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Samhain has always been a well-loved band, often for many of the same reasons the Misfits were loved -- the blood and gore on stage, the horror-filled imagery of the lyrics, and, most of all, Glenn Danzig's crooning vocals. So, after endless delays, the Box Set finally materialized in late 2000. Unfortunately, it wasn't able to live up to its hype. As with most box sets, the music isn't really the issue. Samhain always rocked, and now it rocks in a digitally remastered kind of way. Fans buy box sets for bonus tracks, liner notes, pictures, and the other cool stuff that comes with it. And, in the case of Samhain, their albums had been out of print since 1995, so this was supposed to be a chance for newer fans to fill in holes in their collections. The five-CD set includes what appear to be the official Samhain releases -- Initium, Unholy Passion, November/Coming Fire, and Final Descent -- as well as a live disk which draws from sets at both Danceteria (N.Y.C., 1985) and Metro (Chicago, 1986). As it turns out, the masters used for Unholy Passion were not the originals, but rather remixes which had actually been released on Final Descent. But not the Final Descent in the Boxed Set, as that has a different track listing from the original vinyl release. The song "Misery Tomb" was included on Unholy Passion unlike the original but rather as it was on Caroline's first pressing of Initium onto CD (for some reason Caroline included the entire Unholy Passion EP plus the song "Misery Tomb"). There is actually some speculation among fans that Danzig lost the real Unholy Passion masters and that's why he used the (real) Final Descent remixes for the Box Set. All of which means, in plain English, that there's still some Samhain material that remains out of print. The live CD was a bonus, but most serious Samhain fans have had access to this same material for quite some time. Danzig fans will be excited to find an early version of "Twist of Cain" on Final Descent -- but the Samhain/Danzig fan crossover is hardly unilateral. Unfortunately, the rest of the package doesn't have much to recommend it: The liner notes provide no useful information at all; there isn't a single explanation of the track substitutions or even asterisks to point out the previously unreleased material; while there were lyrics for Initium and November Coming Fire, there weren't any provided for Unholy Passion or Final Descent; the comic book was good for a laugh, but only one. And, unlike the Misfits Box Set, the packaging was disappointingly budget.

Track Listing - Disc 4

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:10
2 2:19
4 3:06
6 3:40
blue highlight denotes track pick