Box Of Fire
Released: 1994, Columbia
This year is the 40th Anniversary of the release of Aerosmith’s debut record. I’ve been on a bit of an Aerosmith kick lately, so the timing is good. While I believe they are not ‘Metal’, the band has inspired legions of Metal artists. Many Metal bands such as, Testament and Metal Church have covered Aerosmith songs and some of us here at the Metal-Rules Global Command Center have a soft-spot for the pioneering bands of the 70’s. That is why you will occasionally you will get a review of a Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Rush and yes, Aerosmith. So to commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the band I’ve whipped up four quick reviews of a couple of books, a box-set and the last studio album. Enjoy.
Back in 2002 I wrote a review of the other (and far superior) Aerosmith box set, PANDORAS BOX, and in that review I called the BOX OF FIRE ‘lame’. Since it is just about the 20th Anniversary of the BOX OF FIRE I thought I’d touch on it because I just bought it. Why did I buy it, if it is lame? Well, most of my old Aerosmith cassettes are totally shot! Worn out. I’m not surprised the cassettes are worn out as some of those tapes are over three decades old. So, as a treat I bought myself the BOX OF FIRE which is essentially everything the band released on Columbia Records from 1973-1988, namely 12 discs and a bonus disc. There are the first seven studio albums, three live albums and two compilations.
The box itself is attractive and the CD’s have decent individual packaging and all of it was digitally re-mastered which doesn’t sound like much today, but back in the early 90’s when this thing was getting assembled, digital re-mastering was still kind of a big deal. If you were a true Aerosmith fan there is virtually no reason to get this, other than the aforementioned upgrade from analog vinyl (or tape) to digital CD technology. The only reason to possibly be a musical incentive to get this was the inclusion of a bonus disc, a five track set running about 20 minutes, and in reality only one unreleased track, a symphonic version of ‘Dream On’. So that’s it, out of 121 songs, BOX OF FIRE contains one unreleased track, a reworking of an old song. It includes two greatest hits albums, complete and total redundant song duplication except for ‘Chip Away The Stone’ which actually was the first video and single off ‘Gems’, and it is a decent song, but like I said in the beginning of my review, this box-set is lame.
In terms of musical content, rarities, design and layout this box-set this is very poor. As a fan for me it was really nice to get all those classic old albums sounding great again, so I personally have a real soft-spot for BOX OF FIRE. It’s comprehensive and as a fan it is kinda cool to have it sitting on my shelf. 20 years after it’s release, this box-set runs for about $100.00 on E-bay (plus a hefty shipping fee, because it is quite large) and supply is high with lots of brand new, sealed, copies still floating around the web, so it is not even really that rare or collectible. Removing my personal reasons for purchasing it from the equation, if you are an old Aerosmith fan, I have to give it a low rating of 2/5 ‘not worth buying or owning’, which is odd because I usually tend to favour box-sets in my reviews. If you want my rating for strictly the music, well, it’s a five out of five for those first seven, timeless, influential albums and the cool little burnt match that comes with it.