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.
Fist Of Satan 666: Before we delve into things can you tell us what you’re currently listening to as you answer these questions?
Deeper Vileness: Camille Saent-Saens and Domenico Scarlatti. Brilliant Composers.
FOS: Let’s start at the beginning. Deeper Vileness came into being around 2012 while you were still in high school. What events or circumstances lead to the creation? Was it a need for personal expression? A reaction to circumstances?
DV: I was studying music at that time and I was also listening to many metal bands which I was discovering such as Venom and Bathory. I had originally wanted to do something along the lines of dark ambient, which is still present in the bands music. The ideas for the project were most definitely personal expression and exploring the darker side of music as a whole.
FOS: Once Deeper Vileness came into being it was a few years until the demo ‘Of Darker Realms’ was released. Can you describe the path from band creation to first release?
DV: The creation began with creating mock demo layouts, and song titles as well as an overall image of the band. I wanted to aim for a very dark and medieval type theme. I originally wanted to do a live trio but after a failed search for members locally I decided to do everything myself with the exemption of occasional session members. It took a while to put the instruments together and I had to borrow much of them. They were all very old ,thus the extremely raw sound on the first demo. My only regret is not recording while I was still at University.
FOS: In other interviews you’ve spoke of how your local scene is nothing more than people “jacking off to deathcore”. Black metal often is an expression of a musician’s emotions, philosophies, and beliefs. These are not generally things associated with a scene. Was a scene even necessary in the band’s formative years or was the lack of support just fuel for the fire?
DV: No a scene was never necessary, I’ve had people message me from Austria and Romania that found the band’s demos at underground shows. My commentary in that interview was very tongue in cheek and was something of an inside joke. I do not care for other people’s projects if they do not interest me.
FOS: As I write this I am listening to the ‘Dark Crypt Necromancy’ demo. Unlike a lot of black metal which often blends into the background your music constantly claws at the listener. Forcing itself to the forefront.
An unleashing of raw emotion seems to take precedence over more traditional song structure. Is this a conscious act on your part when writing music?
DV: It was indeed a conscious act for this release. I only compose while alone and often at night. The theme for the demo had to do with necromancy which is a very chaotic form of magick. Thus the sound was created to be chaotic.
FOS: Black metal, raw black metal especially, can be incredibly personal to the creator. Often the creators shroud themselves in an enigma with pseudonyms and mystery, creating a separation between the art and the person.
It seems you haven’t taken the traditional path and are more directly connected with music. Is there a place where Deeper Vileness ends and Kadesh begins? Or are Deeper Vileness and Kadesh one in the same?
DV: What others try to create an image of I already am. Some would try to present themselves in a certain way, I make my fantasies reality. I have no need to pretend.
FOS: On all your releases you go from ambient keyboards straight into raw black metal noise and then back again. It’s a constant shifting of gears from lulling the listener with a medieval dungeon like atmosphere to an unleashing of raw emotion.
Why do these styles work together for you? Why not make an entire dungeonsyth album and a separate raw black metal album?
DV: There will be less ambient and keyboard tracks on the next releases. There will be more of layers and breaks of keyboards in the song structure. As for making separate albums I would never call myself dungeon synth , I was making keyboard tracks before I even knew what that genre was.
FOS: You cite GG Allin as a big influence. GG was known for his confrontational and over the top personality more than he was known for his music. Is that something you strive for with Deeper Vileness? Have such actions affected how the people around you think of you?
DV: GG allin was never an influence to me. Artists that influence me change my perspective of music. But whether certain black metal bands existed or not I would still be making dark music. I’d define myself as an intellectual who spends time reading philosophy and composing orchestral works. My personality is over the top in many ways but none of which I consider negative. More so …eccentric. I wear all black and drink wine while listening to classical music. And often roam about the night through ruins and forests.
FOS: Where do you see Deeper Vileness going in the future? Do you have more plans for the journey rather than the destination?
DV: Well I definitely see the band gathering a following and releasing more intricate pieces of music. I have many plans, a destination is comfort and comfort breeds loss of ambition.
FOS: What else influences you to create? Do you have other creative outlets besides Deeper Vileness?
DV: It is pure artistic passion that befalls me. Once I have an idea I become obsessed with working on it.
I have many creative outlets. I’m working on literature, orchestral music, ambient music, art, and film at the moment. I hope to see much of it reach the public soon.
FOS: Final words are yours!
DV: It would please me to have any fans of the band look into my many other projects. There are related links on all my online pages. Come and hear all proper! Hear angel trumpets and devil trombones… you…are ..Invited!
Hails and thanks to Deeper Vileness for this interview. Their demos are on constant rotation so I enjoyed delving deeper into the Deeper Vileness mythos.
Fist Of Satan: In preparation for this interview I scoured the internet for clues as to who or what SELBST is and I came up with very little. Can you talk a bit about what lead to formation of SELBST?
SELBST: Well, SELBST started somewhere between 2009 – 2010 as a full band, but it became a recording project in 2010, when I started to recording the first demo “Veritas Filia Temporis”. It was formed by “Frozen” on vocals and me, “N” on guitars, bass and lyrics.
Recently Frozen quit the band, so now I’m finishing the first full length recordings with a new vocalist and I have some new plans…
FOS: 2011 saw the release of the two track demo ‘Veritas Filia Temporis’ (Which translates to “Truth, Daughter of Time” if I am not mistaken). Were the songs something that were inside you and creating SELBST was the only way to expose them to the world? Or did the formation of SELBST come first?
S: I think I start Selbst with those two songs…That was the change, the moment when I realize that It won’t work as a full band, when it becomes more personal…
FOS: It’s often said that art is never finished but is just abandoned. Since it’s beginning SELBST has not released very many songs. Are there reasons for such a limited musical output? Or are the vaults full of unreleased tracks?
S: This has been for many reasons, since I finished the demo in 2010 I started working in the full length, but it was postponing until I finally had the willingness (and conditions) to work on it at once I left my native country, Venezuela. Now I am in the final stage of recordings (only waiting for vocals) and It’s now announced the release of the first full length album to May 2017!
I think the best is what happens finally…
FOS: How do you create your music? Do start with lyrics? Or do riffs come first?
S: I think in general I am messy, I have no methodology to compose, I prefer let things flow…So sometimes lyrics came first, and sometimes the riffs, or whatever… I am more orderly and determined at the time of recording.
FOS: Regarding the actual recording, can you talk about your instruments and the recording process? There are a lot of aspiring musicians and gear-heads who would love to know.
S: Well, I work with a really simple gear, my laptop and a very simple audio interface. Nothing special to be mentioned…
FOS: What influences your art? Are you influenced by external forces such as the violence and corruption in your home country? Or do your influences mainly come from internal places?
S: At first I was more influenced by the shit that we lives in my country, I think that affected me as an individual. Right now I can look more inside me, I have less shit distracting me or something, so I can digging in my personal miseries and that was reflected in the EP and it will also be reflected in the full length…
FOS: It’s been over six years since SELBST began. Does it occupy the same role in your life as it did at the beginning?
S: It has always been a priority for me, but I think it takes a lot more of my time now. At the end one should devote himself to mundane things, but I have this always on my mind. Suffocating me somehow…
FOS: What is it like being a black metal band in Venezuela? Are you part of a scene or do you tend to keep to yourself?
S: Over time, I began to be present in the “scene”, but in a discreet way. I follow certain bands, I acquire their material and have contact with some members of whom are, in my opinion, remarkables. But I think I’m not too involved in this little shitty world…
FOS: What are the bands’ aspirations. Where would you like to be in the next couple of years?
S: I have no idea, maybe dead…
FOS: Artists are often not limited to mediums. Do you express yourself in ways other than black metal? Painting? Poetry? Etc.
S: Not for the moment.
FOS: What music have you been listening to lately? What books are you reading?
S: I’ve been listening to little black metal and metal in general because of the recordings and composition of the album, so I prefer to not contaminate me too much. So I’ve been listening to something from King Crimson, Peter Gabriel, In Solitude, Subrosa, and the last Secrets of the Moon album, to name a few. About books, I’ve been a bit lazy to read lately, the last I read was 1984, by Orwell.
FOS: Your latest EP ‘An Ominous Landscape’ was released by Sun & Moon Records of Romania. How did that alliance begin and was it beneficial to both parties?
S: They knew me for a demo I sent to them in 2012, if I’m not mistaken. Since then we have been in contact until the label that would releases my EP close, and I started looking for a label again.
And it has been excellent to work with them, their people very committed and have given me a lot of freedom. No complaints.
FOS: Final words are yours!
S: The first full length will be ready in May 2017 by Sun & Moon Records!
Thanks for your interest in Selbst!
Hails and Thanks to SELBST for doing this interview!
SELBST – “Selbst” will be one of the best and most interesting albums in black metal in 2017, no big words here, no pretentious wisdom, only the truth, mark our words!
A one-man Atmospheric, Depressive Black Metal project straight from the heart of Münster, Germany, Blatta has progressed a long way and re-defined what it means to be a German Black Metal band. Blatta’s most recent effort, an independently released demo entitled “Ghast”, takes its music to another level, in terms of atmosphere.
Arisas, the sole member, is dedicated to writing massively-layered compositions that fans will even find comparable to those of the great Nortt. In fact, I contacted him recently and asked what some of his influences were and how his songs come to be, and he cited Xasthur, Leviathan, I Shalt Become, Mutiilation, and a relatively new band named Byyrth as his major inspirations. But it did not stop there.
He reflected, “not just music inspires me… I live in a very small town and… it’s really depressing here. The people, the atmosphere… the streets in general,” showing that even his every-day surroundings are fuel for his creativity. He continued, saying “The songwriting process begins with a basic idea, [it] could be a riff or a vocal melody,” and from there he “layers a lot of guitars [in order to] make it feel like the sound is buried underground”.
This said process yields tremendous results, which are ostensible throughout “Ghast”, from its pensive, ambient stages to its roaring, atmospheric riffs, exposing the listener to a miasma of deep, dark depression. Blatta will likely not tour this year, but Arisas plans to build further upon the musical accomplishments of “Ghast” and will independently release a split album with Putrescence in the near future. This album will feature even more layers of guitars than ever before, as well as some Burzum-inspired riffs, so stay tuned!
Location – Quebec, Canada
Opened In: 2001
Genre – Black Metal
Format – Cassette/CD/Vinyl/T-Shirts
# Of Releases – 125+
Whether it’s the most technical death metal or the coldest primitive black metal Quebec has been the epicenter for extreme metal in Canada. Based on that ordering from a black metal label based in Quebec was a no brainer. It also helps that I am a fellow Canadian so shipping cost and time are greatly reduced.
One complaint I often have of underground distros is poorly designed websites. I can’t count how many times I’ve been on a distro’s site, been interested in release or two and then can’t find any damn way to place an order, let alone how to contact the label.
That said, Tour De Garde does not suffer from this at all! Their website is very easy to use and order from. Clean layout. Just enough info about everything for sale. User account system that tracks previous orders. Etc. Very pro!
On December 28, 2016 I placed an order for some Pagan Hellfire, Kenaz and Akitsa CDs and a copy of Among The Ruins zine. Everything was shipped the next day and arrived January 3, 2017! It probably would have been faster as the postal system had some days off for New Years. Also included in the package was a free CD!
The only slight downside I can think of (and I am really struggling to think of any downside) is they have too much to choose from. Like ordering at a restaurant that has a 20 page menu you soon become overwhelmed. They have over 650 cassettes alone to choose from!
It would be great to be able to filter on sub-genre or country to help narrow down choices especially when you aren’t familiar with most of the bands. Having a huge selection isn’t really a complaint though. I felt like a kid in a candy store.
So, in conclusion, Tour De Garde are a fantastic label who have a huge selection (easily over 1000 products) and take their work very seriously! They deserve your support!
Snøgg was formed, when after unsuccessfully trying to form a stable lineup, Matej Voglar (Guitars & Vocals) and Grega Cestnik (Drums) decided to stay as duo and took the names of Ulv and Mørke. In January 2014 they had their first performance, impressing the public with their jazzy approach to extreme metal. After another show in June, fellow black metallers Cvinger were impressed as well – thus inviting Snøgg on an Eastern European tour in December 2014. Mørke unfortunately couldn’t go on the tour, so Ulv decided to go on the tour the way he started the band – alone.
The band gained new fans, especially in Serbia and Check Republic, resulting in a Demo Tour EP. In 2015 Snøgg had a few Slovenian shows and then started to prepare their debut self-titled EP which was released in January 2016. An early member, Žižek, joined the band again to record bass on EP under the name of Køzhl. The EP was successfully presented in June on Tour 666 in Slovenia, Serbia and Bulgaria, to great feedback from audiences. In late summer they already began recording drums and some guitars for their sophomore EP called ‘Qivitoq’ which was released in November 2016 and to be presented on yet another Balkan tour next month.
The latest EP sees the band furthering their transgressive take on black metal, creating an unsettling and truly violent atmosphere. Utilizing raw black metal riffs laced with noise machines, ear-piercing screams and uncanny songwriting, this act does not aim to please. Rather, it aims to disturb and violate.