DEATH – N.E.W.

Album: N.E.W.

Artist: Death

Label: Drag City

Release Date: April 21, 2015

Death

dragcity.com

BY MICHAEL TOLAND

We’ve been wondering for years if Detroit’s resurrected power trio Death (not to be confused with Florida’s eponymous pioneering death metal band) would ever release new music, instead of relying on the archival recordings that make up its previous three records. Lo and behold, the band has done exactly that: N.E.W. is indeed brand new, the band’s first recording with guitarist Bobbie Duncan replacing the late David Hackney. And it’s…OK.

“Resurrection,” “Look at Your Life” and the catchy “Who Am I” keep the Death flag a-wave, hewing to the band’s already established formula of soulful vocals atop faithfully executed Detroit rock & roll. As one of the first wave of Motor City madmen post-MC5/Stooges, after, Death does this style with unforced authenticity, and that’s nothing to sneeze at. Yet there’s something missing here, a lack that keeps N.E.W. from truly reaching its potential. There’s little urgency to the tracks – the need to prove itself that made belated debut …For the Whole World to See so exciting feels absent. Having basked in the almost universal acclaim that greeted the archival albums and the recent documentary A Band Called Death, perhaps the group has less fire in the belly to make truly incendiary rock & roll. N.E.W. feels more like a victory lap than a new beginning. Nothing inherently wrong with that, and every track is here is at least solid, but it’s best to put expectations of revelation out of your mind before hitting the “play” button.

DOWNLOAD: “Who Am I,” “Resurrection,” “Look at Your Life”

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