Countess - Sermons Of The Infidel digi-CD


Countess originate from Holland and Orlok is the mastermind behind the band, but in this specific release it is stated that Zagan handles the guitars. So I believe it is better to refer to Countess as a group of people. Being founded in 1992 they have lurked in the underground for more than 20 years, though I had never heard of them before. On terms of creativity, they have been very active with thirteen full-length albums and in June of 2013 “Sermons of the Infidel” was released.

Although categorized as an EP, with a 35 minute duration this work could be easily considered as a full-length. The band’s admiration for Bathory is pretty obvious, even in the name of the band. Just merge the names of the two and you will get the point. Concerning the music it would be better described as black metal with a strong heavy metal influence. It mainly brings to mind the glorious Hellenic black metal scene of the 90s. Already from the opening track the atmospheric, almost epic, approach of the band is distinct. Relatively simple song structures with repetitive mid tempo rhythm sections and a diffuse usage of keyboards. Truth is that these guitar parts are not the strong point of this release, but during the lead and the synth sections Countess are really thriving.

I have never been a big fan of solos and keyboard melodies but in this case I have to admit that Countess have done a splendid job. Apart from creating the proper atmosphere, keyboards offer some very strong and emotional melodies that create very vivid images to the listener’s mind. As for the main guitar parts, they are full of nostalgia and melancholy but also prove the very good songwriting skill of Orlok. Production is very good and reveals the dynamics of all the instruments with no exception. My only objection would be the drums which, although well played, sound like a drum machine. Unfortunately I don’t have any further info on this matter so I can’t be sure.

Countess managed to revive the feeling of the 90s decade, when the scene was at its best. Their sound is very genuine and will easily please any romantic fans of the more melodic black metal approach. I will surely check out their past works, since this EP has left me a really great impression.