I don't know, I rather prefer having a larger number of shorter songs. Easier to listen to. Systematic Chaos wasn't too bad. Although I always just skipped to the next song on Repentance once it got to the part with the voices talking. And exceedingly long solos make you forget you're listening to the song until you suddenly go back to main refrain. I don't mind songs with different parts or sections, like A Change of Seasons or Octavarium. Then it just progresses naturally from one theme to another.
Also, Blind Guardian is planning to start recording their new album later this year.
Also, Epica is releasing a live album in May, featuring a live orchestra and choir and metal renditions of classical songs, which sounds quite awesome. I can never find Epica albums anywhere though, even online... May have to order directly from the band's website.
Also, Lacuna Coil apparently has a new album coming out in April, but I only have one of their albums so far, so I should probably catch up on the others first. *snicker*
P.S. Nightwish has posted some info about their grand tour finale! I would love to see that. ;)