Monday, March 2, 2015

Orion's Reign Profile


       Orion's Reign is one of the bands featured on this March 1st round of Battle of the Bands.  The band is based in Athens,Greece.   Michael, the band's guitarist, graciously consented to answer some questions I provided to him as well as forward some band photos.   The band classifies itself in the genre of symphonic/epic/power heavy metal while much of the thematic content of their lyrics is considered "epic fantasy".   Go to you tube and you'll also see a number of Christmas songs performed in their symphonic heavy metal style.  

       Before you get put off by any of the aforementioned labels, please continue reading the interview below and then listen to some of their music.  You may formulate a whole new concept of what this genre of music entails.  For those in the know, think Trans-Siberian Orchestra.  Listen to one of those Christmas songs and you might be listening to songs of the season all year long!  The "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" video is totally fun in a version unlike you've probably ever heard before.

           And Now I Give You Orion's Reign

Orion's Reign playing their music.  Let's meet the band!

 1.)   What influenced your decision to record "Fur Elise"? 

Most of the members of our band have classical music education and they love composers like Vivaldi, Beethoven, Mozart etc... Classical music is a very unique and intelligent kind of music and also some scientists claim it improves baby's IQ and human's brain! In our music you can find a lot of parts inspired from classical music, not only regarding the melodies but also the way of composing music. Some people say that heavy metal is the classical music of the 21th century and that if Mozart, Beethoven, Bach etc..  would live in our times they would probably play heavy metal ... So here we are haha! I would also like to point out that "for Elise" is not our first try, we have also recorded a metal version of Vivaldi's summer, that you can watch it on youtube! 

Band members on the "Fur Elise" film shoot featuring  Irinä Alexopoulou as Elise and video by Clement Delerot

2.)    Do any band members have classical music training or any other relevant background regarding classical music?  
Yes, as I told you before, most of us have classical education. Our two guitar players and the keyboard player have classical education background (they own some relevant diplomas)

3.)   What musical background, experience, or training do the group members have?
All of the band members began to learn music when they were young kids. Back then they attended some music schools and then, during their university studies, they focused on advanced heavy metal techniques and composition. Their university studies have nothing to do with music, but they probably found free time to practice a lot, to form bands and to experiment !

4.)    What are some of the biggest influences on your band's music?
Every member of the group has his own favorite kind of music, groups and composers. I would say that the biggest influence of our band is the epic music, enhanced with some power metal and folk characteristics. I can name some composers and groups like Hans Zimmer, Bach, Nightwish, Rhapsody of Fire, Savatage, Iron Maiden, Deep Purple, Yngwie Malmsteen and the list goes on for ever... haha!

5.)    Are there any plans to tour North America in the future?
No, there are not any plans for touring North America. We live in Europe (Greece) so it's very difficult for us to afford such an expense.

6.)   Upcoming projects (new albums, etc.)

There are a lot of thoughts, but the free time is really too short. We are currently trying to finish our next official album and in the meantime we record some covers for our youtube channel.

Now to Introduce the Members of Orion's Reign:

Michael: Guitar (main influences: 
Classical, epic, folk music and power metal. Fav bands Iron Maiden, Nightwish, Yngwie Malmsteen, Deep Purple etc..)

Kirk : Keys and orchestra arrangements (main influences: Classical, epic, folk music and power metal. Fav bands  Nightwish, Rhapsody of Fire, Luca Turilli, Soundtracks etc..)

 Noel: Drums (main influences: New metal, power and progressive metal. Fav bands Amaranthe, Bullet for my Valentine, Iron Maiden, Him, Dragonforce, Kamelot, etc...)


George: Guitar and bass guitar ( main influences: Classical and power metal. Fav bands Gamma Ray, Dragonforce, Helloween, Symphony X etc..)

Want more info about Orion's Reign?   Check out these links for starters and get to know these guys a bit better:

       My sincerest thanks to Michael for taking his time to offer this look at Orion's Reign to the readers of Tossing It Out!

       If you have not yet voted on the current Battle of the Bands post please scroll back to my previous post or click here to listen to your options and cast your vote.

        Please return to Tossing It Out on Wednesday March 4th to meet the other Battle of the Bands competitor Sebastian Sidi.

          Are you surprised that this band lists classical music as an influence?  Do you associate heavy metal music with classical music?   Would you like to see Orion's Reign tour North America?


Saturday, February 28, 2015

Für Elise (BOTB)


Battle of the Bands!

         I'm excited about today's post.  After all it's time for the Battle of the Bands, the event where music loving bloggers offer up two different versions of one song and you the readers decide which version you prefer.   The Battle of the Bands blog event was founded by Stephen T McCarthy and Faraway Eyes.   After you vote on your favorite of the two selections I've offered, please visit the participants who are listed at the end of this post to vote on their Battles.

       Today and throughout this coming week I'll be presenting a very different approach to the Battle of the Bands.  I'll explain more at the end of this post so be sure to read all the way to the bottom so you don't miss what's to come.  But first let me introduce today's musical selection and then we'll listen to two interesting and outstanding recordings based on this very famous work of music.

Für Elise

      You're all undoubtedly familiar with the piano work by Ludwig Beethoven known as "Für Elise". You might not recognize this title, but I'm sure when you hear the opening notes you will have that a-ha moment of recognition.  This piece is one of the most famous piano compositions that nearly anyone who has taken piano lessons has played at some time or another.   Beethoven's "Für Elise" is among the most recognizable of all classical works.

       For the reference only, if you wish to hear the traditional classical piano version you can check it out at Fur Elise but PLEASE DON'T VOTE ON THIS VERSION.  Vote between the two artists who are featured in this Battle.  While the featured recordings aren't note by note covers of the Beethoven work, they are artist interpretations in updated styles.   Please give them a listen in order to give each a fair judgement.  I will refrain from commentary on either for reasons to be explained at the end of the post.

       Now enjoy!

Orion's Reign "Für Elise"   (2014)

For the alternate guitar duo metal version by George and Michael from Orion's Reign visit Fur Elise Duet.

Sebastian Sidi "Für Elise" (2008)


An alternate concert version by Sebastian Sidi solo piano with synthesized back-up can be found at Fur Elise Cover.

Time to Vote!

    For this round of voting I'm using a tandem system to help me with voting verification.  Please vote using the poll included below this red message and also leave your vote in the comment section with reason you chose the artist you did.  Use the "Anonymous" option ONLY if you are unable to vote using one of the other "Comment as" options.  If using the "Anonymous" option please include your name (first only is okay) and your city.  

Which artist's version of "Fur Elise" do you like best? free polls

          Which do you prefer?    It's up to you to determine the winner.   Please vote on your favorite by letting us know your choice in the comment section and tell us why you prefer the one you chose.  Then after you've finished here, please visit the other blogs listed below who may or may not be participating this time around.   And if you've put up your own BOTB contest let us know that as well so we can vote on yours.

And don't forget the special news at the bottom of this post!

Here are some other places where you might find BOTB posts:


 StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands



DC Relief Battle of the Bands

Special Coming This Week!     
       You'll want to check back here on Tossing It Out throughout this week. 

       Tomorrow Monday March 2nd  I'll be hosting Michael from Orion's Reign with an exclusive interview and some photos of the band.  You might be surprised by some of his answers to my questions about the band and their music.   

       Then on Wednesday March 4th I'll be assisted by Sebastian Sidi for a special Insecure Writer's Support Group post.
        Finally, the results of my Battle of the Bands post between the versions of "Für Elise" as performed by Orion's Reign and Sebastian Sidi will be announced on this coming Friday March 6th. 

        This should be an interesting week so I hope you stay with me at Tossing It Out!

         Which version of  "Für Elise" was your favorite in this Battle?   What did you like about the version you chose as your favorite?  Did you ever take piano lessons and learn to play this song?

If you have any questions about leaving a comment, please read message at the bottom of this page below the comment box which will appear if you click on "No. of comments" next to the posting time or you can click on main post title then scroll down to bottom of the page.


Friday, February 27, 2015

Do You Enjoy Music?

English: One of the sled dogs listening to mus...
 One of the sled dogs listening to music coming from a gramophone. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

        Another Battle of the Bands is coming up this week-end--on Sunday March 1st to be precise.  A number of my readers regularly participate in this music appreciation event and seem to enjoy it or at least tolerate it.  I'm always pleased when I get enthusiastic comments indicating people have enjoyed the Battle that I've presented.  It's even fine when I'm offered intelligently reasoned comments that tell me what they didn't like about a musical piece.

        Occasionally, someone who stops by will comment that they decline to vote.  I'm glad that they let me know they stopped by, but it also indicates that my Battle posts could have an effect on their future visits to my site when they see a Battle of the Bands post.  If it's only a matter of not liking the genre of music I've used or not liking the song or artist then I feel that those readers will continue to return.  Others just might not like the Battle of the Bands and my continuing to do them could lose them as readers.  I hope that's not the case, but it's a risk I take.

       The biggest item of puzzlement for me though are the occasional comments from people who say they don't listen to music or those few who have said they don't like music.

        Say what?   Are there really people who don't like music?  At all?  Any kind?

         That's the one answer that I really would like to know more about.  Maybe it's the nature of any kind of aural stimulation and the effect that it has on those particular people.  Or something about their upbringing or sociocultural influences.   Perhaps the music hurts their ears or discombobulates their mental faculties in some way.   What exactly could it be?

          Are you one who doesn't like music?  Have you ever known someone who doesn't like music?  Do you know why some people don't like music or never listen to it?  If it's merely a matter of limiting the types of music you listen to, what are the types of music you do listen to?

        Please be sure to join me on Sunday March 1st for my next Battle of the Bands.  I'll be featuring two versions of a very classic piece of music by one of the greatest of all composers.  Then on Monday the 2nd I'll feature an interview with a member of one of the bands with some special photos.  On Wednesday March 4th I'll be joined by the other competing BOTB artist for a very special Insecure Writer's Support Group post.   This should be an interesting week so please show your support for BOTB and the featured artists by voting for your favorite version of a piece of music that you undoubtedly know.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Ask Arlee: Quality Content VS. Frequent Posting?

And now another episode of Ask Arlee...

M. J. Joachim asks...
Quality content vs. frequent posting? Obviously, it takes way too much time to do both!

       Does it?  Can we post with frequency and still have quality posts?   I see many blogs that I would judge to be accomplishing this, but the answer to this question might be a matter of opinion.  Let's try to define what each of these aspects of blogging actually means.

Quality Content

        "Content is king" is the well-known adage attributed to Bill Gates back in 1996.  However, does this really apply that much to all of us as bloggers?  For the most part the saying is more applicable to search engine accessibility based on originality of content.  Our content should be original and it should have good quality.  But "quality" can be a variable and rather selective term.

         We need to determine the purpose behind our blogging.  If we are striving to be pro bloggers with blogs that readers regularly follow or search engine researchers arrive at for specific information, the blog posts need to be of a unique informational content that is professional and authoritative.  This is the type of blog with quality content that is backed by good research and experience in a field and is suitable for quoting from or citing elsewhere as coming from a reliable source.

         If you are not a pro blogger who fits the above description then I think you can still maintain quality content but that quality would be of a different nature.  There is that level of quality that we would expect from any published work--proper grammar, correct spelling, engaging presentation, and so on.  If you are blogging to establish platform then your blog should be exemplary of what you are delivering or plan to deliver to your audience in your published work.

          Comments can tell us a lot.  If a blogger is doing all the right social networking and receives few comments or the very shallow "nice post" comments I think there is something wrong with the content.   I'd rather have four high caliber comments that tell me that the readers actually had read and responded in a meaningful way than 40 drive by comments.   If you see by your stats that your post got a lot of visits but few decent comments if any, then maybe you had bad content and visitors had no idea how to respond.

          Blogging is often an experimental endeavor.   If something does not seem to be working for you then maybe you need to try something else.   The assessment of the quality of a blog's content is ultimately up to what readers are looking for.   If you can't seem to hold onto readers who visit then they must not feel that your content delivers anything that they think they want.  

          If you are pleased with your posts and the traffic your blog gets then maybe you're doing all you need to do.  However if you don't like your traffic, your blog's ability to retain readers, and the lack of interaction from visitors then maybe you need to think a bit more about the content you are delivering.

Frequent Posting

        "Better to have too much than not enough."  That's a philosophy my mother used to have when it came to dinner gatherings and other social events.  This might not be the best idea for blogging though.  Unless you're operating a news blog or a site that requires frequent updates, more than one post per day is probably overkill--you're likely going to wear out your readers and drive them away.

          However it's important to have regular activity on your blog.  Once a month might be okay if you maintain a regular schedule.  Consistency is the most vital aspect to instilling audiences with a sense of expectancy.    If they know when you post then it's easier to turn your blog into a habit.  Random posting might work for some bloggers, but I would recommend a predictable schedule.  If you become accustomed to meeting deadlines then you are more likely to have a readership who knows when to look for your new posts.  When you go out of sight then it's possible that you'll go out of mind and have to make a greater effort to retrieve your lost readers.

         In my opinion, two or three days per week is best for most blogs.  Three of my blogs are only posted once a week and that works well since those are very limited niche blogs.   The key is to pick a regular posting day and time, then plan your posts to go up according to that schedule.  It's easier on your readers and in the long run I think it's much easier on you the blogger.

Should Your Blog Ever Post Daily?

         Yes, during April you should sign up for the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge.   There are some very good reasons for doing so as I outline in the following list:

  • The A to Z Challenge is a blogging event in which many other bloggers will participate.  You can gain greater visibility in participating with others.
  • You can hone your blogging skills in content creation, experimenting with new approaches to blogging, and testing your blog to see what works best for you.
  • There is an increased opportunity to get more feedback on your blog posts.
  • Blogging daily for a month can develop a habit of creating content and functional social networking.
  • The output resulting from participation will provide a good backlog of content for your blog.
  • Participating bloggers can develop strong bonds with others with common interests.  This in turn can be used to mutual future advantage for friendly support as well as business networking.
  • Daily blogging means more writing and more writing is practice that can help make you a better writer.
  • You might even end up with material for a book based on your A to Z content!
       There are many more reasons that you as a blogger should participate in the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge.   If you have never explored the A to Z Blog be sure to visit and read the helpful posts that appear on that site.   If you are having concerns about not having the time, the energy, or the ideas to join us in April I hope you will reconsider.  For every reason not to do the Challenge in April, the A to Z Team members and many other A to Z participants can probably counter with several reasons why you should join us in April.

         Once you've done a Challenge it's easy to get hooked.  It's really the best blogging event of the year!

         What other reasons can you think of to encourage others to participate in the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge?    What are the main benefits you've gotten from A to Z?     What do you think is more important in blogging--quality or frequency?