Death Was a Punk Trio Ahead of Its Time

For All the World to See (Drag City) is proto-punk. For All the World to See is awesome.

Death was a punk band ahead of its time.

Death was a punk band ahead of its time.

Death was a punk band ahead of its time.

Death was a punk band ahead of its time.

So here’s the backstory: Death, a trio of brothers from Detroit, recorded a demo for Arista Records’ Clive Davis in 1974. Unfortunately, Arista wouldn’t sign the band because they refused to change their name. How this gem has since languished in obscurity for so long is a mystery to me. Death delivered a proto-punk sound at a time when “punk” meant the Nuggets compilation. The band was obviously well-schooled in the version of rock purveyed by the Stooges and MC5, making occasional forays into trippy-dippy quasi-psychedelia that recalls Hendrix and Rare Earth. For All the World to See is Death’s seven-song legacy, a collection that’s not really on par with Raw Power or Back in the USA but still serves as an interesting footnote that rocks hard. The following equation is perhaps reductive and obvious, but I’ll make it anyway: Death is to pre-punk punk what the Bad Brains are to hardcore. This is awesome.

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