December 15, 2016

Newsletter midwinter 2016

As the year draws to a close, we can conclude that 2016 has been another memorable year for Countess. We released a new album and our second album was released on vinyl 22 years after its original release . . . in this newsletter we’ll take a look at some key events from the past year and we’re announcing a special midwinter sale.

Midwinter sale: 20% off everything

If you place an order at our webstore between now and December 31st, simply use midwinter as your discount code and you’ll get 20% off your entire order!

New album 'Fires Of Destiny'

In June, we released our new album 'Fires Of Destiny'. Our fifteenth full-length, the record features ten tracks of uncompromising metal, blending first wave Black Metal and traditional Heavy Metal in a way only Countess can. The album is available everywhere, including BandcampiTunesSpotify and YouTube.

November 02, 2016

Live album recorded twenty years ago

On November 2, 1996 we recorded a live album that was never released. In honour of the twentieth anniversary of this occasion, Orlok recalls the album's history.
"Back in the mid-nineties, when we played live people were always telling us that our songs sounded much better live than they did on the albums. So we got the idea to do a live album. We arranged a gig at the place where we usually rehearsed in Schiedam, which was also sort of a club and there was a studio there as well, which would make recording the gig relatively cheap and easy.

The intended cover for the live album

We picked a bunch of songs for inclusion on the album and rehearsed these pretty well. Most were from the first four albums, but we included a few new ones as well. On the day of the gig we rehearsed in the afternoon, then set up the recording equipment together with the engineer. Then we just played the gig, which went really well. We didn’t feel any real pressure because of the fact the gig was being recorded.

September 14, 2016

'The Return Of The Horned One' released on vinyl

Almost twenty-two years after its original release on CD by Nazgul's Eyrie Productions, our sophomore album 'The Return Of The Horned One' has now been released on vinyl in a joint effort by New Era Productions and Heidens Hart. In commemoration of this occasion, Orlok wrote down some memories from the creation of this legendary record.

"In the summer of 1994, the line-up that had been in place for a while and recorded the demo 'The Wolves Awake' more or less ceased to exist. We never split up officially, but just kind of stopped rehearsing. I had still been writing new material throughout the year, though, so in September I decided to record a new album anyway.

The vinyl version of the album

July 30, 2016

'Fires Of Destiny' review round-up

It's been one month since the release of our new album and so far the response has been great; both from fans and critics. We therefore decided to publish a collection of some cool quotes from several reviews (with links to the full reviews).

"Fires of Destiny truly is a legacy worth talking about and Countess have earned all the bragging rights with this album with it being the culmination of over two decades of hard work and devotion coming to the excellent fruition that this piece is."
- Metal Addicts

"They always deliver and they will always be Countess, firm, loyal and strong-willed. So yes, I will recommend this album. It's different, it's vintage, it's varied and it rocks. What else could you possibly want?"
- Merchants of Air

"Fires Of Destiny is een lekker gevarieerd album geworden, bruut bij tijd en wijlen en ongekend melodieus."
- Rockmuzine

June 30, 2016

'Fires Of Destiny' out now!

Our new album 'Fires Of Destiny' is out now and available from our official Bandcamp store. The album is also available digitally on iTunes and available for streaming on Spotify and YouTube.
 

June 03, 2016

New album 'Fires Of Destiny' out June 30

On June 30 we will release our long-awaited new full-length album, entitled ‘Fires Of Destiny'.
'Fires Of Destiny' is our fifteenth full-length and features ten tracks of uncompromising metal music, blending first wave Black Metal and traditional Heavy Metal in a way only Countess can.


The title 'Fires Of Destiny' references the bonfires lit on the Kahlenberg by the troops who came to the relief of Vienna when the city was under siege in 1683; the subject of the title track.

June 01, 2016

'The Book Of The Heretic' released twenty years ago

Two decades ago today, 'The Book Of The Heretic' was released, an album that is perhaps our most controversial record: our only concept album to date, marred by a bad sound and mix yet hailed by some as the best Countess album. Time for Orlok to take another trip down memory lane and recall how this record was created.

The full album on YouTube

"After the recording of 'Ad Maiorem' I went back to writing and throughout 1995 I wrote quite a lot of songs and recorded them as demos. Then one day I got the idea for the story of the heretic in my head, so I got behind my computer and wrote the story down. I figured I could fit all the songs I had for the next album into this story, so I did. Because the story to connect the songs was written after the songs were written (which is a rather unusual way of writing a concept album, I realize that) the lyrics don’t really ‘tell’ the story very explicitly. The story of the heretic is actually quite a long one, which I wrote down in a very condensed way in only a handful of pages. If the story were written down more elaborately, like a novel, it might well comprise several books. The songs on the album all tell small parts of this long tale.

May 15, 2016

Classic tracks: Bloed In De Sneeuw

'Bloed In De Sneeuw' is generally acknowledged as the first Black Metal song with lyrics in Dutch. In this post, Orlok recalls the song's history.
"The song 'Bloed In De Sneeuw" was written in early 1994. At the time, we listened a lot to bands like Master's Hammer and Masacre, who sang in their own languages, which inspired us to also try that.

The original 1994 version, released on 'The Return Of The Horned One'

May 08, 2016

Classic tracks: Hell's Rock & Roll

'Hell's Rock & Roll' has been a popular song among Countess fans ever since it was written - especially live. In this post, Orlok takes a look at the creation of this anthemic track.

The studio version from 1997

"We were rehearsing some time in June 1996 and Zagan showed us a couple of riffs he had. We all liked them so we set about to make a song out of them. While playing the parts, we quickly came up with a song structure. The next step was, of course, writing lyrics. I thought about that for a while until the rather rocking nature of the song inspired me to name the track 'Hell's Rock & Roll'. The lyrics quickly followed: a rather cartoonish tale about the devil inspiring men to create metal. It was meant as a sarcastic response to those people who always claim that heavy metal is the devil's music: yes, of course it is! The devil made us do it!

May 01, 2016

Classic tracks: Aleidis

In this post in our 'classic tracks' series, Orlok shares his recollections of the history of 'Aleidis':
"The creation of 'Aleidis' goes back to September 1993. At the time, I used to hang out with Hammerheart a lot and one time when I was at his place he showed me a book and said there was a cool short story in there that I should read. It was a story about a man who encounters a female vampire named Aleidis and it was indeed a cool story. The story got stuck in my head for a while and I decided to write a song about it.

The version released in 1994 on 'The Return Of The Horned One'

We had just gotten a new line-up together at the time and with this line-up, we started playing 'Aleidis'. We played the song at at our first gig and in January 1994 it was released on the demo 'The Wolves Awake'.

April 24, 2016

Classic tracks: Son Of The Dragon

'Son Of The Dragon' is a song that quickly became a classic after it was released in 1997. In this post, Orlok looks at the history of the song.
"This song goes back to 1996. In March of that year, I had written a song called 'Son Of The Dragon' and recorded it as a demo. It was a mid-paced song very much in the vein of the early Countess albums. It had a good chorus but otherwise I didn't think it was all that great so I discarded it and more or less forgot about it.

The original version from 1997

April 17, 2016

Classic tracks: Fire & Blood a.k.a. Feuer Und Blut

'Fire & Blood' is a song that is rather unique in Countess' repertoire since it is the only song that has been played live in two different languages. In this post, Orlok looks back on the creation of this track.
"The song 'Fire & Blood' was written in May 1994. It was initially to be used for a project to be called The Ninth Wave (after the Manilla Road song) and originally it had lyrics by Opyros entitled 'Furor'. However, nothing came of said project so new lyrics were written for the song and it became a Countess song. We never rehearsed it back then, but decided to include it on 'The Return Of The Horned One' anyway since we really liked the song.

The original version released on 'The Return Of The Horned One' in 1994

April 10, 2016

Classic tracks: The Wrath Of Satan's Whore

'The Wrath Of Satan's Whore' was an instant classic and still is a favourite among many Countess fans. In this post, Orlok looks back on the song's history and the woman who inspired it.
"The creation of this song goes back to October 1994, when we had just wrapped up the recording of the second album and I took a trip to Regensburg to deliver the master tape to Opyros, who would release it on NEP. Opyros had the idea to shoot pictures for the album at one of Elizabeth Bathory's castles, Burg Lockenhaus. Of course, I liked the idea so we drove to Lockenhaus, currently located in Austria on the Hungarian border.

The original version released in 1995 on 'Ad Maiorem Sathanae Gloriam' 

When we were there, we spoke to people in the village below who still believe Elizabeth haunts the castle at night . . . this castle itself is somewhat of a museum nowadays and was easily accessible. It was a pretty weird feeling walking around the place wearing paint, though. We took a ton of pictures, several of which would end up in the booklet of the second album.