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Bedemon: Symphony Of Shadows

Bobby Liebling’s former band get into gear

In a classically tortoise-like slacker doom gambit, Bedemon waited 30 years to record their first album, and then another 10 years to release it. However, unlike closely associated act Pentagram, Bedemon have chosen not to simply re-record their wealth of early 70s demo material (finally officially released in raw form on 2005’s Child Of Darkness compilation), instead writing new tunes that, for the most part, recapture those innocent days of smoke-filled basement jams, lurid horror B-movie theatrics and afro-shaking, blue-collar axe heroism.

New singer Craig Junghandel is firmly capable, if not as distinctive and atmospheric as original vocalist Bobby Liebling, and Randy Palmer’s guitar work is still in evidence, despite him dying in 2002. But the real hero here is founder Geof O’Keefe, on drums, guitar, bass, keyboards and exhaustive liner notes. _ _

Symphony Of Shadows is an effortlessly playable, authentic blend of slithering arcane doom and grooving 70s hard rock, and despite some pedestrian material in the second half, it’s thrilling that these pioneers have finally got their shit together after a lifetime of misfortune and woe.