Death have announced their first new album in decades. It is aptly titled N.E.W., and will be released on April 21st, 2015, via Tryangle Records with distribution by Drag City Records.
Death was formed in Detroit, Mich., in the 1970’s by three African-American brothers: David, Dannis and Bobby Hackney. The Hackney brothers tapped into the rock and roll scene they were surrounded by, but produced a style and a set of songs that were completely unappreciated in their day. But, later on those songs and the brothers’ musical stylings proved to be a powerful missing link in the evolution of punk rock.
After their paying their dues at local cabarets and garage parties, the brothers had a set of songs that got them signed to Groovesville Productions, a company owned by Don Davis, a successful producer for Stax Records. Death began to record at Detroit’s United Sound Recording Studios.
While their sound was impressive, the band kept hitting a wall, because “Nobody could get past the name,” former Groovesville publishing director Brian Spears said in an interview with The New York Times. “It seemed to be a real detriment. When you said the name of the group to anybody, it was like, ‘Man, why you calling the group Death?’”
Even well-known record executive Clive Davis had issues with name, when Don Davis brought a Death tape to a meeting in New York. But, Clive Davis liked the band’s music and was prepared to offer them a record deal if they’d rename their group. Don Davis relayed the message to the group, and “That’s when my brother David got a little angry,” Dannis Hackney recollected in an interview with The New York Times. “He told Don Davis to tell Clive Davis, ‘Hell no!’”
David Hackney was always insistent that the group could keep their name and have a successful career one day. Despite becoming involved with other recording projects over the years, David remained steadfast in his belief that Death had done something revolutionary with their sound, and would eventually be recognized for their efforts. In 2008, some eight years after David lost his battle with lung cancer, his wish came true: Death was discovered.
In 2009, the band released the critically acclaimed archival LP For “The Whole World To See”. In the years since, Death went on to release two additional archival records, “Spiritual-Mental-Physical”, and “Death III”. And, they also released a documentary, “A Band Called Death”, that details the history of the band. But, most importantly, Death finally hit the road to play for audiences of grateful fans at home in the States and around the world. Yet, there was always the question, “will there be a new album someday?”
Now, the answer to that question is a resounding yes.
Their yet-to-be released record, N.E.W., features the current lineup of Death – Bobby Hackney, Dannis Hackney, and Bobbie Duncan. The men came together to complete several songs written back in the late 1970s by Bobby and David, and they also composed a batch of new songs that continue the timeless vibe, feel and resolve that Death fans have come to love. “N.E.W presemts a collection of songs that are true to the historic Death tradition of straight ahead rock ‘n’ roll via Detroit of the ‘70s,” according to a press release.
Once again, N.E.W. is out on April 21st, and you can listen to the first single, “Look At Your Life”, below. If you like what you hear, click here to preorder the album. And, a quick heads up for any Death fans in or near Burlington, VT – Death will be playing in Burlington on February 13th at Flynn MainStage.
N.E.W. (2015) Tracklisting:
01. At the Station
03. Look At Your Life
07. Story of the World
08. The Times
09. Who Am I
10. You Are What You