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.

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'.
When the time came to record the second Countess album, it was obvious that 'Aleidis' would be included. In fact, we made it the first 'real' song on the album, straight after the intro. We did make a few changes compared to the demo version: we left off the guitar leads at the beginning and the end, increased the tempo a little and added keyboards to enhance the 'campy old school horror' atmosphere we were going for with this track.

Reactions to the song were very positive, both to the album version and when we played it live. We noticed that it seemed especially popular in Germany, for whatever reason.We weren't too pleased with the song ourselves, though, and we eventually dropped it from the live set. Therefore it also wasn't part of the set when we recorded the live album in November 1996. Looking back, I think the main reason we weren't satisfied with the way the song sounded live is because we didn't have live keyboards at the time and this song really doesn't work well without them. This can also clearly be heard on the new studio version we recorded years later, without keyboards, and released as a bonus track on 'Blazing Flames Of War' (the reason there are no keyboards here is because there are no keyboards on this album at all).

The new studio version from 2007

Of course, when we assembled a new line-up in 2014, we did include a keyboard player and we eventually decided to give 'Aleidis' another go. We were pleased with the way it sounded when we rehearsed it so we included it in the live set. It has been played live again at most of our shows since."

'Aleidis' live in 2014