In addition to the characteristics gone over in our review of 2000's "The Shining Swords Of Hate", the latest recording from COUNTESS, "The Revenge Of The Horned One, Part I", has added a few new twists. Unfortunately, none are much for the better.
Back are the annoying, dragging, and whiny moans from the seemingly one-stringed guitar. Back are the repetitious, and ambiguous sound-patterns which haunt like a bad hangover. Back is the overall horrible sound quality, and back I go off to snooze land because of the of dire boredom COUNTESS have once again stricken me with. I suppose you're wondering what these 'new twists' are that I speak of.
Firstly, you can actually hear Orlok's vocals quite a bit more clearly. Too bad he sounds closer to one of those squawking vulture beasts from that movie, "The Dark Crystal", than he does a vocalist in whatever subgenre of Metal this is. Second, COUNTESS are taking use of synthesized effects more so than they did with their previous outing. Sometimes this can add a fun element to the music, but most times it just sounds like I'm sitting through a bad weekday morning kid's show. And, thirdly, there is actually a bit of variety to be found due to the twelve-song track-listing. All that really means I guess, is that I can find more than one way not to like this album.
Really, I'm not going to bad mouth this or COUNTESS any further. Orlok's been doing this for a long time, and chances are he either really likes what he's recording, or just hasn't heard the final product from any of COUNTESS' albums.