Friday, August 22, 2014

Countress - Ov Sin

Countress is a dark, occult-inspired band reminiscent of Integrity and Doomriders. The dark and straightforward nature of the heavy music screams holy terror, while the simple and groovy riffs are reminiscent of the faster doom-inspired stuff like later High on Fire. The aesthetic is surely inspired by A389-style hardcore, a heavy dose of doom metal, and the extreme side of rock and roll, as Tom G. Warrior described Celtic Frost. Though I name a plethora of apparent influences, the band's style is quite coherent, just hard to pinpoint. That's a good thing.

The songs and album are well structured, they feel natural and jammy, very heavy and groovy. The band knows how to find a groove and work into it - they're so good at this that the dark aspect to the music gets lost pretty easily. Heavy grooves, reminiscent of NOLA sludge, strong enough to make Kvelertak look like wusses. One songwriting quirk does stand out - their tendency to make some abrupt transitions from the more aggressive hardcore style to the groovy dark stoner stuff. While they blend those two pretty well, they haven't quite found a perfect synergy. The middle five tracks find that doom-n-roll style pretty well, which is where the Doomriders comparison comes from. The vocalist even lightens up a bit while maintaining his similarity to Dwid Hellion of Integrity. The first and last tracks, however, are where the band finds their darker side, very reminiscent of Integrity, Ringworm, and Pulling Teeth. These songs are much more intense, harder driving, and perfectly representative of the band's dark aesthetic. The bookending leaves me feeling that the band could have had a much more focused sinister intent here, and perhaps that's something they should explore.

Bottom line, Countress are a good band and this is a good album. It speaks to its notability that it's a bit hard to categorize and compare to other bands. If you like anything I've mentioned in this review, give it a listen, it's worth your time.

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