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Not quite a Pentagram "side project", BEDEMON existed from the years 1973 to 1979 and shared a few members of Pentagram within its ranks. It was mostly Randy Palmer's trip (he was the main songwriter for the group). He later joined Pentagram as a second guitarist for about a year, but even after leaving Pentagram, he still recorded with the various other members as Bedemon.
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BEDEMON Symphony of Shadows album cover 5.00 | 1 ratings
Symphony of Shadows
Doom Metal 2012

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BEDEMON Child of Darkness: From the Original Master Tapes album cover 3.75 | 2 ratings
Child of Darkness: From the Original Master Tapes
Doom Metal 2005

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BEDEMON Child of Darkness: From the Original Master Tapes

Boxset / Compilation · 2005 · Doom Metal
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After Black Sabbath became famous, this heavier style of rock should have become more popular. In fact, several bands around the world picked up on the sound, including Iron Claw in Scotland, Pax in Peru, Bang in the U.S. and many others. Strangely though, most of these bands either lightened up their sound or became more progressive, or they split. It's almost as if the original child that was doom metal was doomed from the start to a short life.

But in Virginia there were a few young men who had been smitten by heavy riff rock, first by the thunderous debut by Blue Cheer and later by Sabbath. Bobby Liebling led Pentagram, the most successful of these bands, successful meaning that they actually cut a couple of singles and got some quality demos recorded plus had an 80-song repertoire of original material. His friend, Randy Palmer was also interested in dark, heavy music but was not so much interested in starting up a band. Instead, he asked Liebling and some of the members of Pentagram to record his songs in his home.

Recording sessions took place in 1973, 1974, and later again in 1979. Home recording equipment was used and everything was recorded live. Palmer, the song writer, chose to play the rhythm guitar and left the vocals up to Liebling and the lead guitar to Mike Matthews. The songs sound very similar to those of 1970's Pentagram because of the slow and heavy riff rock / doom metal approach and the fact that Liebling is the vocalist. Yet the two bands sound more like brothers and not twins. Actually, Bedemon was never meant to be an proper band. They never toured or performed. It was always Palmer's project. An interesting note about the name: Palmer was considering naming the band project Beelzebub or Demon and when pressed he couldn't decide. Finally someone just suggested that he call the band Bedemon and the name stuck.

About these original recordings, some of them were recorded using Liebling's Aiwa tape recorder which had a higher quality sound reproduction, but when tapes were played on non-Aiwa players the tracks didn't sync right. Unfortunately it was these recordings that originally became bootlegged.

Palmer joined Pentagram on rhythm guitar at least twice during the seventies and once again during the eighties but only for short stints of about three months. In the new millennium he discovered that his music had been bootlegged and was being sold as well as Bedemon products, none of which earned him any royalties. He decided to form a real band and record a new album's worth of material. Sadly, he was killed in a motor vehicle accident when the son of a Washington lawyer ran a red light while under the influence. In 2006, Relapse Records released the Bedemon 70's material, attempting to fix up the sync problems. In 2015, the album was released again with a 32-page booklet telling the history of Randy Palmer and Bedemon.

The music here is pretty raw and lo-fi. If sound quality is important to you than you'll likely have a hard time with this. However, aside from that, I personally feel there is some wonderful heavy stuff going on here. The riffs, the drums, Liebling's vocals, the thundering bass, cymbal crashes - everything comes together. Who knows what a proper studio recording might have turned out but I find the lo-fi sound is not objectionable and captures the spirit of the music very well.

You will not find any acoustic numbers or piano ballads mixed in. Each track is heavy with one or two going slower and without the guitar distortion at first. Despite that, the early doom metal atmosphere never lets up. There are some spine-shivering moments, but I find the first half of the album more interesting probably because there is little variation in the style so I get lulled into the atmosphere of the album. I will say that in particular the last two tracks, "Nighttime Killers" and "Axe to Grind", feature some more melodic guitar that is closer to NWoBHM, no coincidence I suspect as they were recorded in 1979. Also, Palmer finally agrees to play some lead guitar on these two tracks so it is his style that also likely stands out.

I was really glad to get notification of this album's 2015 release and pre-ordered it. After hearing Bedemon on YouTube I really wanted to get the CD, but the 2006 reissue was expensive. The sound is as good as it is likely to get and even though it still sounds like what my friend and I used to record in his bedroom back in the eighties, the music is worth hearing.

BEDEMON Symphony of Shadows

Album · 2012 · Doom Metal
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Time Signature
Lord of desolation...

Genre: old school doom metal

A very long time in the making, but definitely worth the wait, Bedemon's first real studio album is a tour de force in authentic old school doom metal. I mean forget sludge metal. Forget stoner metal. This is the shit!

Right from the massive opener 'Saviour' - a dark and doom-laden heavy track with an epic touch -, the listener is treated to heavy riff upon heavy riff, as every song has the groove and thumping heaviness of original doom metal. Blending heavy rock and doom metal and adding a touch of creepy psychedelia, Bedemon's "Symphony of Shadows" rivals the brilliance of the likes of Trouble, Pentagram, Witchfinder General and the mighty Black Sabbath themselves.

'Saviour' is the best track on the album, for my money, but closely followed by the riff-laden doomfests that are 'Eternally Unhuman' and 'Hopeless' as well as 'Godless'. Even the uptempo rockers 'Kill You Now' and 'D.E.D.' are strangely dark and heavy, while 'The Plague' is a perfectly desolate ballad that features some of the most classic doom metal riffage ever to grace the barren surface of this lost Earth.

The production has an authentic 70s rock feel to it and is characterized by fat fuzzy guitars and a central bass, that has the same bottom-rich sound as Geezer butler's bass, but with more of an edge because Bedemon's Mike Matthews uses a pick.

The listener is treated to a heavy bass, heavy and bluesy guitar solos and rock steady drumbeats on "Symphony of Shadows" which is a very likely candidate for doom metal album of the year. It's one of those "Fuck yeah"-albums!

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