Band: Countess
Album: Fires Of Destiny
Release Date: 30.06.2016
Record Label: Self-released
Genre: Black/Heavy Metal
Guest Reviewer: Phillipe Saidj

Countess - Fires Of Destiny album cover

Hailing from The Netherlands, Countess has been delivering us a fine mixture of black and heavy metal since 1992. They have released 15 full-length albums in their career and although there has been many changes in the band’s history, one thing is certain: their essence has remained the same. The band has returned to the stage in 2014 after a long absence and their latest record “Fires Of Destiny” has been released last year!

Believe it or not, I had never heard of this band before. My guess is that the band is having a rather restricted audience –no offense intended here–, which is logical when hearing to this “Fires of Destiny”. The guys are mainly influenced by old school, strongly heavy-metal influenced, Greek black metal –e.g. Varathron’s His Majesty at The Swamp or Vorphalack’s first demo- and also integrate early The Gathering influences, before Anneke joined the band…  Even if the first album from the Rutten brothers band has a pretty cult status, I’m not sure it is sufficient to generate a large audience. In addition to this, I must say that hearing the first keyboard notes in “Runenlied” can scare you to death. That is why I could not blame anyone for running away from this album as he/she had seen death itself with scythe and stuff. What about the few brave people who stand in front of this demo-like LP, facing the cheapest side of metal? Will they get their reward? Is it worth listening the integrity of Fires of Destiny? I tend to say “yes”, because in spite of other scary keyboards moments (omg… the beginning of “See the Ravens Fly”…it seems that a six-year-old child could do better), some titles are pretty nice.  The sequence from “Fires of Destiny” to “Today Is a Good Day To Die” and its old Scandinavian black metal guitar riff is sustained  by a kind of epic breath, which reminds me of the few good moments of Dawn of Dreams’ first album, in a darker way. “Choir of the Valkyries” is a bit clumsy, but the very strong Always influence may sound nice to old nostalgic ears. The rest of the songs barely present interest, in my opinion.

Guys, I swear I am used to cheap productions, cheap sound, weak, bee-like trve black metal guitar humming, old Bontempi keyboards, etc. More than that: I even enjoy it! I’m able to listen to Antiquus Scriptum’s entire discography 66 times in a row, and Summoning’s so powerful guitar sound always makes me shiver… but those keyboards… those keyboards… I mean they are REALLY damn cheap.

Fires of Destiny is reserved to a minority of nostalgic metalheads wishing the early 90s extreme metal demo period would never end, and I am part of this small sect… That is why I am kind of grateful to Countess to contribute to making the Bontempi cult alive. But honestly, if you are not 35 or older, you may have the sensation to lose your time here.

Rating: 5/10

Line-up:
Orlok – vocals and bass
Zagan – guitars
Mortüüm -drums
Häxa -keyboards

Tracklist:
1. Runenlied
2. Fly The Battle Flag
3. Fires Of Destiny
4. Rise Of The Horned One
5. Plague Upon The Pious
6. Today Is A Good Day To Die
7. Choir Of The Valkyries
8. Treason Of Kings
9. See The Ravens Fly
10. Bard Van Het Verleden

More info:
Countess Facebook

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