Saturday, August 20, 2011

Death For The Whole World to See

Brothers David, Bobby, and Dennis Hackney started making music together in 1971, when David, the eldest, was 19 and Dennis, the youngest was 16. Like many young African-American musicians their primary influences were soul and funk. Things changed after seeing Iggy and The Stooges live. The brothers started listening to more rock like Alice Cooper and Led Zeppelin. When The Who's Quadrophenia came out David became convinced that nothing was more important than rock and roll. In 1974, the boys put together a demo tape using the most rocking name they could think of for their band...Death.

Thirty three years later, Drag City has taken those tracks as well as their lone single(which sells for over $1000 a pop) and combined them into an album entitled For the Whole World To See. Long overdue and long unheard of, Death is just now getting the attention they always deserved. With a sound that was prototypical punk rock mixed with 70's style rock and roll, this was a band that was as angsty as much as it was into the idea of just rocking out. You can hear the fierceness in each of the seven songs here which sound something like Iggy meets really early Rush for a cross-border scrap.

For the Whole World To See is a superb record of raw power and raw energy. It's aggressive, churning, and rocks like a quarry. This is an album that wears it's early metal and punk influences on it's sleeve and it sounds like the most honest power trio to have ever come out of Detroit. Having listened to this a bunch, it's really ashame that this band never got the recognition and stardom they truly deserved.

"Keep on Rocking," "Politicians In My Eyes," "Freakin' Out," are awesome tunes that rock as only artists in the 70's could. For the Whole World To See is rough uncompromising stuff that was honed to perfection by Jim Vitti who worked with Parliament/Funkadelic. While it may not have been a funk workout like he was used to, Vitti's engineering brought out the best of Death in each of the songs giving them an organic feel packed with nuclear energy.

For the Whole World To See is a brilliant effort from a band who's place has finally been solidified in the rock and roll lexicon. Essential for collectors, classic rock fans, and punk rock kids Death unknowingly paved the way for artists who never even knew they existed. Listening to history has never been so enjoyable.

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