Glory Bells! Like many heavy metal fans and collectors, I am fascinated with the heavy metal music that came from Sweden in the ’80s. Maybe it is because the influences of the usual suspects (Priest, Maiden, Sabbath, etc… ) failed to fully penetrate the snowy outposts of Northern Europe in the ’80s, but records from bands such as Heavy Load, 220 Volt, and Glory Bells possess a certain aura that make them standout from the pile. An air of mystery also surrounds bands such as Glory Bells, of which little information is known, even in the age of the internet. This lack of back story only enhances the collectability of these Nordic treasures. Let’s take a closer look at one from the vault, Glory Bell’s sophomore release, Century Rendezvous…
Century Rendezvous was originally released (on vinyl) in 1984 by Sound Of Scandinavia (SOS) records (SOSLP 119).
Also in 1984, the Japanese label, King Records, released Century Rendezvous on LP (K25P-486). King Records released a CD version in ’96 (KICP-2624).
The German label, Bellaphon Records, released Century Rendezvous on vinyl in 1984 (260-07-071).
In 1985, Thunderbolt Records (U.K.) released a vinyl version (THBL023).
I was unable to find any information on cassette releases of Century Rendezvous. I’m guessing that none exist.
There is a well-circulated ‘2 in 1’ CD that contains Century Rendezvous and Dressed In Black (the 1982 Glory Bell’s ‘Band’ debut album). This is a bootleg, although it is made to look like an SOS release. SOS went bankrupt in the mid-eighties.
Gallery (click to enlarge):
- There is an official website called glorybellsband.com that contains some decent info on the band and the Century Rendezvous album, but not nearly enough to satisfy my curiosities.
- Lead singer Glory North (real name: Goran Nord) passed away in 2008. The official website gives no details other than it was due to a “long time of sickness”.
- The front cover of Century Rendezvous is based on the lyrics to the track Big Thunder.
- Century Rendezvous was the second album by Glory Bells. For their first album, 1982’s Dressed In Black, the band’s name was Glory Bell’s Band.
- In the autobiographical ballad My Life, singer Glory North sings about the influence that the music of Richard Penniman had on him at a young age (inspiring him to become a musician in his own right). Richard Penniman is better known as the legendary ‘Little Richard’.
My Worthless Opinion: Lead singer, Glory North, has got to be one of the more unique vocalists I have ever heard. His vocals run roughshod over the proceedings, rarely staying at home or within the ‘pocket’. His thick accent, butchered diction, and unrestrained wails border on absurd at times. But a more genuine vocalist may not be found. This endearing quality is no more evident than on the ballad My Life. The words that come to mind when I hear this autobiographical, soul-destroying vocal performance include ‘ridiculous’, ‘weird’, and ‘insane’, but also ‘gut-wrenching’, ‘inspired’ and ‘amazing’. Most of those adjectives don’t really go together, but listen to My Life (make sure you have the lyrics in front of you, I included them in the gallery), and maybe you’ll agree with my assessment. Now, you may laugh at first, but the human element is undeniable. And shit, if you don’t get goose bumps when the drums kick in and North wails “ten years flew away…” you might want to check your pulse! It’s magic, man. That’s all heart right there. (And that sax solo by Eric Hausler is really nice!) Glory North… man, this guy was one magnificent bastard. May he rest in peace (… in a bath of champagne… ). My score: B+