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Formed in 1992, Countess is a Black Metal band from the Netherlands that seems to have gained some level of respect in the underground, over the years. How this ever managed to happen is a mystery, for this band is responsible for some of the most atrocious sounds ever captured on tape and passed off as music. One would expect good things from the band's debut album, The Gospel of the Horned One, upon hearing that it is highly influenced by old Bathory and the fact that it was released the same year as such classics as Under A Funeral Moon, Det Som Engang Var, The Somberlain, etc. However, the magic that possessed those records is completely absent, here.
Musically, this is incredibly pathetic and amateurish. Most of the songs are based around mid-paced riffs that seem only to be variations of the main riffs from Bathory's "Enter the Eternal Fire". The songwriting is beyond boring, with sloppy guitar playing that meanders, pointlessly, failing to create any sort of atmosphere. Perhaps, the band thought that the useless keyboards would tie things together, but that is not the case. Everything really falls flat, as it is clear that these guys had no clue what they were doing. This represents the epitome of horrible musicianship. The guitar playing is so terrible that one might easily mistake it for the rehearsal tape of a child that has only had a handful of lessons. The drums and bass are equally as simplistic, giving the impression that none of these guys had ever touched musical instruments prior to recording The Gospel of the Horned One. This would be considered poor, even for a demo. Unfortunately, Countess decided to release it as an L.P.
The production is a joke, as well. Everything sounds disjointed. It really comes off like a riff tape with the other elements added, later on. The guitar is the dominant aspect, though that is not really such a positive thing, in this case. There is hardly any distortion, and the fact that it is so prominent in the mix only showcases the sloppy playing and boring arrangement. The drums are buried beneath the rest, which is good as the drummer could not keep time if his life depended on it. The vocals are much too low, sounding as if they are coming from another room. There is really nothing about this that could be considered necro or lo-fi; rather, it is all just haphazard and clumsy.
The Gospel of the Horned One is an awful piece of garbage that should be avoided. The only redeeming quality about the debut album from Countess is that they were going for the more primitive approach of the First Wave, rather than imitating the Norwegian bands. Regardless of this, they failed to create anything worthwhile or even minimally enjoyable. This is boring and laughable. Do not waste your time or money on this.
Written for http://ritesoftheblackmoon.tripod.com