Biography

Countess was formed in the Netherlands early in 1992 and later that year the band released its first demo, the notorious 'Permafrost', followed in 1993 by the first album, 'The Gospel Of The Horned One'. On these early releases, the band played a crude, primitive form of Black Metal inspired mainly by Bathory, Hellhammer and Venom.

In the band's early years, there were constant line-up changes. Nevertheless, the band played its first gig in December 1993 at the 'Black Christmas' festival. Several more gigs were done the next year. Also in 1994, the band's sophomore full-length 'The Return Of The Horned One' was unleashed upon mankind. In spite of its crude and raw approach - or perhaps because of it - this record remains a fan favourite until this day and several songs from the album are still live staples: the crushing 'Aleidis', the bombastic 'Fire & Blood' and especially the stunningly epic 'Bloed In De Sneeuw' (generally acknowledged as the first-ever Black Metal song with lyrics in Dutch) are definite classics.

First gig in Volkel, December 1993.

In March 1995, a new line-up got together that would remain stable for a few years, consisting of Orlok on vocals and bass (who had been the one constant member of Countess since the first album), Zagan on guitars and Warhead on drums. This line-up did a short and successful German tour in May '95, co-headlining with Italian legend Mortuary Drape.

After two more albums were released in 1995 en 1996 that were more or less recorded by Orlok on his own ('Ad Maiorem Sathanae Gloriam' and 'The Book Of The Heretic') the band finally released a recording by the current line-up in June 1997, shortly after a short Dutch/German tour with Barathrum and Sabbat from Japan. Though this release, a CD EP entitled 'Hell's Rock & Roll', contained only four tracks, it was hailed by fans as a great record and it has become a definite classic over the years.

Live in Berlin, May 1997.

However, at the time, because they were completely fed up with the scene, the fact almost no new material was written and the lack of opportunities to play live led the band members to a unanimous decision to quit in November '97.

For about a year Countess was no more until at the end of 1998 Orlok resurrected the band, from that point on mainly as a solo project. On several occasions former members made contributions though: Zagan for example played guitars on the 'Revenge Of The Horned One' albums.

Thus, Countess continued to release albums over the next fifteen years. All these records were released through the Bavarian label Barbarian Wrath. Although through the years the music of Countess remained firmly rooted in first wave Black Metal, influences from traditional heavy metal gradually increased in the band's sound. These influences had already been present on the early records, but became more prominent over time to the point where Countess' 2011 album 'On Wings Of Defiance' could be characterized as a full Heavy/Black Metal hybrid.

In February 2013, Zagan rejoined Countess and in June 2013 the band released a new digital EP, 'Sermons Of The Infidel', featuring six killer new renditions of various classics from the past as well as two previously unreleased songs. In April 2014, Countess released the long-awaited new full-length album, entitled 'Ancient Lies And Battle Cries'. The result of almost three years of writing and recording, features ten tracks of uncompromising metal, blending first wave Black Metal and traditional Heavy Metal in a way only Countess can.

Shortly before the relase of the new record, in March 2014, Orlok and Zagan were joined by Wolfram (drums) and Herjann (keyboards) since the band needed a full line-up to be able to play live again. In May 2014 Countess took to the stage again for the first time in more than sixteen years, including succesful shows at the 'Veneration Of The Dead' festival in Rotterdam, 'Under The Black Sun' in Berlin, 'Metal Magic' in Denmark and 'Black Flames Of Blasphemy' in Finland.

Live at 'Veneration Of The Dead', May 2014.

In October 2015, Wolfram left the band and was replaced by Mortüüm. This line-up began rehearsing new material and between February and May 2016 a new album entitled 'Fires Of Destiny' was recorded.  'Fires Of Destiny' was released on June 30. Shortly before the release of the album Häxa joined Countess as the band's new keyboard player.