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.

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

The response to 'Fire & Blood' was really good and when we got a new line-up together in March 1995 it was obvious we would include it in our live set. We continued playing it live the next couple of years. It quickly became a live favourite and was also included on the live album we recorded in 1996. Though the live album was never released, it has been made available on our YouTube channel.

The unreleased live rendition from 1996

In 1997, the song's lyrics were translated to German by Opyros, obviously entitled 'Feuer Und Blut'. I don't recall why the translation was made exactly, other than that we probably just figured it was a cool idea. Or perhaps we were inspired by the similar thing Manowar had done several years earlier with 'Heart Of Steel'.
Though the German translation dates back to 1997, it was never really used until a new version was recorded in 2008. That version has remained unreleased but when we started playing live again in 2014, we decided to include the German version in our set. A recording of the German version, from the 'Metal Magic' festival in Denmark, made its way onto 'Sermons Of The Infidel', the compilation of new versions of classic tracks that we released in 2014.

The German version recorded live in 2014

In 2015, when we decided to do an 'old school' set at the Veneration Of The Dead festival with songs from the 1993-1997 era only, we for once reverted to the English version of the song."