The Dutch (Black Metal) Renaissance
While innovation is ever-present in Extreme Music, there are only a select few groups that can pair this innovation with homage of the utmost fidelity to their predecessors, achieving a beautiful feat of musical excellence. Countess, one of the first Metal bands to hail from The Netherlands, has been doing just that for over twenty years.
Their most recent effort, the independently-released “Fires of Destiny”, showcases their signature blend of First Wave-style Black Metal and Traditional Heavy Metal in a most epic manner with songs like the monumental title track, the entrancing “See the Ravens Fly”, and the behemoth that is “Runenlied”.
Followers of Heavy/Power Metal pioneers, like Manowar and Manilla Road, as well as early Black Metal outfits, such as Venom, Hellhammer, Celtic Frost, and Bathory, will immediately enjoy the music of Countess. However, what separates Countess from such bands is that they use various elements of each of these groups in order to make their own, unique sound.
This results in a commendably-primitive version of Second Wave Swedish Black Metal which is comparable to groups like the renowned Nifelheim. Moreover, Countess also incorporates ambient, progressive, folk-influenced acoustic interludes at times, reminiscent of Norwegian Black Metal bands Satyricon and Enslaved.
Of course, a band following all of the concepts aforementioned is bound to make formidable music, and the group’s most tenured member, Orlok (vocals, bass), did so by himself for most of the band’s existence, sometimes joined by Zagan (guitars). But, as of 2014, Countess is a full cohesive unit, currently featuring Häxa (keyboards) and Mortüüm (drums), in addition to Orlok and Zagan.
As a consequence of this, Countess is more tuned-in than ever and is now playing live again.
Dates can be found on the band website: https://countessmetal.bandcamp.com/
And although “Fires of Destiny” was released independently, physical copies can be found at the Barbarian Wrath Records Shop here:
The rest of their information is as follows: