Death (MI)
...For the Whole World to See


4.0
excellent

Review

by Nick Butler EMERITUS
October 21st, 2009 | 74 replies | 18,181 views


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Recorded in 1974, but released in 2009, it might have been a classic.

So it turns out Bad Brains weren't the first truly great black rock band after all.

Originally recorded in 1974, Death's ...For the Whole World to See is only seeing the light of day now, in 2009, thanks to Drag City. The question that immediately needs asking is why it didn't see release at the time - and I'm not so sure the answer is as obvious as racism. After all, the recording quality's pretty good, so it's not like they didn't have any money or backing at all. What's more likely is poor timing. Death missed out on being part of the frenzied peak of garage rock by three or four years, while they were three or four years too early for the punk explosion, too - move this album either forward or back and it'd probably have been a widely acclaimed cult favourite, because it slots perfectly into both time periods, bridging a gap between them. Indeed, I'd say that the Buzzcocks were a bigger influence on this than The Stooges, were it not for the fact that this was recorded four years earlier.

Like Bad Brains, Death also have a line in drawing black music into their sound, although they turn to soul and electric blues rather than reggae, and they're a lot more seamless with it. "Let the World Turn" is the most obvious example, since it starts in completely non-punk territory before launching into an untidy chorus, but throughout it's reminiscent of the soul-fueled Detroit garage rock revivalists of the past decade, The Dirtbombs especially. It's probably not so surprising, since The Stooges and MC5 weren't exactly strangers to soul either, but what moves into different territory is the melody. I can't remember hearing a punk album as catchy as this in a long time; The Ramones and Buzzcocks were much acclaimed for their pop nous but neither made anything as consistently memorable as this. Despite their depth and political outlook, these songs are so immediate that they could have slotted seamlessly alongside acts like Bad Religion and Millencolin on any of the Tony Hawk's Pro Skater soundtracks.

The obvious cynical response to this is to say that nobody would care about this album if it had been released at the time; that context, rather than any musical quality, makes it special. That argument falls down you consider that ....For the Whole World to See takes everything that anybody could possibly want from a punk album, and brings it all to the table. This is just a breathless, endlessly entertaining rock album that seems incapable of having a flaw.



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user ratings (82)
Chart.
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Yazz_Flute
October 21st 2009



18764 Comments


This was recored in 1974 but never released until this year? That's remarkable in itself. I'm interested in this.

Digging: Cormorant - Dwellings

klap
Staff Reviewer
October 21st 2009



10257 Comments


nick butler the new davey boy....retro-style

Digging: The Bilinda Butchers - Heaven

CompanionCube
October 21st 2009



977 Comments


might get this just because of the cover and the fact it hasnt been realesed until now

JacobsLadder
October 21st 2009



554 Comments


This looks really interesting.

Fort23
October 21st 2009



2474 Comments


saw this on pitchfork and is more interested.

joshuatree
Emeritus
October 21st 2009



3743 Comments


album's good

Tyler
Emeritus
October 21st 2009



7928 Comments


yea

Satellite
October 21st 2009



20678 Comments


I remember reading about this a while back. Definitely something I need to hear.

Digging: Dikembe - Mediumship

Gnomekraft
October 21st 2009



25 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Soulful punk. Great stuff.

Turtlelephant
October 21st 2009



168 Comments


this shit is the bomb. i downloaded this like 4 months ago.

illmitch
October 22nd 2009



5429 Comments


sounds verrrry interesting, i'll have to get this.

meta| |mp
October 22nd 2009



22 Comments


D: any links to a stream?

Spenray205
October 22nd 2009



20 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

http://www.dragcity.com/products/for-the-whole-world-to-see

A couple of snippets here, as well as info for buying the album.

RoshanC
October 22nd 2009



219 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Keep On Knocking is just one of those perfect songs. this album is great

halloway
October 22nd 2009



684 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i was gonna do a review of this, but i didn't know if i could ever separate it from the death-metal "death." now i know where to put it :-)

fucking great album though.

bears
October 22nd 2009



106 Comments


i am really intrigued. soulful punk... like waht is that? I cant relate.

Im living in china so i dont really get to the cd store.

AggravatedYeti
October 22nd 2009



7684 Comments


ya this album is great, nice it's finally picking up release

SailAway
October 22nd 2009



20 Comments


This sounds awesome, must go and get.

Iai
Emeritus
October 22nd 2009



3553 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

You should all rate this rather than just comment. It'd be good to see it in the yearly chart.

erasedcitizen
October 22nd 2009



716 Comments


I heard the first three tracks, they all kick ass.



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