Death: Death III (Album Review)

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Death: Death III
Album Review by Rob Watts

Ever since 70s protopunk band DEATH had broken out of obscurity a few years ago, fans old and new have been clambering for new material from the Detroit trio—siblings David, Dannis and Bobby Hackney. While not exactly new, DEATH III showcases the band’s timeline with nine-tracks recorded in 1975, 1976, 1980 and 1992.

In brief, if you haven’t heard the tale of DEATH, basically three brothers, Bobby (bass, vocals), David (guitar) and Dannis (drums) assembled themselves as a rock trio after being inspired by The Who, Alice Cooper and many other rock bands of the time. They’d recorded batches of material, received major label interest, passed on getting signed as they’d refused to change their band’s name to a more commerce-friendly identity and essentially drifted into obscurity as the members focused their musical attention towards various projects.

Fast-forward to 2008 when Bobby Hackney’s sons discovered old recordings of their father’s former band, interest began to develop in giving the music a proper release. In 2009 Drag City Records released “…For The Whole World to See”, a collection of material intended for release during the mid-seventies but never happened. Based on the popularity of DEATH’s first major release, a documentary was produced in the form of A BAND CALLED DEATH.

Now, DEATH will release an archival collection called DEATH III on April 22. Comprised of nine tracks of various influence ranging from punk rock, funk, hard rock and flat-out trippy psychedelic delight. Bobby Hackney’s soulful vocal delivery melts over tracks such as “Restlessness” and “Open Road” and is reminiscent of the early seventies version of LOVE led by the late Arthur Lee. “Yes He’s Coming” is a laid back Lo-Fi jam, while “North Street” paints a ferocious MC5-production-influenced portrait of the band’s early days on the streets of the motor city.

This is easily one of my favorite releases so far this year. Fans of pure-driven rock music should enjoy this very much. It’s great to see DEATH’s legacy finally getting the respect it so richly deserves. DEATH III can be purchased here.
Review by ROB WATTS

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