Among the first Dutch black metal bands in the early nineties, Countess have always set themselves apart from other bands by a fierce loyalty to their old school influences. For two and a half decades, while fashions came and went, Countess stayed true to their vision and thus earned a worldwide cult status in the metal underground.

In spite of their sworn allegiance to metal orthodoxy, Countess have never shied from innovation. In 1994 they created the first black metal song with Dutch lyrics (Bloed In De Sneeuw) and in 1997 were among the first bands to take a rocking approach to the genre (Hell's Rock & Roll).

Over the course of 25 years and 15 full-length albums, Countess' sound has evolved from the raw black metal of the early releases towards a more traditional heavy metal-influenced style. The band's most recent offering, Fires Of Destiny in 2016, being a powerful example of a seamless integration of heavy and black metal elements.

In 2014 the band returned to the stage after a long period of not having played live. Since then, Countess have performed impressive shows at numerous prestigious metal festivals in their own country, Belgium, Germany, Denmark and Finland.

The core of Countess consists of long-time members Orlok (vocals, bass) and Zagan (guitars) who both have been involved with the project since the nineties. They were recently joined by Mortüüm (drums, 2015) and Häxa (keyboards, 2016) to complete what is probably the band's strongest formation to date.

August 25, 2015

Full 'Veneration Of The Dead' 2015 show online

When we played at the 'Veneration Of The Dead' festival in 2014, it was our first show in almost seventeen years other than a try-out a few days earlier in a pub in Leiden. So that was a special occasion. Little did we know that we would play the festival again this year and that this would also be a very special occasion.

Since we played the festival in 2014, we weren't planning on playing there again this year. However, things changed when it was announced that Barathrum would play at the festival this year. We have a special relationship with the legendary Finnish band. We were both on Nazgul's Eyrie Productions in the nineties and we did a short tour together, with Sabbat from Japan, back in 1997.

So when Barathrum requested that we would join them at the festival this year, we really couldn't say no. Of course it's quite uncommon for a band to play at the same festival two years in a row so there were some concerns about that. The organization didn't mind, but did ask that we do something special. We agreed that it would not make sense to play basically the same set as the year before and, since the whole thing was becoming nostalgic anyway, we decided to do a set with only songs from 1993-1997, our first 'live era' so to speak.

We rehearsed quite intensively to be able to play all these old songs, most of which we had never played before with this line-up and it all turned out pretty well. The organization was excellent, the sound was great, the place was packed and the audience was very much into the music. A night to remember. What made the show even more special was the fact that during the final song, we were joined on stage by Warhead, who was our drummer in the nineties and played on the 'Hell's Rock & Roll' EP.

A few days before the show we were rehearsing and Zagan started playing 'Countess Bathory'. We hadn't considered playing this song at the show, but we discussed it and decided that if we were going to do an 'old school' set we might as well go all the way and play 'Countess Bathory' too. We then got the idea to ask Warhead to join us for this song. He was immediately enthusiastic and as witnessed by the video, he did a great job. Like he hadn't been away from the Countess kit for all these years. It certainly made an already special show even more unique.

It almost felt like it was 1997 again . . . and since both video and audio recording turned out really well, we decided put the whole show online, for everybody to enjoy whether they were there or not.