The price of convenience – is it always worth it?

music, random, rantings
I was thinking it’d be nice to have all my music, podcasts and some videos in one place. I have been pondering that for a while. 
I have a 4GB Creative Zen and that is great – especially as it has an SD slot for extra storage. It plays videos, stores photos and even syncronises contacts and your calendar. The caveat though is that extra music storage won’t carry on playing on an SD card, unlike when it is stored on the player.
When I think of it, most of the time I will listen to music on either my computer or Spotify. I’m not one of these people who ALWAYS has to be playing music while out in public, unaware of my surrounds. Just sometimes it is nice to have everything at the touch of a button.
I have often wondered whether the price of convenience is worth it. I remember when growing up, you had to decide on a select number of cassette tapes – typically 30 or 45 minutes each side, and then you couldn’t skip ahead to the next track without winding forward randomly. Then we had to choose among our CD collections – a great capacity album, yet still could be a bulk to carry.
Now we have MP3 players which are so small one could easily swallow one e.g. the iPod nanos. 4GB just doesn’t seem enough now, but yet I wonder is it really a trouble to delete and transfer files between my computer and MP3 player? When I think of what we had to do just 15 years or so ago, it is far more convenient – yet is £112+ worth it?
As a friend said to me from her experience, iPods really are awesome – although I have managed without one for the last 11 years. I am an avid music fan although I do manage well with Spotify,, occasionally Grooveshark – but mainly my own iTunes on my computer. I don’t wish to become a total social recluse in public. Where I do enjoy listening to music outdoors occasionally, there is nothing better than taking in the sounds of nature and atmosphere of a place – whether it be town, city or village.
Really, what is the price of this convenience? £112 might be a fair price for a second-hand 120GB iPod (as seen in the retail shop, CEX), but perhaps one loses the value of much, much more…?
Rant over.

A great year for symphonic metal


I’m not good with music trivia and I’m not claiming great in-depth knowledge of the bands I will mention in this post. I am a music lover, but I’m not generally so interested in the ins-and-outs of the particulars of the bands. I consider myself fairly open-minded with music. I’ll listen to almost anything from classical music, to 80s pop, alternative, indie, classic rock and metal, but I do tend to dislike a lot of modern r’n’b, hip-hop and d’n’b (that of which I have listened to).

One of my favourite genres at the moment has to be symphonic metal; usually female-fronted symphonic metal. I have enjoyed Nightwish for many years now, but thanks to Lastfm and Spotify I have discovered in recent years some truly fantastic bands – sounds I could (forgive me) fall in love with. They meet my love of rock and metal with classical sounds and some amazing vocals. I’d call it a mish-mash of many forms of music I like – but it works.

As I said, I have long loved Nightwish – from their first album “Angels Fall First” all the way through to “Dark Passion Play“. One of my recent favourites has to be “Amaranth” from “Dark Passion Play”. I eagerly awaited their new album “Imaginaerum” in December and it really didn’t disappoint. Their single “Storytime” was a great teaser to the album and much-anticipated film of the same name in which the album will be played.

What can I say about “Imaginaerum” but WOW! One could have forgiven Nightwish to play it safe following the great success of “Dark Passion Play“, but no, the band have taken a great chance in many numbers but it really doesn’t disappoint. You hear the band experimenting with jazz numbers, power metal, choir, orchestra, as well as Celtic ballad styles.

My favourite song  -a very tough one as they all have different styles of music, most of which I like (above). But, “Last Ride of the Day” – wow! I’d probably say this is my favourite. Huge choirs, orchestra, heavy guitars and an amazing and uplifting chorus. It has it all. But more is to come…with a their second single with a new track (read below) and then the film at some point this year(!).

Last year also saw some great new albums such as:

Imperia – “Secret Passion

Nemesea – “The Quiet Resistance

I hadn’t heard of Imperia until a few months or so ago. The band are less well-known – a symphonic gothic metal band with opera influences from the Netherlands. This is an amazing song, “Braveheart” from their last album “Queen of Light“.



From their new album, “Secret Passion“, I really like the “Touch of Your Hand“. I still need to listen all the way through their new album, but from what I hear of it it sounds like a great band – a shame they aren’t as popular as some of these others.I love Nemesea’s track “Caught in the Middle” from their new album, “The Quiet Resistance“. Again, I need to listen to the album all the way through, properly.

At the moment I eagerly await:

Epica– “Requiem for the Indifferent”, set to be released on March 9, 2012, in Europe.

Epica I have enjoyed for some time. I loved the band “After Forever” whose guitarist and vocalist Mark Jansen founded Epica subsequent to his departure. I could fall in love with their lead vocalist, Simone Simons who is absolutely stunning. Her voice in “Chasing the Dragon” from “The Divine Conspiracy” is truly fantastic.

but… only 8 more days until:

Lacuna Coil– “Dark Adrenaline”, set to be released on January 23rd.At the moment, I am hooked on their World Premiere music video of “Trip the Darkness” from this upcoming album:

They have also released a great new track “Kill the Light” on YouTube here:

Soon, we also have:
Nightwish – “The Crow, the Owl and the Dove”, the second single the band’s seventh studio album Imaginaerum. It is set to be released on March 2, 2012. It includes the unreleased song “The Heart Asks Pleasure First”, music from the film The Piano whom Nightwish is processed and added vocals to.I have my eyes on Ruisrock held annually on the island of Ruissalo in Turku, Finland.  It is the second oldest rock festival in Europe and the oldest in Finland. Nightwish (Finnish) has been confirmed, along with the 90s band The Cardigans (Swedish). Looking at some tour dates for these bands, there may well be a gap for some to perform at Ruisrock. Who knows? It sure would be amazing to go there, even if it is just to see Nightwish. I await news of more bands attending the festival.I’d say this past year has been truly fantastic for symphonic metal and more is yet to come. I just can’t wait for what is in store given all the teasers I keep seeing, and what I have heard.