Saturday, April 23, 2011

Worth the Effort: Unholy Passion - Samhain - 1985

One of the dual agonies and joys of record collecting is the out of print album.  Prior to the internet, securing what you sought meant pure luck, perseverance and, for the truly dedicated, ponying up for an ad in Goldmine. With eBay, Amazon and the like, it's usually just a matter of how much you're willing to pay and that rare gem is yours within days. Still, some mystery remains. Is that original pressing of Kryst the Conqueror's Deliver Us from Evil really worth forty bucks? Sometimes the thrill of success renders the quality of the recording moot.  And sometimes you end up with Grand Funk's All the Girls in the World Beware and no sense of accomplishment can make up for a record that reminds you why no one was buying it in the first place.

One that's worth the effort: Samhain's 1985 EP, Unholy Passion. Samhain's legacy on record is a collecting challenge in itself. The only way to hear the true original versions of the first three releases, Initium, Unholy Passion, and November Coming Fire, is to track down the original vinyl. When pressing CDs for distribution on Caroline Records way back when, certain elements were re-recorded by Glenn Danzig. Rumor has it that tinkering continued with each new pressing or release and that each version varies slightly. Previously issued on CD tacked onto certain releases of  Initium and Final Descent, Unholy Passion is much better on its own. Barely 20 minutes long, Unholy Passion nonetheless stands as the most consistent, and perhaps the most satisfying, Samhain release. The sole CD standalone release occurred in 2001 on E-Magine Records when they reissued the entire Samhain catalog, a comprehensive box set and a never-before-released live recording (all, again, sadly out of print at present).
An excellent "sampler" for the Samhain-curious, Unholy Passion provides marvelous examples of the variety within the Samhain sound, from the sinister Misfits update "All Hell" to the self-explanatory wail of "I Am Misery." The opening title track, the prototypical Samhain chant, is instantly infectious and intoxicating. It doesn't get any darker than this - nor any better. Fans who dig this should definitely save up now to shell out now for the rest of the collection.

1 comment:

  1. What i love about coming here is the realization that there is so much undiscovered music to listen too!