When it comes to Black Metal, The Netherlands isn’t a country with a very widespread reputation. COUNTESS however is an enduring name within the Dutch scene. The (now one-man) band has been around since 1992 and now this “Holocaust Of The God Believers” is its tenth album. Awful title eh, though terribly in-character.
And much like he has been doing for a while Orlok delivers his own brand of Black Metal that’ll be pretty hard to digest for a lot of people. Mixing mid-paced 80s Black Metal with melodic leads taken from traditional Metal is not an evident combination. On top of that, the people that like the epic melodies might be alienated by his not so subtle vocals that are of the absolute raw and distorted kind, much like the overall production; however these vocals are also a strong point of the album. Do you see the problem here?
And when the melodies aren’t too cheesy (“Rebel Stand”) the combination of raw and minimalist playing with the infectious melodies works pretty well. One just has to grow into the album a bit before the hypnotizing atmosphere starts to work. With a very lengthy playing time and inaccessible production this might not be easy, but it can pay off. Credit to Orlok though for being a musician who clearly follows his own path.
(Online December 6, 2006)