Written by OUTLOUD Staff
We often associate the punk genre with legends like the Sex Pistols and the Ramones playing fast paced songs at squalid venues in London or CBGB in New York. However, before punk even had a term, there was a group in Detroit named Death: A band that leads the front of the truly underground punk scene. Brothers David, Bobby, and Dannis Hackney started the punk rock – more specifically proto-punk – group in 1971. Death started out as any punk band should: Practicing in their family room and playing gigs out of their garage.
Death managed to record seven songs with Columbia Records, but did not go where the trio had expected. Out of frustration, the band started their own label and released 500 copies of their first album …For the Whole World to See with songs such as “Politicians in My Eyes” and “Keep on Knocking.”
The trio did some touring but decided to end the band in 1977. The brothers then moved to Vermont and recorded music under the name of The 4th Movement during the 1980’s. In the year 2000, brother David Hackney passed away due to lung cancer and that left just two brothers. Bobby and Dannis led a reggae band during that time, but in 2015 decided to release one more album under Death.
Guitarist Bobbie Duncan took over and on April 21st, 2015 the band released the album N.E.W. This is the first album the band has released in almost half a century. Reviews for the album have been hot and cold. Some magazines claim it is gold while others state the album is more rock than protopunk with a mediocre undertone.
The latter of the two reviews seems to hold true. While you would expect a band with the word “death” in it to have a truly dark and melancholic vibe, some parts of the album do not spell out punk or proto-punk. Also, the lyrics may be a little cheesy; However, the band clearly knows what they are doing. Death has both experience and time under their belt and was always ahead of the game. They brought in punk sounds before there was even a term and people still have barley heard of the band. Hopefully this album will change that. Now with a new album under their belt, maybe it won’t take 40 years for a tour to commence.
Check out SoundCloud to hear a song from Death’s new album in 40 years: