A Little Backstory
When I first started doing what I do here at Head-Banger Reviews, I never once thought that it would become what it has turned into after what is currently eight years of exploration, life-changing discoveries, and soul-touching friendships.
For virtually the entire time since the very beginning, every single aspect of Head-Banger Reviews has been done by one person: me, Kris. This all started out as a vessel for me to simply discover new music which, at the time, consisted of hard rock and the very fringes of what metal had to offer. From Disturbed to Metallica to, at the time, Five Finger Death Punch, my tastes were limited, to say the least. But, relatively quickly, after starting down the path of Head-Banger Reviews, my eyes were quickly opened to what was possible and it was before I knew that I found myself immersed in names new and old from Inter Arma, Cannibal Corpse, Cattle Decapitation, Feared, and Amon Amarth lighting my way forth as I dove into the underground bit by bit. Now, I find myself wondrous lost in what I consider to be one of the most diverse genres in the entire world as you can effortlessly find wildly different sounds at the simply click of a button, and it’s years later that I still become excited to sit down and hear what all there is to be had out there with everything from psychedelic rock to deathgrind to ambient all on the table for being reviewed.
Considering Review Requests and How I Go About Them
Since the beginning, requests have been an integral part of “how” and “what” I review with “when” changing as time goes on.
During the first five-ish years of doing these reviews, I was still young (I started all of this when I was 17) and lived with my mother, working at a local restaurant down the street from where I lived. Then, I had far more time on my hands between working hours that weren’t hateful whatsoever and taking care of my grandmother before she passed. It was during that time that I could effortlessly do one review a day with them releasing the minute I was finished typing. It was my nightly ritual, performing it after I got home from work to wind down or how I closed out a day of relaxation.
Since then, however, things have drastically changed. I moved over two hours away from my hometown to live with my girlfriend, and still do very happily, but with that came, of course, a change in job. Currently, I do not nearly have the time to do nightly reviews since I’ve been working twelve hours a day at least three to four days a week since moving almost three years ago now with random overtime depending on the occasion. Because of that, I’ve had to change how I do reviews. At this moment, I do multiple reviews a day and schedule them to come out one day at a time as far ahead as three weeks, sometimes. This is not preferred to me since it can seem as though I’ve ignored requests as well as ignored messages sent to me. This leaves an awful taste in my mouth, but it’s the most efficient way for me to accomplish the same trend of releasing reviews while not greatly impacting my sanity, sleep schedule, and time.
Currently, I keep every request that I get that is of interest to me in a Google Doc that I will place here for anyone to see should you be curious as to what I have coming next to investigate. Since this website has been a vessel for me to hear and talk about material that I enjoy, I still work by the stipulation that I only review what I enjoy. So, sadly, I could have ten requests at a given time but only find enough enjoyment out of maybe half. That doesn’t mean I find the material in question bad or not worth my time, I simply do not want a one, single non-enthusiastic opinion to turn someone away from an album that they may have enjoyed should they have not been influenced by the thoughts of just one person. There is too much material out there for us to focus on the negative, so I, instead, seek to devote my time to talk about what I enjoy. Music is an escape, and bringing negativity into it corrodes the paradise almost immediately. I greatly apologize to any band that I don’t review because of this, but I urge you to simply keep doing what you do if it’s what you enjoy. Just because I don’t like it does not mean that it needs to stop.
As for albums that I do decide to review, they get reviewed, as you might imagine. I try my best to review requests as they come in chronologically so that one band isn’t waiting months at a time for a potential review, but I am but one person, sadly, so I’m not perfect. That’s not to use that as an excuse for me to get away with it, but that’s the simple reality of it. If you ever have any questions about the status of your request, I simply ask you send a short message to me about it whether it’s on Facebook or through my email, it all works for me, I just ask you to be respectful. I’ve been fortunate in eight years to have minimal bad experiences with people, and I would like to try and keep it that way. Anyone is more than welcome to contact me on my Facebook page here or via my email at headbanger_reviews[at]yahoo[dot]com. If there are ever any questions, I’m always more than happy to answer.
Labels, Friends, PRs, and More
Hands down, the people have really helped make this journey the absolute joy that it has become.
Over the years, it has been an absolute pleasure of mine to come into contact with people who have helped make venturing through the different corridors of the underground such a treat. I will leave mentions to some of them down below since they can describe their work far better than I ever could. From websites that cover news, reviews, and interviews more than I have the time for from Metal Addicts to The Metal Wanderlust, these people keep the scene moving forward and make sure that the spotlight isn’t only left on the largest of names. From the PRs that make sure even the smallest bands have a chance at exposure, Secret Service PR, Dewar PR, All Noir, Perfect World PR, Viral Propaganda PR, and so much more, I’ve discovered far more than I ever would aimlessly wandering the expanses of Bandcamp. But, it’s a small list of labels that have helped me along my journey more than most. I simply must name each of them individually, for I believe in each and every one of them with my entire soul, and I wouldn’t change my interactions with them for anything. Big, small, and up-and-coming, it’s these fine people that have guided me to glorious heights and beyond:
So long as I have anything to say about it, I’m not stopping any time soon.
From day one, Head-Banger Reviews has been a joy to do and it has become an absolutely integral part of my life at this point as well as a massive chunk of who I am. The access that I have to hear albums early is still absolutely humbling, the people I’ve met are some of the best I’ve ever come across, and the fun I’ve had while doing this is something that I wouldn’t trade. But, that doesn’t mean things can’t change or be improved upon.
Should you have any feedback of any sort that you wish to give, I implore you to come and leave a comment on my Facebook page. I’m always open to new ideas and meeting new like-minded people! I can only hope to be able to get back to you in a timely manner.
There’s not much more I can say other than thank you so much should you have read everything above. The name of Head-Banger Reviews is a far cry from the biggest name in the online community with my presence being minimal almost on purpose, but I really do like my current position in both the community and the publicity I get. More people is always awesome so that the bands I cover can get even more exposure, but at some point, I will get overwhelmed so I’m quite happy with merely 2,000-ish likes and followers on Facebook for what little self-promotion I’ve done over eight years. There are only so many hours in the day and I am but one person so I cannot, unfortunately, hear everything, but I consider myself very lucky for what excellence I am able to hear and all that I have and will come across. I don’t seek to become as ubiquitous as some like JJ with The Obelisk or as widespread as Metal Hammer, but what little I’m able to accomplish I’m very proud of.
I can only hope that you can find music that you can lose yourself in with my simple reviews, and I can only ask that you support the bands where possible. The underground is a gift that will likely never cease to give, and so long as I can I will do my best to keep on excavating.
But, until I can type no more, thank you again for visiting and reading all that jargon I have to spout. Until next time, have a nice day!
– Kris, The Only One Here