The East Detroit-based proto-punk outfit Death formed in 1973 around the talents of siblings David, Bobby, and Dannis Hackney. The brothers, who had spent previous summers banging out soul and funk jams, began to gravitate toward the deafening assault of bands like Black Sabbath, MC5, Alice Cooper, and the Stooges, resulting in a volatile live set and demo that found favor with Detroit's burgeoning underground rock scene. Producer Don Davis (Funkadelic) was called in to helm the band's debut studio sessions, which unearthed a raw, nervy collection of classic rock-tinged, politically charged punk singles. The songs eventually caught the ear of Columbia Records guru Clive Davis, who wanted to change the band's name to something more forgiving than Death. David refused to budge, causing a rift in the group that led to all three siblings retreating to New England to stay with their half-brother. What was initially devised as a brief getaway turned into decades, and the brothers went their separate ways. In 2009 Drag City released For the Whole World to See, which collected all seven of the band's singles. Death reunited for a series of shows in 2010 and also played the South by Southwest Music Festival that year. In early 2011, Drag City, with help from Death's members, released a collection of demos and outtakes from the For the Whole World to See sessions entitled Spiritual Metal Physical. Another set of archival recordings entitled Death III was issued in 2014. The recordings were compiled from tapes recorded between 1975 and 1990 and featured some of the final sessions recorded by David Hackney, who died in 2000 from lung cancer.
Death surprised everyone in 2015 with N.E.W. Death, an album of brand new material featuring replacement guitarist Bobbie Duncan. ~ James Christopher Monger