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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Heavy Rotation: Bedemon, Cactus, Buffalo, Sir Lord Baltimore, Zior

I have been listening to a ton of early 70's Stoner/Doom/Heavy Rock as of late and decided what better way to feature it than on this week's edition of Heavy Rotation. Along with the song I will add a bit of commentary as well as a background on the band. Can you dig it?!

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01. Bedemon-"Child of Darkness". This track is my favorite song from this band. One of the earliest doom bands besides Black Sabbath and Pentagram. Dark, heavy and evil as hell!

Bedemon was an offshoot of Pentagram in the early 70s (circa 1973). The name was chosen as a portmanteau of two earlier suggested names, Demon and Behemoth. Prior to joining Pentagram, Randy Palmer and his friend Mike Matthews along with Bobby Liebling and Geof O'Keefe (then current members of Pentagram) got together to record some of Palmer's compositions. The first session resulted in three songs: "Child of Darkness," "Serpent Venom" and "Frozen Fear." After a short time the group got together again and recorded some more tracks. When Palmer officially joined Pentagram he brought two tracks with him, "Starlady," and "Touch the Sky." After Palmer's departure from Pentagram the Bedemon got together in 1979 to record three more songs: "Time Bomb," "Nighttime Killer" and an unnamed composition by O'Keefe. A slightly different line-up (featuring former Pentagram member Greg Mayne on bass) recorded "Night of the Demon" along with some older songs in 1986.

Many songs from the Bedemon sessions were released on various bootlegs throughout the years, but were never officially released until 2005, when Black Widow Records released Child of Darkness.

02. Cactus-"Evil". I actually heard Monster Magnet's cover of this track before I heard Cactus' version which is also a cover of Howlin' Wolf. This is filthy, down and dirty heavy blues. Oh, and did I mention, Evil? For all the firepower in this band, they were sorely underated.

Cactus was initially conceived as early as late 1969 by the Vanilla Fudge rhythm section of bassist Tim Bogert and drummer Carmine Appice with guitarist Jeff Beck and singer Rod Stewart (also from the already dissolved Jeff Beck Group). However, Beck had an automobile accident and was out of the music scene for over a year and Stewart joined Ronnie Wood in Faces.

Early 1970 Appice and Bogert brought in blues guitarist Jim McCarty from Mitch Ryder's Detroit Wheels and The Buddy Miles Express, and singer Rusty Day (born Russell Edward Davidson) from Amboy Dukes.
This line-up managed three albums (Cactus, One Way...Or Another and Restrictions) before intraband troubles led to McCarty quitting at the end of 1971. Shortly afterwards Day was fired from the group. The fourth and last Cactus album ('Ot 'N' Sweaty) featured original rhythm section Bogert and Appice joined by Werner Fritzschings on guitar, Duane Hitchings on keyboards and Peter French (ex-Leaf Hound and Atomic Rooster) on vocals.

03. Buffalo-"Freedom". One of my favorite tracks from this relatively unknown Australian band (at least in the US). I just love the slow driving bass line and the vocals are absolutely phenomenal. Very reminescent of Chris Cornell from Soundgarden. Awesome tune!

Buffalo was an early heavy metal band formed in Sydney, Australia in 1971. The band left a legacy with Australia's heavy metal, pub rock and alternative rock movements. The band had evolved from the Brisbane blues-rock outfit Head, which was originally formed in 1968 by Dave Tice and Peter Wells. A change of lineup and a shift in musical direction saw the new band emerge - the name Buffalo was chosen (according to legend, randomly off a map of Australia) as it was seen a more marketable name than the previous Head, which had been considered to be offensive due to its sexual and drug connotations.

The original lineup was unconventional for a rock band, featuring two lead vocalists (Dave Tice and Alan Milano) and filled out by John Baxter (guitar), Peter Wells (bass) and Paul Balbi (drums). Its best-known lineup (during its most successful years during 1973-1975) saw the exit of Milano, resulting in Tice as the sole vocalist, with Jimmy Economou replacing Paul Balbi on drums. Ex-Band of Light slide guitarist Norm Roue joined Buffalo in late 1974, but at the start of 1975 John Baxter was dismissed from the band - an event seen as the catalyst of Buffalo's decline. Baxter was replaced by Karl Taylor, who recorded on the Mother's Choice album. By 1976, both Roue and Taylor had departed the band and were replaced by Chris Turner and Colin Stead - although Stead's spell with the band was very brief. The final lineup change also occurred in 1976 with Ross Sims replacing Peter Wells.

04. Sir Lord Baltimore-"Kingdom Come". Fuzzed out to the max. Amazing drumming combined with awesome guitar freak-outs with overly dramatic vocals. If you never heard Sir Lord Baltimore, I suggest you do so now.

Sir Lord Baltimore is a pioneering American heavy metal band from Brooklyn, New York, formed in 1968 by lead vocalist/drummer John Garner, guitarist Louis Dambra, and bass player Gary Justin. They are notable for the fact that a 1971 review of their debut record, Kingdom Come, contained the first documented use of the term "heavy metal" to refer to a style of music.[1] Additionally, Sir Lord Baltimore featured a drumming lead singer, traditionally a rarity in rock and metal music. The group have been called "the godfathers of stoner rock."

05. Zior-"Angel of the Highway".  This song starts off with a slow wah-wah riff that cascades into a heavy blues boogie rocker  then transcends into a tribal psych-out. Cool tune!

Zior is a hard rock band with some progressive elements. The band obviously had a huge fascination with the occult and expressed this often in their songs (and mostly in their stage show). The Akarma label LP is the first eponymous album plus and additional nine bonus tracks which were to be on the band’s next(ultimately unreleased) album. Tracks like “Angel of the Highway”, “Your Life Will Burn”, and “Before My Eyes Go Blind” show the band in it’s rare form while the vocalist describes various occult imagery. Another LP single, “Every Inch A Man”, came out in 1973. At times they have a tribal-like rhythm to their sound, very pyschedelic and 70’s. “Zior” is a great lost album of hard rock from this time period. Later era ‘stoner rock’ fans will like this. The same goes for fans of NWOBHM.

The first LP included artwork by the same artist who did Black Sabbath’s first album.


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