The band that made Glenn Danzig a household no-name
*special introductory paragraph!
*Black Dream
*Live 85-86
*Final Descent

Samhain was the band that Glenn Danzig led between the Misfits and Danzig. But enough about Glenn Danzig. Let's put the emphasis back on me, where it belongs. When I was in high school, John Waugh (superswell guy that everybody knew was gay even though he didn't admit it to himself for another five years or so) was driving me around in his Fagmobile and playing this cool AC/DC-like music in the tapedeck. I was all like, "Dude! This is cool! What is this?" And he says to me, he says, "They're called 'Danzig'. A friend of mine (probably another fruity pebble) thought that I would like them because I like The Cult. But I don't like it." And of course I was all like, "Dude! This shit's cool, muthafucka!" But I didn't use those words because my mother didn't raise any cursers. A couple of years later, when I was hardcore, I picked up the record Earth AD/Wolfs Blood by the Misfits, whom I'd heard were a great punk band. And I was all enjoyin' this crazy wack punk hardcore shit when suddenly I noticed that all the songs were written by a guy named "Glenn Danzig." Well, I put two and two together pretty fast and realized that this Glenn Danzig was the very same Glenn Danzig that ran for the Louisiana senator's seat in 1962. A few weeks later, somebody told me that it was actually the same Glenn Danzig that was now (then, but also now) the leader of Danzig. You're probably wondering what all this has to do with Samhain. Well, I can't remember how I heard of Samhain. All I know is that it was the band that Dan Glennzig led between the Danfits and Miszig. And it took me about fifteen years to finally understand what it was they were trying to do. It certainly wasn't punk rock but it also wasn't hard rock. Now I think I would qualify it as "lo-fi goth punk metal." Glenn tried to create an eerie satanic mood and inevitably failed but he still gave us a lot of catchy songs that sounded like absolutely nothing I've heard before or since -- early Christian Death probably comes the closest but even they didn't try so hard to be "EEEEEEEEEE-VIL." I also recall that all the "cool" people claimed, "It's not pronounced 'Samhain'; it's pronounced "Sow-inn". But every time I've ever heard Glenn say the name of the band, he's called it "Samhain," so fuck you, all you "cool" people from high school who probably work at a convenience store now because you were a bunch of fucking losers.

Reader Comments
Just for the sake of clarity (though this may have been pointed out to you already) Samhain is the Irish word for Hallowe'en and also the word for November and is pronounced Sow-inn.

Now Glenn Danzig is fully entitled to pronounce his bands name whatever way he likes but under those circumstances I think Sow-inn would be a more interesting pronunciation especially as there is no word in English that bears resemblance to it .... but who gives a shit?? Certainly not me, or you for that matter.

Cool band, whatever they call themselves!!!

Initium - Plan 9 1984.
Rating = 8

I've grown very fond of this album, but for all the wrong reasons. See, judging from the EVIL cover photo of the devilocked trio dripping in blood, this is supposed to be a scary album. But a good half of the songs are so poorly executed, they're honestly laugh-out-loud funny. The opening track is just a bunch of swirling stupid wind noises with Glenn uttering SPOOKY crap like "You think you've known pain - you've known nothing!". Then there's the utterly WICKED and DEVILISH "He-Who-Can-Not-Be-Named" (or as I like to call it, "That-Which-Can-Not-Be-Good"), the sludgey trudger "Macabre," which would pass for a Danzig-era metal tune if not for the SATANIC evil bell toll chime that punctuates each line in a SCARY way, and of course the album-closer "Archangel," which sounds like an emo power pop song ruined by some dork in the studio making HORRIFIC moaning noises into the guitar mic.

But don't get me wrong! I'm not knocking it! Nor am I putting down a mix that is so buried in echoey reverb that the songs are about a nose hair away from completely disappearing into the mindlessly noisy din. And I would never trash a collection of simplistic two- to three-chord songs that would be punk rock if the drummer didn't play them all at half-speed. And who would dare to complain about the great baritone singer Glenn Danzig wasting thirty minutes just shouting and screaming in no key whatsoever? Lastly, I would be a FOOL to make fun of the band for repositioning the Misfits' classic "Horror Business" as a clangy, harmonics-heavy pile of nearly unlistenable slop called "Horror Biz".

Quite francly, it would take me several hours of really hard thinking to name another album that fails on so many levels while being so damned entertaining at the same time. I like it for all the wrong reasons, but I like it anyway, kind sir. And for all I know, it was all an elaborate joke! I doubt it though. I think Glenn Danzig takes himself and his EVIL persona way too seriously to do something like that. Chances are good that the album is just bad.

Reader Comments
As a faithful follower of Glenn Danzig, i felt compelled to at least hear Samhain. I mean, the man is pure gold. The misfits are the best punk band ever...Danzig is just one of the best bands ever, so i figured, Samhain should be cool. Fortunately, i was right. The way i see this debut is basically a more evil sounding and better version of the misfits. Some great songs like Black Dream, and He Who cannot be Named. A few songs don't quite make my bill, but still not complete crap, and yes, it sounds like it was recorded a marble room with the amps turned all the way up. Nonetheless, a fun album to listen to, i give it a 7.

Oh yeah, and the cover is so cool. You gotta give the boys some props for covering themself in most likely fake blood and looking really 1984! This was really scary for back then! if you ask me, it's still pretty cool even for now. (The Wedge)
The blood was real horse blood. Steve Zing told me.
i think this album is great!! it took me awhile to like but then all of a sudden i couldnt get enough of it and yeah the recording sounds fuckin wack but it all makes the album come together and yeah the first song with danzig talking is fuckin gay but hey and macbre is pretty lame too but all the other songs rock and ARCHANGEL is a great song great lyric, music, everything and i thing the howls make it come alive well thats just me
I like this album very much. Im glad that Samhain existed, even for a short time. Im a huge fan of gothic rock and death rock bands of old (Bauhaus, Specimen, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Christian Death, etc.) as well as a big fan of the Misfits. I was overjoyed to hear Glenn Danzig's dark and sweeping voice carry out some nice gothic rock tunes. Opposite your oppinion, ArchAngel is my favorite song on this album because it is his song that touches the closest to gothic rock. Im not a big fan of Danzig by himself seeing the fact that metal is one of my least favorite genres. All in all Initum is a great album and would get the highest rating from me.

P.S. Horror Biz was wonderful. To me, you dont need skill at playing an instrument. As long as it sounds how you like, its good. (David Clarke)
It was great to come across your Samhain tribute site (page?). I give Initium 20 out of 10 -- for me it's one of the perfect rock 'n' roll albums. Danzig is a lot like Morrissey, it seems to me, because detractors of both don't realize, "He's in on the joke." I'm sure the opening track and the "Too Much Horror Business" cover were added because they finished recording and realized, "Uh, we need about 5 more minutes, guys." "Horror Biz" is the only track I skip -- I agree, the original is a million times more powerful. Other than that, every song captures the spirit they were driving for perfectly. There are funny touches all over the album -- "He-Who-Can-Not-Be-Named" -- "Say it! Say it anyway!" Hilarious! And potent at the same time. An "Formless, Fearless and Free" is as good a motto for living as "Give Peace a Chance," or any other hippie nonsense. "Macabre" is one of my very favorite tracks -- "spine of heaven SPLIT TO FORM HELLLLLLLL!" Awesome stuff. And "All Murder" is one of the greatest 2 minutes 40 of the punk era. When you add the fact that every song on the album could be played by people who never saw an instrument before with about 3 hours practice -- I mean, that's punk rock. Musically primitive, but the way it comes together rocks. Danzig offered "Archangel" to The Damned, and they made a big mistake never recording it. I would have loved to have heard Dave Vanian's version of that, but Danzig's is perfect anyway. From the cover, to the music, to the lyrics, to the pure demented energy of the whole thing, this album is such a stone classic.

Thanks for giving me a chance to drone on about an album and a band that usually elicit "Huh?"s. People have no f---ing clue what they're missing.

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* November-Coming-Fire - Plan 9 1986. *
Rating = 10

Samhain done right! This go-round, Glenn "Mandel" Danzig has four band members (including bassist Eerie Von who followed him to his self-named outfit!) and has bothered putting effort into the songwriting!!!! This is NOT echoey noise or slowed-down punk. The songs run through a variety of dark textures and moods, with really neat stylistic guitar noises, light keyboard and church bell tones and the bass player hardly ever playing the same thing the guitarist is playing, which makes a big difference on the "intelligent-sounding" scale. A couple of the tunes even sound like they could be on the third or fourth Danzig album! "To Walk The Night" especially sounds like a straight Roy Orbison-type 60sish death ballad.

I still don't think it's scary, understand, but the songs are really cool and smartly arranged, from the hardcore punk of "In My Grip" and "Kiss Of Steel" to the ugly-yet-compelling death rock of "Mother Of Mercy" and "Halloween II" to the straight-up creative as hell weird shit of "Unbridled" and "Birthright" to the spooky skeleton monsters on the cover!!!! Aaaah! I'm scared and must run away!!!

Reader Comments
Damn this album is good. I decided to give Samhain another buy mostly cause Mr. Prindle told me how cool this album was a long time ago, and it really is cool. It far surpasses anything The Misfits did, and almost surpasses some of the stuff Danzig did. Just great songs like Kiss of Steel, Mother of Mercy, To Walk the Night, the list goes on....For the first time, a little more thought went into recording this album, the drummer is putting some bass drum lines that are actually a little complicated, and in general a better production job. And Glenn Danzig's vocals, as always, rule. This one definently gets the 10 for me.
The girlfriend I had when I was 17 turned me on to this and the Misfits, because Danzig was quickly becoming my favorite band.

I think this is the only Samhain album that is really good. Initium is ok, Unholy Passion is better than Initium. Final Descent has some good moments. November is the only album I can sit all the way through without skipping anything. The whole atmosphere of it is so cool. It actually sounds evil. Not in a Slayer kinda way, it's just dark. Unlike most of the albums Glenn Danzig has written, most of this album is subtle. After listening to it a bit I figured out that half the time he's horny and the other half he wants to kill someone. So, maybe not much is really that different from Danzig.

I feel like the only person who thinks Human Pony Girl is one of the best album closers ever.

I give it a 10.
Ok I just got this album today and I love this album. This is where punk and metal meet to form a great sounding album. IF you notice in all of my feed-backs I use the word album and not cd, even though it's on a cd. Weird. Anyway, I found this album just on a gut feeling because I was going to get the Misfits "Walk Among Us" anyway and I just asked and there it was, cool as hell dude. Glenn Danzig voice is different in this cd, but in a good way and still great. Eerie Von is great on the bass, a little better then Jerry Only (I could be wrong), Damien guitar sound good and eerie as hell, and London May drumming is great. That all, my only problem with the album is that the songs, I think, "To walk the night" and "Brithright" are switch around. Just read the lyrics and you tell me.
I fucking love november-coming fire! Its one of the greatest albums i have ever heard! I totally agree w/u. Samhain is one of the most influencial bands in my life and there is just one problem w/this album....................................ITS TOO FUCKING RARE!!!!!!!!!! I mean it took me so long to get it, i actually waited eagerly for a year to hear it and it is worth every day of it. Samhain in my opinion is danzig's best work to date and are VERY under appreciated! i would give this album a VERY VERY high 10. (JJ)
Hey mark, you skipped the "unholy passion" EP It has the big tited monster on the cover. It came out after initium. I will give you the first line of your review " Unholy CRAP... Its got like five songs on it. but a cool cover (big tited monster) check it out thanks

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Black Dream - Bootleg.
Rating = 6

It's an illegal bootleg that I bought for six bucks at a dinkyass Los Angeles record store and sold on ebay for $40!!!! Some of it's live Initium material (hideously recorded, of course), some of it's radio interviews, some of it's demos and some of it is apparently the original mix of the second Samhain 12", an EP called Unholy Pasion. That record (which features boobs on the cover) is now impossible to find - or rather, was until this new box set came out - so it was like a big deal that it was included on this bootleg. Especially since it's a really good little EP!!! The songs are, as you might expect, a cross between the simplicity of the earlier Pentium and the slightly more complex song stylings of the later PeteKember-Joining-Wire. With a fudgepackin' slowed down version of "All Hell Breaks Loose" for boots! Winnie the Poop! Still, the live stuff is fuckin' miserable so how high a grade do you expect me to give this thing?

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Live 85-86 - E-Magine 2002
Rating = 7

You know who stinks to High Heaven? The Red Hot Chili Peppers. I've now sat through every single one of their eight albums, and I'd say they're averaging about two good songs per record. I'm all for wearing socks and shoes on your dick if it has to walk someplace, but I can't think of another band whose cRaZeEeE(!!!) media image is so far removed from the reality of their dull, formulaic music. As such, they've won a Grammy.

As for this Samhain live thing, it's got all of Initium except "Macabre," all of Unholy Passion except "Moribund" and "Misery Tomb," 4 November-Coming-Fire tracks and 2 Misfits extravaganzas ("London Dungeon" and "Death Comes Ripping"). Unfortunately the sound quality is the Pitts. Burgh stealers are running all over the audience talking about the chartered towns in Scotland they've nicked (you can't hear any of their conversation on the CD though), and the drums and bass are so assblastin' loud, the guitar sounds like a guy out in the parking lot listening politely to his transistor radio. What is up with Samhain and the release of subpar concert recordings? A company whose name shall remain nameless recently sent me a review copy of the BIGGEST PIECE OF CRAP DVD I'd ever seen -- a Samhain concert that was nearly inaudible due to horrible onstage sound. I of course chivalrously volunteered to not write a review at all, rather than risk affecting their sales with negative comments. But believe me, had I reviewed it, I would have said something like "'(Name of the company that released it)?' More like 'MuSHIT Video DiSHITutors' if you ask me!!!'"

But back to the CD, for continuity's sake. The CD is full of great songs from two different concerts, but the sound quality is horrendous. Every time they start "kickin' ass," you can't hear anything but the drums! There's no stage patter either, aside from a quick Elvis impersonation ("Why, thank ya kindly") and Glenn saying "Here's another new one" about 40 times (for those audience members who, when confronted with an unfamiliar track, assume it's an old favorite and begin singing along).

Lowlights include "Unholy Passion" sounding like a slap-bass funk song, "To Walk The Night" sounding like a single chord, "I Am Misery" sounding like the drumbeat is just one man's opinion, "London Dungeon" sounding like somebody ate the tuning fork, and "All Hell" sounding like a bunch of drunk people with no arms flapping their stumps all over a music store. Highlights include the actual songs, as heard on previous studio releases.

That's the end of the review. But if your eyes won't stop darting back and forth, here's a real-life true anecdote for you to enjoy. A long time ago I did some work for a little software company called Omnimedia. They kept putting out titles that just weren't very good, including Sade Interactive, Incident At Roswell and other sordid crap I can't remember. So anyway our main contact over there was a man who was obviously gay -- we'll call him "Dick" just to make fun of gay people. One day "Dick" (hee!) came to town to meet with us while we were getting ready to send out press copies of the latest Omnimedia title, The Mystery of the Missing Princess. Because I hadn't paid much attention to the account for a while, I didn't realize that Princess was packaged in a huge box that required an oversized mailing container for shipping. So as we were walking around the office with "Dick," I suddenly noticed a bunch of huge cardboard boxes in one of the conference rooms. I then said, like a dumbass, "Whoa! What are those big boxes?" My colleagues Eric and Cassandra stared into me with those 'don't blow this account for us' eyes and one of them replied, "That's the Missing Princess mailing, Mark." I quietly replied "Oh," then turned to the GAY, HOMOSEXUAL "Dick" and inadvertantly uttered the now-infamous refrain:

"Mighty big package you got there."

Apparently he smiled and replied, "Well, thank you!" but because I hadn't realized what I'd said, the joke was lost on me entirely. But don't let it be lost on YOU! Order today!

Just send a check or money order of $19.95 to my motivational radio show at::
Mark Prindle
"Open Your Eyes & Talk"
Big Generator Union
Tormato, Drama 90125

Reader Comments
yeah, i just bought this myself. it's not 'good' but it is somehow enjoyable. i dunno, i guess i just have an unreasonable love for all things Danzig-related. you really seemed to hate it, yet you gave it a 7; maybe you feel the same way...?

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Final Descent - Plan 9 1990.
Rating = 8

This came out long after the band died, after Danzig the band had become popular. What it is, I believe, is some leftover final tracks with John Christ on guitar right before they changed the band name (which is what happened, by the way; Rick Rubin picked up Samhain and they changed the band name to Danzig), along with a remixed version of the Unholy Passion EP. I already told you about that one - the other tunes sound like a more hardcore version of Danzig - you can tell it's John Christ by the way he keeps doing those goddamned false harmonics he's so fond of, but a few of the songs are faster than all shit, which is something that Danzig the band never aspired to. Still trying to be evil and failing (especially in the laugh-out-lord piece of crap ambient piece "Misery Tomb," which consists of three minutes of the band members trying to sound like they're in the pits of hell when they were probably just in the pits of some guy's apartment), but riffs galore! The John Christ material is more metallic than you'd expect from Samhain, but again, that's probably why they soon changed the band name, if indeed that is the correct chain of events. Say! Can you tell that I just made an illegal CDR copy of this CD and didn't xerox the accompanying booklet? BAM!

In conclusion, Samhain is the forgotten Danzig band. The one that cool people always claim to like best. But I don't know for a fact that those people are lying because as laughable as some of the Samhain material is, it is still the most idiosyncratic stuff that Glenn has ever done. The Misfits sounded like the Ramones and Danzig sounded like AC/DC, but who the hell did Samhain sound like?

Probably just somebody I've never heard of. Alien Sex Fiend or Marginal Man or some crap. Fuckin' Danzig with his tiny legs and huge chest. You just TRY to kick my ass and see what happens!

You'll get blood all over your fists.

Reader Comments
If you like Samhain or the Misfits you should check out Devil's Whorehouse. They're a Marduk side-project and they sound exactly like Danzig-era Misfits right down to the bad production and facepaint. You can listen to mp3s at their website.
I think you guys need to pull some wax outta your ears and give the Samhain material a real listen. The misfits WERE the greatest and hardest punk band. And Danzig is about the only artist in dark metal whom Myself and many others can take seriously. However, Samhain is brilliant. I picked up the box set and I haven't played it out in two years.
samhain is a band i wish every one liked they are a band who means something why are we so judgemental and afraid to do what we feel
I do not know what genre of music you prefer, but I am willing to bet it falls somewhere between Michael Bolton and anything Debbie Gibson ever touched. You are the kind of person who accepts Clay Aiken as an artist and actually goes out and buys that crap. Personally, I am glad you do not like Samhain, one more douche bag out of my way. Peace.

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