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Those of you who occasionally read additional notes here on the Archives probably know that Countess mastermind Orlok wasn't originally a member of the band. It was founded by two other guys called Zenon and Vercingetorix, and they even recorded a demo together - this demo right here - before Orlok finally joined the band, and creatively shaped it subsequently. And damn am I glad he did, because "Permafrost" is really, really atrociously lame, in every sense of the word, and in fact quite a stain on much respected name of Countess.
Need one simple word to sum this up? It's boring. Excessively so. And it's really annoying when one tries to give this demo a chance or two, and all one gets is this ultra-repetitive droning fuzz that goes on forever, boring one out of one's mind so early on that one barely makes it through the first half of the first song. Too bad it continues for another four and a half songs. I don't think I even once made it through the entire thing from start to end, the only way I could listen to the whole thing was by putting something actually interesting in between the songs. Makes me pretty greatful I don't have this on tape, modern technology sure has its advantages...
Now, how should I describe it? Well, first of all the sound is atrocious. As we all know that can be a good thing in black metal, but not like this. Absolutely nothing on here has any sort of "punch". First of all, the drums are ridiculously far in the background - I can't really hear anything but the snare - and sound really weak on top of that (when you can actually hear them). I don't know, maybe it just isn't true that Vercingetorix recorded them, I think they had a session drummer who couldn't make it to the rehearsal, and instead provided the drums through the telephone. One of those crappy old 1950s telephones most likely. The guitar sound is even worse. It's the kind of sound fans of that modern drone doom shit would love, sweeping softly and gently like an ocean wave against the beach during windspeeds of near zero. It's hard to describe, it's just so... toothless. There is no power to it, no force, no nothing, it just kind of exists and goes on... endlessly.
The really horrible part though is the songwriting. You wouldn't believe how excruciatingly boring it is if you haven't heard it. This Vercingetorix guy must have been heavily sedated during both the songwriting and the recording, because all of it sounds like it was done by someone three quarters asleep. The riffs are very simplistic progressions of very few powerchords, played literally ad nauseam. And the funny thing is that with simplistic progressions of very few powerchords there isn't even much to do wrong, but this demo certainly proves that it is very possible to screw up something so simple, because the riffing is just so annoyingly bad. And did I mention that it goes on forever? Trying to listen to the demo again as I write this, and I don't think I can take much more of this. It's truly excruciating.
I could also mention that the vocals aren't too impressive, but that's really not all too important, because it's entirely the "music" that ruins this demo. So, in conclusion, this certainly proves that Countess is indeed Orlok, and this demo without him is best forgotten. If you are thinking about being curious to check it out, just to hear what it sounds like, I advise you not to bother. It's not worth anyone's time. Additionally, if you are considering tracking down an actual copy of this demo instead of committing an act of piracy, well, you're out of your mind. If you waste money or a valuable trading item for this you will most certainly regret it.