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Rock - Released March 19, 1995 | Roadrunner Records

Nearly a decade into their career, Death show no signs of slowing down on Symbolic. Granted, some of the riffs are beginning to sound a little tired and there is no great leap forward in terms of their musical ideas, but the sheer visceral force of their sound should please their dedicated fans. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Metal - Released February 15, 2011 | Relapse Records

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Metal - Released June 21, 2011 | Relapse Records

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Metal - Released May 20, 2016 | Relapse Records

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Metal - Released April 29, 2014 | Relapse Records

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Metal - Released October 25, 2011 | Relapse Records

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Metal - Released February 16, 1999 | Relapse Records

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Metal - Released June 21, 2011 | Relapse Records

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Rock - Released March 19, 1995 | Roadrunner Records

Nearly a decade into their career, Death show no signs of slowing down on Symbolic. Granted, some of the riffs are beginning to sound a little tired and there is no great leap forward in terms of their musical ideas, but the sheer visceral force of their sound should please their dedicated fans. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Metal - Released November 20, 2012 | Relapse Records

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Punk / New Wave - Released February 17, 2009 | Drag City Records

Detroit in the early 1970s was rife with raucous wild music of all kinds: the psychedelic funk of George Clinton's crew, the raging rock of MC5, the Stooges, the Frost, SRC, Bob Seger getting ready to crack the big time, the entire Motown scene, Grand Funk Railroad banging on the upper reaches of the charts, etc. It was all happening in various places around Southeastern Michigan, but in full view. Music was one of the only places in the Motor City where notions of race and class became virtually invisible. And Detroit radio stations, albeit in off-hours, supported local music. The influence all these bands had on the local scene was tremendous, as was the influence of Alice Cooper, who'd begun by making music in the Motor City before relocating to Los Angeles. Enter the Hackney Brothers: guitarist David, bassist Bobby, and drummer Dannis (aka Death). These three brothers had been woodshedding in various funk and soul units until about 1973 when they began digging into the heavier sounds of the day, particularly the Stooges and Alice Cooper. They adopted their rather macabre moniker and began playing loads of parties and garage shows and the occasional ALSAC Teen dance bashes on Sunday afternoons. In 1973 they recorded a demo that they gave away at shows that were becoming hot word of mouth affairs. They got it into the hands of producer Don Davis, who brought them into United Sound and cut the singles that have become--thanks to Drag City-- For the Whole World to See, which finally saw a complete release after 35 years. The sound here is a whomping, woolly blast of garage rock in the grand Detroit tradition. The songs are beautifully written, raw but very tight, rhythmically compelling, guitar-drenched and feedback-littered but focused. Check out the band's best-known tracks such as "Where Do We Go from Here?" and the hyper-political "Politicians in My Eyes." Here ultra-sonic bass rumble, staggered kick drum and snare attacks merge with blistering shards of six-string mayhem. This is proto-punk at its best. Period. Stop-start cadences meet overdriven power chords and slippery riffs and the primal testosterone energy that the very best of Detroit rock & roll brought to bear: frustration, rage, hedonism, and a Fuck You attitude. The feedback and distortion squalls at the end of "Politicians...." are the equal of anything that ever came from the era. Add to this the smoking party anthem "Keep on Knocking," the no-holds barred rave-up of "Rock 'n' Roll Victim," and the Hendrix-ian guitar blast of "You're a Prisoner" and you'll be left shaking your head in wonder and even awe. The music on For the Whole World to See is not a collection of dead dog cuts assembled for a quick buck. In an era where "lost" albums and "classics" seem to come from every label on the planet, Death's meager 26-and-a-half minutes of recorded sound become a proper chapter in the secret history of rock. Yes, it's true that the hardcore collector crazies have been paying a fortune for the original singles, but it's the music that matters. This amazing record is more evidence of Detroit music's secret story. Fans of Bad Brains, Hendrix, Iggy and the Stooges, etc., take note. The word "classic" in this sense is not only accurate, it cannot be overstated. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Metal - Released April 29, 2014 | Relapse Records

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Metal - Released April 4, 2011 | Relapse Records

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Metal - Released April 4, 2011 | Relapse Records

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Metal - Released November 20, 2012 | Relapse Records

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Metal - Released October 25, 2011 | Relapse Records

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Metal - Released April 4, 2011 | Relapse Records

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Metal - Released April 4, 2011 | Relapse Records

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Metal - Released May 20, 2016 | Relapse Records

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Rock - Released April 1, 2018 | Drag City

Death lives! David, Dannis, and Bobby Hackney's singular brand of scorching, '70s Detroit proto-punk power trio rock was all but unheard save for a few handfuls of Motor City fans and record collectors. Their first seven songs were compiled by Drag City and issued as For the Whole World to See. Two subsequent collections (Spiritual-Mental-Physical in 2011 and III in 2013), as well as a documentary film entitled A Band Called Death and a subsequent tour (with new guitarist Bobbie Duncan replacing the deceased David) drew massive attention. N.E.W. is the band's first newly issued material since the '70s. Half the songs are new compositions; the remainder were written over the years by David. Their root sound remains crunchy, driving, crescendo-fueled hard guitar rock. That said, it is difficult to overstate the importance of the rhythm section: the hyperkinetic drumming of Dannis and the propulsive bass playing of Bobby are guiding forces for Duncan's absolutely stunning axe work. This is music that is guided by David's spirit -- he knew how to juxtapose the music of their influences: the funky psychedelic rhythms of Funkadelic and the heatseeking rock & roll destruction of the Stooges, Alice Cooper, and the MC5. The themes here seem to be evolution, resurrection, and change. Sometimes the lyrics are goofy, but they don't detract from the well-crafted melodies, vamps, riffs, and arrangements. Their sound, despite better fidelity, remains basic -- and yeah, that's a really good thing. The knotty charge in "Relief" puts the roiling bassline up front, filled by Duncan with Hendrix-esque lines. The simmering blues rock that introduces "Look at Your Life" is soon replaced by knotty stop-and-start cadences and a brief but killer guitar solo. "The Times" is storming, furious punk rock, followed by the heavy yet nearly danceable pop-punk of "Playtime." "Who Am I" is the most expansive track here, with an elongated melody that shapes itself around skittering, punchy snares, power chords, and loping guitar and bass fills. "You Are What You Think" is a dead cross between classic early power metal and Bad Brains. "Resurrection" is almost anthemic; its melody could have been written by Phil Lynott circa Jailbreak, but the attack and frenzy are pure Detroit. Closer "Change" may have some of the cheesiest lyrics on the set, but its hooky, kinetic punk boogie is a guaranteed party jam. N.E.W. is solid proof that Death never stopped pursuing the idiosyncratic rock & roll vision that inspired them initially. The energy, ability, and vitality are here in abundance, and Duncan proves an excellent, respectful choice to fill in the Hackney Brothers' lineup. The album, though brief, is not only better than it had any right to be, but is close to perfect. Can't wait for the next one. © Thom Jurek /TiVo