Countess (band)

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Countess
Origin Leiden, Netherlands
Genres Black metal
Years active 1992–present
Labels Barbarian Wrath
Website Official Website
Members Orlok, Zagan, Wolfram, Herjann
Past members Warhead, Othalaz, Vercingetorix, Zénon, Imogem

Countess is a black metal band from the Netherlands], formed in 1992. They have released more then a dozen full-length CDs, and are considered one of the most eminent Dutch black metal bands. After years of being a solo project as of 2014 they are a band again and play live.

Biography[edit]

Extract from official website:[1]

Countess was formed in 1992 by Vercingetorix (keyboards, backing vocals) and Zénon (vocals, guitar, bass, drums, keyboards), both big fans of Bathory. A first demo, Permafrost, was recorded in the same year, after which Orlok joined (formerly of Death Camp, Fleshlord, Fallen Temple, Forgotten), though the band would fall apart soon after recording The Gospel of the Horned One with the band. The demo was recorded at the winter solstice in a barn, with Orlok on vocals and bass, Zénon on guitar, and Vercingetorix on drums and keyboards. The recordings were released in 1993 on Thurisaz Productions, a label started by Orlok. The CD was reviewed in Terrorizer No. 11, which commented on the primitive sound of the music: "This sounds like it could have been recorded back in the mists of 1983, so primitive and primal is its feel."[2]

In the band's early years, there were constant line-up changes. Nevertheless, the band played its first gig in December 1993 at the 'Black Christmas' festival. Several more gigs were done the next year. Also in 1994, the band's sophomore full-length 'The Return Of The Horned One' was unleashed upon mankind. In spite of its crude and raw approach - or perhaps because of it - this record remains a fan favourite until this day and several songs from the album are still live staples: the crushing 'Aleidis', the bombastic 'Fire & Blood' and especially the stunningly epic 'Bloed In De Sneeuw' (generally acknowledged as the first-ever Black Metal song with lyrics in Dutch"[3]) are definite classics.

In March 1995, a new line-up got together that would remain stable for a few years, consisting of Orlok on vocals and bass (who had been the one constant member of Countess since the first album), Zagan on guitars and Warhead on drums. This line-up did a short and successful German tour in May '95, co-headlining with Italian legend Mortuary Drape.

After two more albums were released in 1995 en 1996 that were more or less recorded by Orlok on his own ('Ad Maiorem Sathanae Gloriam' and 'The Book Of The Heretic') the band finally released a recording by the current line-up in June 1997, shortly after a short Dutch/German tour with Barathrum and Sabbat from Japan. Though this release, a CD EP entitled 'Hell's Rock & Roll', contained only four tracks, it was hailed by fans as a great record and it has become a definite classic over the years.

However, at the time, because they were completely fed up with the scene, the fact almost no new material was written and the lack of opportunities to play live led the band members to a unanimous decision to quit in November '97.

For about a year Countess was no more until at the end of 1998 Orlok resurrected the band, from that point on mainly as a solo project. On several occasions former members made contributions though: Zagan for example played guitars on the 'Revenge Of The Horned One' albums.

Thus, Countess continued to release albums over the next fifteen years. All these records were released through the Bavarian label Barbarian Wrath. Although through the years the music of Countess remained firmly rooted in first wave Black Metal, influences from traditional heavy metal gradually increased in the band's sound. These influences had already been present on the early records, but became more prominent over time to the point where Countess' 2011 album 'On Wings Of Defiance' could be characterized as a full Heavy/Black Metal hybrid.

In February 2013, Zagan rejoined Countess and in June 2013 the band released a new digital EP, 'Sermons Of The Infidel', featuring six killer new renditions of various classics from the past as well as two previously unreleased songs. In April 2014, Countess released the long-awaited new full-length album, entitled 'Ancient Lies And Battle Cries'. The result of almost three years of writing and recording, features ten tracks of uncompromising metal, blending first wave Black Metal and traditional Heavy Metal in a way only Countess can.

Shortly before the release of the new record, in March 2014, Orlok and Zagan were joined by Wolfram (drums) and Herjann (keyboards) since the band needed a full line-up to be able to play live again. In May 2014 Countess took to the stage again for the first time in more than sixteen years, including successful shows at the 'Veneration Of The Dead' festival in Rotterdam, 'Under The Black Sun' in Berlin and 'Metal Magic' in Denmark. Currently, the band is rehearsing for more upcoming shows as well as working on new material. After 22 years, Countess is still going strong.

Discography[edit]

List of releases according to official website:[4]

  • 1992: Permafrost Demo
  • 1993: The Gospel of the Horned One CD
  • 1994: The Wolves Awake Demo
  • 1994: Doomed to Live Livetape
  • 1994: The Return of the Horned One CD
  • 1995: The Wrath of Satan's Whore Cassette EP
  • 1995: Ad Maiorem Sathanae Gloriam CD
  • 1996: Live in Berlin Livetape
  • 1996: The Book of the Heretic CD
  • 1997: Hell's Rock & Roll MCD
  • 2000: The Shining Swords of Hate CD
  • 2001: The Revenge of the Horned One Part I CD
  • 2002: The Revenge of the Horned One Part II CD
  • 2003: Orgasmatron Split 7"
  • 2004: Heilig Vuur CD
  • 2005: Spawn of Steel CD[5]
  • 2006: Holocaust of the God Believers CD
  • 2007: Blazing Flames of War CD
  • 2010: Burning Scripture CD
  • 2011: On Wings of Defiance CD
  • 2013: Sermons of the Infidel Digital album
  • 2014: Ancient Lies And Battle Cries CD
  • 2014: Sermons of the Infidel CD

References[edit]

  • "Countess."

External links[edit]