Today’s winner of the Never Say Die award for most persistent underground musician goes to Orlok and Countess. I have never heard of this dude before, but Countess, hailing from the Netherlands, consists of one guy named Orlok and “On Wings of Defiance” is Countess’ thirteenth album since 1993.
It seems pretty obvious that Countess is a bit of a Bathory-worshiper based on the raw, old school black/death metal style, the similar logo font and the “Blood Fire Death”-esque cover art work (Countess…Bathory…\m/…the bonus track is a cover of Venom’s “In League with Satan” which sort of completes the circle). Do not get me wrong, though, I am in no way counting these things as strikes against Countess. Anyone who loves Bathory and takes inspiration from Quorthon's body of work is ok in my book.
The production is a little thin, but taken in the context of a single person releasing an album on their own, it sounds pretty good. The vocals are harsh edged, but I can make out some of the words, so they are not that harsh. The guitars are probably my favorite part of the album; they have a nice, crunchy tone and bring out a lot of the personality of the album.
This is not likely to be an album that will appeal to the majority of metal fans, but for those of us who get our kicks from less obvious aspects of music, and those whose enjoyment of music increases the more obscure it is, “On Wings of Defiance” is a real diamond in the rough. Personally, as a collector of rare and obscure metal, I salivate just a little at the prospect of having a back catalog of twelve albums to try to track down.
Stay defiant, Countess!