This is the follow up to last year’s Sermons of the Infidel, where I was introduced to their individualistic, dare I say it, chirpy, brand of Black Metal. I have been looking forward to seeing what they serve up this time.
Within a few scant seconds of pressing play Countess confirm that they haven’t changed and they are, in fact, just as unique and special as they’ve always been. Hurrah!
The same distinctive vocals layer the music, and the same NWOBHM-influenced Black Metal underpins everything nicely.
There are two main differences between this and Sermons of the Infidel. The first is that Ancient Lies and Battle Cries has a few longer songs on it, and these have a bit of a nice Progressive feel to them in addition to the NWOBHM feeling. The second is the sound the band have on this recording – they sound absolutely huge! A really massive production rounds off the release and the songs sound positively buzzing due to it.
The songs remain absurdly catchy and the tracks have an astounding amount of depth and longevity in them for relatively simple compositions. This is the joy and the gift of Metal in the hands of masters.
I don’t have any of the older Countess material, sadly, but they have made a life-long fan of me nonetheless just with these last two releases alone. I won’t even pretend to be objective about this – Countess are just brilliant.