99% of metal reviews can use this template:
Recombination of past methods, without knowledge of the reasons why. Quirky as a result, unique collage of instruments/techniques. Yet without direction because it imitates from outside-in, bottom-up. Therefore, not bad, but not great, and on the bad side of good because time is valuable.
People who are incorrect — usually a combination of confusion, inexperience, drug-addled minds and in some cases congenital stupidity — come to us with their latest bands and tell us something “hypothetical,” as Kant would say, or avoiding the real question, which is — is it good? “Dude, you’ve got to check out Colonic Bloviator. They’ve got a million riffs a song!” Notice he says nothing about it being good.
Or check out this ancient hipster con: “Dude, you’ve got to check out Hobbiton Dowel 66.59E1, they’re not like all those single-genre bands, they combine bluegrass, metal and television jingles!” Again, we talk about the external traits, not whether they add up to a hill of beans.
People your whole life are gonna come up to you and tell you to pay attention to how something appears, and not how it functions in the context of life itself. Ask yourself: do I really care about having some band that mixes genres? Answer: only if it does so well — and by the nature of combining dissimilar things, it brings itself closer to the norm than farther away from it because greater variance requires greater compromise. Ask yourself: do I really care how many riffs they use? If they have a female vocalist, or a kazoo, or assemble their guitar solos entirely from digestion noises? No — I do not.
This is why most metal reviews can be written this way. The bands aren’t looking at reality; they’re asking the hypothetical question “How do we draw attention to ourselves?” Answer: consume blood and feces at concerts while playing boring music. Or trick out your boring music turntables, a flute, maybe some circus elephants. Then when they record, the PR flaks and hipsters are gonna tell you how unique the record is. “Does it good?” gets blank looks.
The goal of a reviewer is to bring us back to reality: is this record art, meaning aesthetics organized in a way that communicates meaning and brings beauty to life, even if beauty in darkness? If it’s not, the thought comes to mind that since our lives are limited, and we are what we consume, there’s no point wasting time on the boring when there’s beautiful silence or many good things to listen to. So you get the distillation of the review template above: “Not bad, not good enough.”