“ Encyclopadia Metallum is a heavy metal archive. „
Encyclopaedia Metallum: This IS the ultimate metal encyclopaedia on the internet. It encompasses information of so many bands; most well-known and some very old bands where finding information elsewhere on the internet proves to be tricky.
Back in 2002, two Canadians from Montreal, going by their nicknames of Morrigan and Hellblazer, they had a vision of a website that catered the needs of people who wanted to find out more about metal; there was a sorry lack of metal information on bands on the internet then and I can say for sure, they have succeeded.
The type of information that is available on the website depends entirely on the popularity of the band or knowledge of the band itself that is available on the internet. Slayer would have much more extensive information on their page, than a much less well-known band like Sabbat, for example. The type of information includes genre of metal the band is in, the status of the band, their origins, date they formed, former past members then a list of their discography below, with reviews supplied behind the links. Metal Archives is the same as Wikipedia in this respect, where any users can edit the information on the website. Only the addition of new bands are approved by the two owners.
Metal Archives are very well known in running a tight ship on their website, they have a zero-tolerance policy on their website on bands that aren't metal, by their standards. This means NO Nu-metal bands on their site! Bands that do not contain the traditional sound of metal does not get accepted onto this website; bands who are more overwhemlingly a non-metal genre than metal genre do not get accepted onto the site either. So this means a band that is by the new definition of being more 'core' than metal overall wouldn't get accepted on the site. But if metalcore bands prove that they are heavily influenced by melodic death metal; they get accepted. I find the owners' methods a bit of hit and miss sometimes as many users on the website just do not agree with their decisions! However, the owners judge their level of 'metal-ness' based on their previous releases, and if a band suddenly release a metal album, they are unblocked and accepted onto the site, showing that the owners are completely open-minded at times.
The genre link provided is actually very useful in your search in finding new bands of a similar calibre. They have provided a database where you can search for all bands of a particular genre. Unfortunately there is just too many bands in each genre for it to be fruitful. There is also links provided in which you can look at bands by country, first letter of the band's name and recent reviews released onto the site, meaning if you claim you can't find any new bands on this site, you're just looking in the wrong place!
I would like to say that Metal-Archives is a reliable website but it has to be compared to Wikipedia, which isn't held completely reliable due to anyone editing the user-page and it is not constantly monitored. Luckily, there's constant torrent of users who browse the updated pages and can confirm the edited information. There is a very strong community spirit on the site, they are all very keen to keep the website up-to-date with accurate information.
When you click on a certain band to look at a specific album; it displays the name, the year the album was released and the average % of reviews supplied by users. This is one of the downfalls on the website, there is no scale of % for reviews on the site; some people like to go overboard and award 100% for certain albums; creating a distorted image of the band itself. Some even award 0%, which is frankly ridiculous as there should be a mandatory of 5% just for writing their names on the CD, as they do in exams! But in general, people do understand the effect of this and keep a reasonable scale overall. What I normally do is if there's more than 5 reviews claiming 90% +, then perhaps I'd trust the 100% review, but if its a lone 100% and there's no other reviews matching it in value, I tend to discount the review. Having said this; reviews have to go through an application process where they are read and accepted onto the site. This means the reviews has to pass a certain quality of reviewing, and this has created a fantastic quality reviews on the website! They have begun to cut down on track-by-track reviews as they rather members review what it sounds like, rather than saying what good/bads things there is in each song.
One of the best things about this website is the seriously strong community in their forums; it isn't the usual banter talk, it is full of solid and useful information if you want to further your knowledge on more bands but just don't know where to start on the database of the website. I have found so many bands due to their helpful members who are all-worldly in their knowledge of bands. However, this means there are some people who adopt a method of 'elistism' where they tend to look down on members who listen to certain bands. Can't win them all! Also, the forum is a very good place if you want to keep up-to-date with new material of bands.
The reason for their success is the lack of advertising on their website; which means the two owners are ploughing their hard-earned cash into this site. But this means there is another downfall to this site; as they strive to get the cheapest servers as possible, they do frequently have their servers crashed, information being lost in data migration or even been hacked several times! (..I have been following the site for a long time!). Never fear though, they do get donations from members on the site, as I said a strong metal community who wants to give money back in appreciation. The website might be a bit old-fashioned but I wouldn't change it because it is pretty damn functional for what it does and it doesn't exactly hurt my eyes! There is a nifty search function through their database; it does it well. But my only gripe is that you have to spell the band correctly or it just won't show up on the list displayed! If you type in a common word, or a suffix, a massive list will pop up. The search engine needs to be modified sometime in the future but for now, it is manageable.
In all, a fantastic website that I browse constantly to keep up-to-date with new albums/works, a strong community and to top it off, a -constantly updated and added to- metal encyclopaedia that I would be totally stuck without. Wikipedia is not even a match for this site.
The Encyclopaedia Metallum, or Metal Archives, as it is more popularly referred to, was started in 2002 by two Canadians. It is, in essence, a database of Metal band information dependent on user contribution, not too dissimilar from the concept behind Wikipedia.
TYPE OF INFORMATION
The amount of information available for each band entry depends on how much has been entered by the users. Common information includes biography, country and city of origin, last known record label, year the band was formed, discography including cover art, track list, lyrics and liner notes. Information can be submitted by anyone who registers at Metal-Archives.com, which is free. Some types of information, but not all, must be approved by an admin before it appears in the database. Editing is open, so if a band is submitted by one user, another user can write a biography, for instance.
DISCOGRAPHY AND REVIEWS
As mentioned, there is scope for inclusion of extensive discographies featuring album artwork, track lists and liner notes. Users can also contribute reviews. This is, in theory a good thing. But there is a fault with the system. CDs can be graded on a percentage scale, from 0% to 100%. The average grade for each album is displayed on the main band page. This sounds like a great plan in theory. The problem is, since anyone is allowed to contribute reviews, there is no consistency in terms of how people grade albums, and there are a fair bit of overly dramatic reviewers that like to exaggerate and give grades like 0 or 100 for albums that are really not that bad or good. Of course, freedom of speech is a good thing, but the showing of average grades for CD reviews on the main band page is often not as reliable a guide to what the best albums are as one might believe upon the first glance.
RESTRICTION OF BANDS THAT ARE ALLOWED
The Metal-Archives founders are running a very strict policy. Nu Metal bands are not allowed at all, which is something I'm personally fine with, because in most cases Nu Metal bands are far removed from what is traditionally called Metal, and one can often see a clear divide between a Nu Metal fan and a fan of traditional Metal. However, the strict policy does restrict the availability of information. It feels to me, that some bands have enough real Metal in their sound that they should be allowed inclusion. For instance Tool and Rammstein, although they by no means are pure traditional Metal bands, they do feature massive influences from traditional Metal. More irritating, though, I find it that while White Zombie is featured, Rob Zombie, which is the solo project of the main man from White Zombie, is not. Hence, you have to develop a sort of sensibility, that at Metal-Archives you will only find information about very traditional sounding Metal, but anything that stretches the genre too far, you might have to refer to Wikipedia for.
RELIABILITY OF INFORMATION
As with any user-contribution based web site, you always feel a need to question the information on offer. Since anyone is allowed to submit and edit band information, there is the potential of incorrect information making it on to the web site. However, some pieces of information need admin approval before appearing on the web site. No band is approved for submission without sufficient proof provided that it is a genuine band that plays genuine Metal. My experience with Metal Archives is that the information I find tends to be reliable. Any invalid information that finds its way on there, is usually removed very fast by the administrators. I've largely had the same experience as with Wikipedia.
PROS AND CONS
The Metal Archives is the biggest database of metal band information available, and it is constantly evolving and being updated! On the downside, the strict inclusion policy limits which bands you can find information about. Also, the layout of the web site feels a bit dated. Yet, it is surprisingly functional, and there are several search parameters that can be put to use when searching for bands. There are no ads, and the web site is ran completely independently. A solid Metal information source made by true Metal fans for true Metal fans.
Metal Archives is an online database containing every metal band and release ever... well, nearly anyway. Whilst the site lists thousands of bands that play black metal, death metal, thrash metal, doom metal, heavy metal, progressive metal, folk metal, gothic metal, and power metal as well as grindcore, hardcore, crust-punk, drone and sludge, there is no nu-metal to be found here. That means no Limp Bizkit, no System of a Down, no Korn, no Disturbed and no Linkin Park.
Clearly the site administators are not nu-metal fans, and this suits me perfectly, as I consider the vast majority of nu-metal to be cringeworthy, creatively vacuous tripe. It seems like a rather elitist stance all the same though, and furthermore a number of bands that are not nu-metal but were lumped with the movement at the time are also blocked, including the excellent progressive metal band Tool, which is rather unfair.
Otherwise however Metal Archives is a vast and exhaustive resource of all that is metal, listing bands' full discographies from their first demo onwards along with tracklistings and artwork, as well as comprehensive lists of past and present band members. Every project that each individual has been involved in is also given, so if you want to find out what else your favourite guitarist or vocalist has been involved in you can. The site is user-maintained, so anyone can submit a new band or add details about an existing one, Wikipedia-style. Album reviews can be uploaded too, and these tend to be both knowlegable and reliable, and there are also related links to fansites, myspace pages, guitar tab pages, record label sites and the like, as well as an extensive forum section.
Ths site layout is basic and functional but still looks good, and its very fast. Its all very professionally ran, and is constantly being updated with countless new additions. Its a great place to discover new bands, either just through idle browsing or via the new reviews section. You can also search for bands by country and/or genre, which is great should you suddenly find yourself hungry for French black metal or Finnish doom. While the film industry has IMDB.com, the metal industry has metal archives.