The 1970s was a decade with rock music that was particularly carried through bands such as Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, and Deep Purple. It was also the decade where the world had to say goodbye to The Beatles and Jimi Hendrix, but the previously mentioned three bands were still prevailing since they were rather new. Sometimes this era of rock music is often considered dad rock because it is literally the kind of music your dad would be found listening to in the garage or in the car very loudly when he comes to pick you up from school. However, this list is an arrangement of heavy rock bands from the 70s that even your dad might not even know about. There is nothing in any kind of order and some of these bands are so obscure that they never really got to see the light of fame.
I know I said that this list isn’t in any particular order, but I feel it would be a crime to not
reserve the first spot to my favorite group on this list, Pentagram. This band is from Arlington,
Virginia and is composed of Bobby Liebling on lead vocals, Geof O’Keefe on drums, Greg
Mayne on bass, and then Vincent McAllister on lead guitar. The group was formed around 1971
when Bobby Liebling and Geof O’Keefe expressed how they wanted more bands like Blue
Cheer and musicians more like Jimi Hendrix, so they decided to make a group of their own.
Pentagram is often cited as helping contribute to the founding of the genre of heavy metal and the subgenre of doom metal along with Black Sabbath, which lands them at a very important
position on this list. Throughout the run of this line up of Pentagram, they recorded numerous
demos in an attempt to land a record deal which ultimately was not to be with most labels
claiming that their music was not radio friendly enough. Topics in the lyrics often talked about
the devil which was an ultimate no no as the United States had experienced a satanic panic just
years prior, starting because of the Manson murders.
The closest they came to fame was when members of Kiss came to listen to them play and when
the producer of famed rock and roll band Blue Oyster Cult, Murray Krugman invited them to
record at Columbia Studios in New York City. Unfortunately the result of these events did not
result in any good for the band as Kiss became disinterested in them and Murray Krugman
became frustrated with working with the band after he and Bobby Liebling would not stop butting heads over creative differences. The group would split up by 1976 and Bobby Liebling would not present a new lineup with the band until 1978. Presently a modern version of the band still with Bobby on vocals is still touring and will play at The Regent in Los Angeles on May 20th.
Zior hails from Southend-on-Sea in England and formed in 1970. Unlike Pentagram, this group
was able to release albums in the 70s but they were not commercially successful. They
performed on stage with freaky costumes and props and would invite audience members onstage
to sacrifice to the devil only to be saved just in time by the god Zior. They recorded two albums
in the 70s, a self titled one in 1971(the cover art done by the same person who did the cover art
for much of Black Sabbath’s covers in the 70s) and Every Inch a Man in 1973. They also
released another album in 1971 under the name of Monument called The First Monument. There
were issues over who was able to release Every Inch a Man and The First Monument as certain
members of the group claimed that these records were released without their consent.
For me personally, I knew Zior was going to be a very heavy band as soon as I heard the ungodly
shrieking and along with the babbling and impossible to make out lyrics on the first track of
Every Inch a Man, the song called Entrance of the Devil. It has scared the absolute heck out of
me on a few occasions, usually only happening when it’s on some mixed playlist.
3. Les Rallizes Denudes
Les Rallizes Denudes is an experimental rock band from Japan that probably has one of the most
intense stories I have ever heard about any rock band. They were formed in 1967 and almost
always refused to record in the studio because they did not get the same loud sound that they got
live on stage because they played so ridiculously loud. Every single performance of their songs were always so different than the last that they pretty much became different songs every single
Now some of the members of the group also had ties to the Japan Communist League,
specifically its Red Army Faction. On March 31st, 1970, bassist Moriaki Wakabayashi assisted
the hijacking of Japanese Airlines Flight 351 with the Red Army Faction and brought the
airplane to North Korea where Wakabayashi still resides to this day, this became known as the
Yodogo Hijacking Incident. Because of this, frontman and guitar player Mizutani Takashi started
to lead the band to have their performances become infrequent because of his former relations to
the Red Army Faction. From there, performances of the group happened occasionally and by the
80s, Les Rallizes Denudes did not release any music to purchase. It was not until 1991 when the
band released ‘77 Live, Mitzutani/Les Rallizes Denudes, and ‘67-69 Studio Et Live. The next
official release came out in 2022 and is called The Oz Tapes and was recorded in 1973.
Les Rallizes Denudes’ final gig was in 1996 and the band was hardly ever heard of again until an
official website for the group was launched in 2021 and announced the death of Mizutani Takasi
4. Wicked Lady
There are no known photographs of Wicked Lady, in fact if you were to try to find images of the
group, you would find the guitar player Martin Weaver playing for the group Dark and vintage
images of women I do not feel comfortable putting onto this blog post. But the band played off
and on from 1969 to 1972 and only recorded two albums worth of low quality sounding
rehearsals. They have two whole records of these recordings that were first brought into the
public in the 90s and then were not released officially until 2012.
Famous British disk jockey John Peel had once come to hear them play at one of their shows and
wanted to sign them onto his record label Dandelion Records, but when he found them they were
all sleeping backstage. Waking them was not a good idea, the nicest way of explaining what they
said to him next was to get lost and that was that. Wicked Lady honestly couldn’t care less about
the fame and fortune of becoming rock and roll stars.
Last but certainly not least is a band formed in 1973, Bedemon, probably the most important
band to me that is on this list. Personally for me this band was responsible for bringing me down
the rabbit hole of insanely heavy rock and doom metal from the 70s. This is another Bobby
Liebling and Geof O’Keefe band, only this time this band belongs to their good
friend/mastermind guitar player and songwriter Randy Palmer. This band never performed live,
and like Wicked Lady there are no pictures of the group. The reason why Bedemon existed was
so that Randy Palmer could record all of his songs that he wrote which were all inspired off of his love for horror movies, and of course, Black Sabbath. Palmer might have been one of the
biggest Sabbath fans in the United States, but of course that is only my opinion. He was
Pentagram’s real first number one fan, that is something that I feel quite sure about and even got
to play rhythm guitar for the group briefly.
But Bedemon is considered to be the first real doom metal band in the United States because no
one was writing doom metal songs consistently like Palmer did in the 70s. Their recordings are
low quality sounding as they were recorded on a reel to reel machine with plastic microphones in
a warehouse owned by Geof O’Keefe’s father. Recordings for Bedemon lasted from 1973 to
1979 and then again sometime in the 80s, only the 70s recordings are available to purchase
More recordings were made in the early 2000s which were released in 2012, but Randy Palmer
did not get to see it. He was killed when a Corvette ran a red light and hit his car while crossing
the intersection in 2002. The recordings from the warehouse in the 70s were released three years
later in 2005 for the first time.