Death - Death III

by Alexander Segall Rating:8 Release Date:2014-04-21

Forgotten 70s proto-punkers Death make a hell of a comeback with Death III. Mixing up some slow, spacey cuts like ‘Free’ and ‘We Are Only People’ with angry, post-Velvets and Stooges tunes like ‘North Street’, this is the sound of Bad Brains but a decade early. There is some real invention here - the aforementioned ‘We Are Only People’ is an eight-minute jam which goes from the airiest of introductions to a reggae-tinged chug.  

 

Reggae also gets an airing on ‘Open Road’, while ‘Restlessness’ presages jerky post-punk in the Television/Talking Heads vein. Of the Hackney brothers, David, on guitar, is the hero of the piece; his ever-inventive riffs, fills and solos are based in some solid R&B tradition, with hints of Hendrix and Hazell filtering through the spare Detroit sound.  

 

The production is, unsurprisingly, quite hissy and cheap, but then again, bands pay a lot of money nowadays to sound as raw as this really is. ‘Yes He’s Coming’ genuinely sounds like you’ve put on a vinyl and kicked back with a beer or 17 on a summer’s evening in a hazy city and are looking out over your street, checking out the passersby. Of course, it’s about Jesus, but it’s the grooviest cut here, and is the link to their later career as gospel rockers.  

 

It’s a short, nine-track album - the final songs, ‘First Snowfall in Detroit’, a simple guitar piece which builds and builds through some ‘Little Wing’ style licks to a lyrical solo, and ‘We’re Gonna Make It’ give a gentle close to an album that starts with some aggro punk. It’s a good summation of a career, and worth hunting down.  

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