The 4th Movement
Punk | Gospel
4th Movement Celebrated Gospel-Punk Life (After Death)
By Piotr Orlov
June 14, 2018
The story of Death is now accepted historical lore: They were mid-1970s Detroit punk pioneers, ignored at the time but whose reissued recordings (2009) led to a critically beloved documentary and a reunion (that saw them play AFROPUNK in 2013). But the music that brothers David, Bobby and Dannis Hackney made after leaving the Motor City for the Vermont woods, is only now coming into a wider perspective.
As “Revelation’s Eve,” the opening track of their debut album as The 4th Movement, shows, the Hackneys may have continued to rock as hard as ever, but now their musical devotion took on a different focus. The 4th Movement played power chords for the Lord, with all of their songs taking on a spiritual concern. So, if Death was the unofficial birth of punk rock (predating Bad Brains, The Ramones, etc.), The 4th Movement was the first hymnal sound of gospel-punk. (Check out, “Death Into Life,” the short doc that Matt Yoka made about the group’s evolution, below.)
The Hackney brothers recorded two 4th Movement albums in Burlington, which, just like the early Death singles, they self-released on their own Tryangle label — these became super-expensive collectors items in the nerd-vinyl world. Now, the good people at Drag City Records are bringing that music back into general circulation, starting with the reissue of the 4th Movement’s self-titled LP from 1980. If you care about the roots of this AFROPUNK thing, and are looking for real-life inspiration, this music is worth your time.