This Ep is as good as Death Sentence were short-lived. Basically, and I say this in a non-hyperbolic fashion for once, "Death and pure distruction" is one of the very best record of the UK82 genre.
Now that I have everyone's attention, let's dissect this unsung English punk-rock wonder. Death Sentence could be assumed to be from the North of England, where aubergines are not to be taken for granted (or so I have heard). More seriously, I initially thought they were from the Leeds area since this Ep was recorded in a Leeds studio. Besides, "Death and pure distruction" was released by a label called "Beat the system!!" whose field of expertise was punk-rock from Northern England (The Fits, Antisocial, Uproar, One Way System) and Scotland (External Menace, Chaotic Youth), and in fact, there is one compilation Lp creatively entitled "Total anarchy" that includes all the aforementioned bands. But I was all wrong, since Death Sentence were from Northampton. Oh well, there's still "North" in the town's name...
But back to Death Sentence. This Ep is their sole vinyl appearance and it was released in 1982. As you can see from the cover and backcover, the band had little graphic skills. Like countless other English punk-rock bands of the 80's, you have a picture of the boys in a working-class environment, not posing before a brick wall this time but right in the middle of a construction site. Funnily enough, the two on the left of the cover stare epically on their right side while the two on the right just smile at the camera. Ahhhhh... the golden days of youth. On the backcover you have a lot of pictures of the lads rocking out during the recording session. To be fair, you can't really discern that well their faces at times because they are small black and white pictures with black writing on it. But regardless, this record looks so amateurishly punk that before you even listen to it you know you will be in for a proper slice of vintage punk-rock. And when you have actually played it, you realize that proper punk-rock is an understatement: this Ep absolutely rules.
Death Sentence was certainly a band of its time as the looks of the boys suggest with their boots, studded jackets and spiky hair. The four songs on this Ep epitomize everything I love about that genre. It is fast and basic, it is sloppy, it is snottier than a six-year old on a rainy day, it is pissed, spontaneous and distorted. The shouted vocals are really at the front of the music and have this juvenile feel with a distinct English accent. The drummer must have been heavily into Chaos UK's "Burning Britain" and Disorder's "Complete disorder" as you can spot the particular drum rolls so cherished by the Bristolians (and keep in mind that this was only 1982). The guitar is effortlessly distorted, the bass sound is buzzing, and while the band's influences are pretty obvious, this is done in such a fresh, direct manner that it can't really fail.
Contrary to a lot of modern bands, Death Sentence appeared to be utterly unselfconscious just like you can be when you are a spotty teenager with only a bleak future ahead of you. The pattern of the Ep's first song, poetically entitled "Death and pure distruction", is strongly reminiscent of early Discharge and Varukers and definitely points at the direction many raw hardcore-punk bands would take. The other three songs are pure UK82 jewels bringing Instant Agony, the fastest Abrasive Wheels numbers, Subhumans, Partisans, Ultra-Violent, Uproar or Mau Maus (minus the vocals) to mind, but I would argue that they are even better which is no small feat. There are some catchy singalongs on the chorus too, which make all the songs almost too good to be true. The lyrics are not included for some reason, but, from their names, one can venture that they deal about war, destruction, the army and having no future.
The band was one of the few multi-racial punk bands of the UK82 wave as there were two black kids in the band. Not only that, but these two boys were also twin brothers.
Now let's have a really geeky moment. If you look closely at the Ep's name it is "pure distruction" and not "pure destruction" (even Discogs wrote it "destruction"). This is clearly a nod to Discharge (the band thanks them as well as all the "hard core punks") and probably the very first "dis" joke in punk history. No wonder Kawakami from Disclose quoted Death Sentence as an influence. Finally, one may suppose that the band Victims of War, half the members of which would give birth to Extreme Noise Terror (the other half being Raw Noise), took their name from Death Sentence's song "Victims of war". I know no one gives a fuck. I'll be off then.