Uglier than Alice Cooper: Five forgotten shock rock bands from the 1970s
3. Zior / Monument
Like Bitter Blood, Zior’s notorious stage show went undocumented, and exists now only as wispy memories for the few brave souls who witnessed it. There is talk of black masses and mass hypnosis, of blood sacrifice, dark ritual and eerie incantations. Certainly, the band – ex-R&B stompers from Southend-on-Sea – never denied a serious and heavy interest in the occult, and there is clearly a demonic haze clinging to their slim but eventful discography.
Their self-titled debut was released in 1971, complete with a suitably creepy, blood-red cover care of Keef, the artist also responsible for the first Black Sabbath album sleeve. The songs are not as heavy as Sabbath, but they’re just as sinister, and the serpentine groove of songs like Za Za Za Zilda are positively narcotic.
Also in ’71, they released another album under the alternate moniker of Monument. The First Monument is a collection of acid-belching pychedelia reportedly recorded in one drunken all-night session. It sounds like one long, groovy Satanic mass, which it probably was.
Despite the devil-borne headwinds Zior rode in ’70-’71, the band dissolved a year later. It was not the forces of good or evil that did ‘em in, however. Rather, it was the usual banalities of 70s rock: music-biz tomfoolery causing acrimony, then bankruptcy.