Our Rating System

Here at Black Wind, we strive for as much critical review as possible. Many sites feature reviews written by avid fans, and don’t get us wrong: we’re fans too. However, we realize that anyone can write a glowing opinion of an album. Our goal is this: if you’ve read a positive review on our site, we hope we’ve really convinced you that the album deserves it. Likewise, while we may perceive some albums as being weaker or less entertaining, we aim to impress upon you why this is so.

Also understand that, since we are an independent site, we review because we enjoy writing reviews and reading others’ reviews. Therefore, reviews that are not new releases may often be quite positive. This is because we want to reach back and call to mind a favorite, rather than spending our time on an album that we don’t enjoy.

Please note that our ratings are a guideline, and subject to a reviewer’s personal opinion.  We recommend the music that we review based on comparison with other artists, and gauge the strength of our recommendation upon our personal enjoyment of an album. The views expressed by one writer do not necessarily express the beliefs of the Black Wind community as a whole. We attempt to rate conservatively, since many sites will hand out perfect or near-perfect scores on a regular basis. Our goal is to let you know what is truly exceptional.

We have adapted a 5 point rating system (with increments in quarter points) for our use. Here’s a rough guideline of how to interpret them, at a glance:

  • 5 – We can’t think of anything to criticize. A brilliant example of the genre, and certain to be topping “Best Of” lists.
  • 4.5 – Incredible, and likely a personal favorite. A joy to listen to, and one you would recommend without hesitation to others.
  • 4 – Excellent, among the better releases of the year. Definitely has lots of replay value, and some quality that makes it outstanding.
  • 3.5 – Enjoyable. A quality listen, despite a couple of flaws here and there. One to return to, if maybe in smaller doses or not as often as some.
  • 3 – Decent. It’s an OK album, but nowhere near the pinnacle. For enthusiasts only, not recommended for those getting into the genre.
  • 2.5 – Mediocre. It has its moments and its drawbacks, which make it either unremarkable or not wholly listenable.
  • 2 – Not good, something bothers you enough about this album that you wouldn’t really recommend it. One that gathers dust on the shelves.
  • 1.5 – Poor, with few redeeming features. Perhaps one element of it is mentionable, but it doesn’t compensate for the rest of it.
  • 1 – Bad, but still with some musical merit. However, you wouldn’t recommend this to anyone. Even diehards may skip this release.
  • 0.5 – Awful, not worth your time listening to it. Possibly kept for comedic value only, or as an example of how not to make this music.
  • 0 – One of the worst albums you have ever heard. Avoid at all costs, especially those who may have liked the band beforehand.

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