years back.

          • Dumpster Lung ᴰᵃᵐᵃᵍᵉ_ᴵⁿᶜ⁸⁹

            That seems like something they should (unless they have already) remedy, because that’s a pretty big label. I forget who’s on it, but seems like it’d be missing a lot of stuff.

      • You both have dark blue avatars. Stop it.

  • Oh no, too many people like a thing that I don’t think is very good

  • The Tetrachord of Archytas

    I agree with this article a lot. My other biggest pet peeve is actually when reviewers either praise or curse “song structure”

    This is because to objectively analyze and discuss construction requires time that I know people don’t really put into their critiques, but it also requires a skill set that most people don’t have. Instead most people factor in their tastes, whether or not they latched on to anything, whether or not it reminds them of other things (and whether or not that’s good or bad) etc

    And then of course those things all get boiled down into structure for the reviewer which it really isn’t. That’s actually one of the reasons I dig reviews on this site so much. Yeah structure is mentioned sometimes (and thoughtfully so here at least) but what I really want to know in a review is what kind of journey it takes the reviewer on which happens on the reg down in the toilet

    • Dumpster Lung ᴰᵃᵐᵃᵍᵉ_ᴵⁿᶜ⁸⁹

      What do you mean by structure in your comment? I haven’t seen that complaint before, and I’m curious. What I take structure to mean is not anything I feel takes a ton of skill to discuss, but that might just be me taking it differently than you meant.

      What I’m imagining is the way a song flows, whether it’s a verse-chorus, standard sort of affair, something proggier or more meandering, or maybe even just a linear grindy blast that doesn’t look back for one second.

      I think those kinds of differences would have a pretty big impact on the listener (I know it can for me).

      • The Tetrachord of Archytas

        So you’re kinda in the ball park of why I dislike the structure term for reviews. What you’re referring to is partly structure, and maybe more accurately form when you’re talking about verse chorus stuff etc. As for the more functional things like grinding beats, etc, those are like dynamic things but they fall under the overall structural concept. The issue is that those concepts don’t have intrinsic meaning outside of relevance to the work as a whole, which is harder to discuss and again not super easy to objectively analyze. It teaches bad listening and bad theory. Criticizing song structure teaches non critical thinkers to equate complexity with being superior, which is bull and I think that journalism attitude is partly responsible for why we have so much bad prog (or fake prog/djent) these days.

        But just to clarify, my issue is not in pointing out those things. It’s when reviewers don’t like something or get something, and say things like its poorly structured or written, because I’m not convinced that they’ve actually broken down every little bit enough to whether or not it’s poorly written versus just not liking it.

        • Dumpster Lung ᴰᵃᵐᵃᵍᵉ_ᴵⁿᶜ⁸⁹

          Ah cool, so we were pretty much on the same page. I’d agree with you there. I haven’t noticed a reliance on that, but then again I haven’t paid much attention either. And yeah, complexity does not equal quality. If it did, nobody’d give one fuck about Sabbath and we’d all hail whatever djent-of-the-week was popular at the moment.

          • The Tetrachord of Archytas

            I also don’t think that all djent is fake prog, but i definitely think that it’s weird that people chop up their chug patterns a bit and add midi pads and think they’re suddenly making progressive music

          • Dumpster Lung ᴰᵃᵐᵃᵍᵉ_ᴵⁿᶜ⁸⁹

            Oh yeah, it’s not all bad. Just one of those things that becomes exponentially more irritating the bigger the bandwagon becomes. I guess every sub-genre of metal probably makes someone feel that way, but you don’t seem to get the snobbery of djent and prog with something like say. . .thrash.

  • Guacamole Jim

    Excellent piece – this articulated a frustration I didn’t even know I was feeling. I think “overrated” is a term that can be used, provided there’s a backup argument, and the album in question is popular enough to warrant a significant cultural approval. For example, if I were to say “Radiohead is overrated” it doesn’t mean much, and falls into the exact dismissal your article is trying to denounce. But if I were to say “Radiohead is overrated because they’re heralded as some sort of experimental, boundary-pushing art group but really they’re just a glorified pop band who took some influence from music that experimented way before them and sang whiny lyrics overtop” I think that would be a valid use of the term – I do believe they are considered to be greater than they actually are, and have articulated why.

    PS – Radiohead is actually overrated (see above).

    • Dr. K

      Yeah, I tried to emphasize that I’m not saying the word needs to be entirely stricken from people’s vocabularies (though I wouldn’t mind), but that it generally appears in a context that I find pretty useless and annoying. I will add that I’ve often found the only people who are capable of being more insufferable than hardcore Radiohead fans are people who are very proud of themselves for not liking Radiohead – not saying that’s you, just that it seems to be a very slippery slope for a lot of people I’ve encountered. Personally, I think they’re a more creative than average rock band who have several very good albums and others I don’t like as much.

      • Dumpster Lung ᴰᵃᵐᵃᵍᵉ_ᴵⁿᶜ⁸⁹

        Agree with both of you guys. For the record, I don’t have a super strong opinion about Radiohead one way or the other. They’re fine.

        Man, that actually felt harsher than saying they sucked. It’s almost like that level of indifference that is somehow more insulting. Not intended, but I’m making a mental note for the next time I really wanna come off sounding like a dick, lol.

      • I like your take on Radiohead fans/non-fans. One thing we could all agree upon: these highly polarized fanbases are only found with successful bands.

    • xengineofdeathx

      I feel like Radiohead is a great band, but also very overrated.

  • SupremeKrieg
    • ENDLESS BLACK HAILS OF DARK SATAN KVLTBROTHER

  • Waynecro

    *picks knuckles off the floor to type* NAILS!!!

    Nice writing, Kolkey.

  • Well whether their music is good or not, and I say this as a fan, Nails (or Todd Jones in particular) are absolutely a bunch of self-important knuckle draggers.

  • That said, your favorite albums this year that I don’t like are overrated and you’re a poser with no taste.

  • xengineofdeathx

    I just wanna say I thought that new Khemmis was fucking awesome. As fun and infectious a metal album I’ve heard in a long time. Just for the guitars alone. I wasn’t a fan of the first record though, so this is even more surprising to me..

  • if you say an album is overrated and are wearing a fedora you should get a pass

    • now THAT was a good one

    • Stockhausen

      Now that’s just good sense.

  • I’m thoroughly bushwacked after a long day and have nothing substantial to say other than that this was a massively good read and I shall reread it again when I have my full wits about me.

    Most quotable line: “But maybe when the temptation strikes again to lazily piss in the general direction of the next Greatest Album in Metal…”

  • Taylor

    Slowly scrolling down this article on my phone I thought you were calling joe orange for a moment, only to be pulled back to the sad reality of our actual orange overlord. It was quite the emotional rollercoaster.

    As far as the overuse of ‘overrated’ goes, I’m mixed. While I do prefer a solid and coherent argument for one side or the other, it seems to me that I mostly hear people use ‘overrated’ as a response when others get overly excited about something. Rather than a complete negation of that thing’s merits, it is just another way of people saying ‘calm down about x, geez’

  • I’ve never understood “overrated” as a criticism of a band or album. It’s not Slayer’s fault that lots of people think Reign in Blood is the best thrash album ever, prompting backlash from younger metalheads; they never asked for such a high “rating,” all they did was make an album! It’s the fans’ fault for overrating a thing.

    Back in junior high I was the victim of overrating. I used to jam with these dudes in 7th grade and busted out the “One” solo one time, and they told everyone how awesome I was (it was actually terrible, but good for a 7th grader). Word spread about how good I supposedly was, so when we finally started playing shows years later, it was a big letdown for everyone because I wasn’t as good as the myth of my supposed talent promised I would be, but my “overratedness” wasn’t my fault!

    This is my first post ever. Hi.

    • Óðinn

      I don’t know…your post is overrated. 😉

      Welcome to the Toilet, Brian.

  • TrickleDownOvTacoKvltRiff

    Khemmis would be stellar with different vocals.

  • GoatForest

    Absolutely killer article. It addresses a lot issues I have been having with the scene lately. At some point, we’ve become a subculture of haters who shit on anyone who starts to gain acclaim. I remember how at one point, everyone and his mother was riding Watain’s dick. As soon as they started getting more popular, though, all the trve metalheads suddenly declared them to be overrated.

  • James

    subjectivity and such.

  • Patrick L. Bertlein

    Your article is overrated.

    Any one sentence comment is going to be limited. Listening to Khemmis now, for maybe the third time ever, and it’s not bad at all. Not amazing, but not bad. Solitude Aeternus did this way better, and I think most can agree with that.

    All overreated means is the amount of publicity a band gets does not equal how good they are. It is also a comparison to other similar bands, who get less attention. Nails isn’t bad, but as someone who grew up listening to Today is the Day and Brutal Truth, meh, and most powerviolence fans would agree that a band such as Iron Lung deserve way more recognition.

    I also do not think most will pay attention to an article within a comment. Shit, most will not read whole articles on a website like this, and I write for a site so I know the feeling. You make a good point, I just don’t think it is a realistic one, and some bands absolutely deserve to be called what they are. LIke Mgla.