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 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

Later that year, in October, I was at Zagan's place and he showed me some new stuff he had written. For some reason, the atmosphere of the melody and the riffs he played immediately made me think of Vlad Tepes and I recalled the song I'd written about him. I dug up the lyrics and we began constructing a new song, also to be called 'Son Of The Dragon'. When the song was more or less ready we discovered we didn't have a chorus, so we lifted that from the earlier song (transposing it to the key of the new song). We recorded the song as a demo and I remember we were quite enthusiastic about it.

The new version released on 'Sermons Of The Infidel'

'Son Of The Dragon' was released in 1997 on the 'Hell's Rock & Roll' EP and we also began playing it live that year. Reactions to the song were excellent and over the years it has become a definite classic. Therefore, when we returned to playing live in 2014, it was obvious that 'Son Of The Dragon' would be part of the set and it was equally obvious the song had to be included on the 'Sermons Of The Infidel' compilation.

'Son Of The Dragon' live in 2014

The song is about Vlad Tepes, obviously, also known as Dracula. In fact, the title is a literal translation of 'Dracula'. Of course, the song is about the historical figure, not about the vampire character created by Bram Stoker. I had always been fascinated by Vlad, but what actually inspired me to write a song about him was the 1989 book Dracula. Prince of many faces. His life and his times by Radu R. Florescu and Raymond T. McNally, two Boston College historians. This book does an excellent job of portraying the man behind the myth and describing the different ways he is perceived in different countries. Interestingly, McNally also claimed he and Florescu were the first to link Stoker's character to the historical figure, in their 1972 book In search of Dracula.
Of course, the emphasis in the song is on Vlad's role as a defender of Europe against foreign invaders, but the lyrics also emphasize the many different aspects of Vlad. There is also a throwaway reference to the vampire myth in the lyrics and the final stanza includes a reference to the suggestion that Elizabeth Bathory had Vlad’s blood in her veins (for more on this, see our post on 'The Wrath Of Satan's Whore')."