.Editorial - Home made best of - Legendary Warriors of Metal vol. I
27 songs (144'37)
Release year: 0
Reviewed by Chris

I don't know for you guys, but one of my favorite activities when I was younger was creating best of my favorite metal songs, usually themed (Hard-Rock, AOR, Speed Metal, ... etc). When I was in Engineer School I would make one of these best offs at least every month, on my favorite media of the time : The Mini Disc. Boy was this little slab of plastic a revolution compared to the tape ! I must have bought at least 5 different drives, some readers (walkmans) and some writers (I had the very first clunky, brick shaped MZ-RH1 that can be seen in the movie Last Action Hero. Of course back then mini discs contained either 60 or 74 min. max of music, so it was just a matter of finding 11 to 13 tracks to put on and voila, a best off to enjoy in the bus, car or just taking a walk (another activity that went down the drain all these years :) ).

The minidisc best of wasn't so simple to do cause you needed to do the play-record thing, and wait next to the recorder so you could stop when needed. Of course the recorder had some rudimentary edit capabilities to cut some tracks in case you wanted to get rid of an intro or if you weren't fast enough pushing stop button. What I really loved though compared to tape, beside the obvious much better digital sound, was the editing of the track names. That was simply awesome ! I will admit it did take a little while for me to get used with minidisc sound, the compression algorithm ATRAC was something else, somehow the precursor of mp3 music when I think about it. At first I thought the sound sounded too metallic somehow, but I had the same complaint the first time I listened to a Bon Jovi CD of which I owned the LP as well, I don't remember for sure if it was New Jersey or Slippery When Wet, but at first listen I was thrown off by the CD sound, and same for the minidisc. But that didn't last, the advantage of having so much music in so little space was just an acceptable trade off for that sound concern which disappeared quickly. I loved being able to take 3-4 different discs with me so I could change the music whenever I wanted. I do think the ATRAC must have evolved over the years cause my latest walkmans kept being better and better sound wise. But back on the subject at hand. Best of ! It of course started much earlier, in my young teen years, with tape, then minidisc for many many years, and eventually CD-R came out and I will always remember the thrill of burning my first CDs. Let me tell you one thing, my wallet remembers alright :) ! First the burner, I bought one of the first market available burner, it was a 1X, SCSI burner, the damn thing cost me more than a grand ! Unfortunately I've always been an enthusiast about technology, and working my first job at a computer store, I bought one of the first CD writers ever. But the money spending didn't end there ! The empty discs at the time were 20$, you read right, 20$ (well by today's dollar value that is, basically they were 20 swiss francs). First 3 discs I tried were coasters, so basically my first ever best of cost me 80$ :). Fortunately in the next couple of years the price of empty media dropped all the way down to 2-3 francs, making CD burning much more affordable, not to mention the burners going under 100$ also within 2-3 years of the launch of that technology. Now for 15$ you get 50 of the suckers, maybe even 100 sometimes. But the irony is that most people, myself included, couldn't get a rat's ass about CDR anymore. Unless you still have a CD only auto radio, bets are you are using your ipod or iphone to listen to your music now ! Therefor there is no need to burn CDs anymore, and of course even less incentive to do minidiscs compilations. I will admit that, most likely for nostalgia' sake, still listen to a minidisc made compilation here and there, whenever I stumble upon my minidisc walkman that is. I still have about 60 minidiscs, and some of the songs in there I have nowhere else, some Greek pop songs, some Asian pop/rock songs too, I got a period when I liked that stuff very much, usually some songs that at least had some electric guitar, but still, it's not something I really feel the need to listen to today anymore.

So my main problem now about making best offs or compilation of songs is pretty simple : time ! Or mostly the lack-off that is. The more we grow up, the more we mature, the less time we have isn't it ? I don't really know how and why it happens, I don't know how I manage to put so much stress upon myself that I feel like I'm always looking for catching up with time, and days pass one after the other, and it seems like I never got a minute free for myself. It's madness I tell you :), I wish I knew that when I was younger, I would have spent my time differently. Though when I look into my old piles of drawing I see that at least I was doing something meaningful (at the time) with my time, I was creating, I was drawing, I was trying stuff, my head full of dreams, thinking I might draw a manga that will be the next Dragonball Z ! But I digress. Time seems to be the ONE element I miss lately to make compilations like I used to do in the past. At least monthly I would do one, sometimes I would do 2-3 in a given month. But the reason I wrote this editorial is that I recently managed to make a new best off, must be the first in the last 3 years, if not longer ! And the amount of time it took me to do it is staggering. That's my chaotic view on file organization that didn't help, as well as being a little too much of a perfectionist. Let me explain. First I needed to find the tracks I wanted to use, and the metal genre the best off would be. Well, Power Metal was a safe bet as to what kind of compilation I wanted to make. Then what type would it be ? Do I want something new, something old, classics, or a mix and match ? I decided I needed to make a compilation that mostly contained stuff from the last 5 years, with a few exceptions. It wouldn't be a minidisc, nor a CD, so I didn't really have a track limit, and that didn't help for the time it all took :). So I ended up with 27 tracks, almost 3 hours of music ! It took two evenings to choose the tracks, two evenings ! Then I had to find the right order, and that takes a good couple of hours, maybe even a little more. Then I needed to normalize the tracks, as they are from different artists and different albums I needed to make sure the sound wouldn't go from way to low to I just lost 5% of my earring accuracy in 2 seconds flat. For that I used mp3gain, after losing about another hour trying to find a good program to do that on Mac. Mp3gain has a Mac version but I read too many horror stories of people loosing their mp3s trying to normalize them with it that I didn't want to even try. So in the end, I thought I should stop losing time, run a Windows virtual machine and use mp3gain already :). Then I realize that my track numbers are all screwed up right ? Duh ! I need to edit my mp3 tags and put the right names and track orders, and to do that I go with media rage (excellent Mac program even though the interface isn't very Mac friendly) and I realize I can add artwork and also lyrics ! Boy, it's like a light bulb turned on in my mind that moment, let's hunt for lyrics. That's not very long per say, but still, to find 27 songs lyrics, you need a little bit of time, about 2 hours to properly find them, copy and paste them into my mp3 tags, and cleaning them (as many lyrics website will hide an URL in there).

So easily 12 to 15 hours later, I have a fully working iTunes compilation, that I called Legendary Warriors of Metal vol. I and it's been running in my car trips all week long. Being a perfectionist I still miss an element, artwork ! Being an artist and drawing since my childhood I never made CD's compilation without full CD artwork, and I was crazy this way, cover, cd underlay and cd sticker. In this case I just need artwork itself, and well, being that I'm lazy and already spent so much time until now : I'm just gonna re-use a drawing I already did, I did so many after all, at least they are used for something :).

So I thought, all this work and I'm the only one ripping the benefits. So then it hit me, I could very well give our readers the list of tracks I made, and the artwork, in case you would like to make the same best of, that is if you have most of all of my song selection. Of course our taste might differ, so you can of course adapt it to your taste. Or just comment on it and let me know about the selection of songs. One thing to understand about this particular compilation is that I wanted to mostly use not too old material and if I used older stuff, it would have to be something I didn't use in past CD-R compilations, since I still have those around. Let me know what you think about this compilation and if you'd like to see more from time to time (hopefully I wouldn't wait 5 years to make the next one). I already plan to make a melodeath one next, and then a more classic best off with songs that I have already used on CD-R compilations in the past.

One thing is for sure, it takes a long long time to make a compilation when you try to make it right (and when you don't put yourself boundaries, like track numbers :) ), and time is a currency that gets rarer as years go by. What about you ? Do you do compilations ? same as before ? more ? less ? Use the forums to let us know about your compilation's habits, how you proceed, what do you use, and whatever else you want to share with your fellow metal fan readers, and to let us know if you'd like to see other compilation articles in the future. I will post the artwork and full track list for this best of in the forum.

Killing Songs :
Chris quoted
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