Tuesday 30 December 2014

Countress - Ov Sin + Interview

If there's one thing I've learnt since writing this blog, it's that you should always pay attention to mixtapes from A389. As fan-boyish at that statement might sound, A389 has been responsible for introducing me to Seven Sisters Of Sleep, Noisem and a tonne more! In April, a new mixtape was unleashed and it featured loads of new names including Of Feather And Bone (whom you'll see reviewed here soon), Ampallang Infection and Reno, Nevada's Countress. After a delay that was mainly down to my inability to send a fully-functioning document, I've finally got around to posting this review/interview double-whammy.

Countress have only been around for a couple of years, but off the strength of an EP and this (their first full-length), they managed to get on Dom's radar and also managed to secure kick-ass support slots alongside Eyehategod and Toxic Holocaust, amongst a myriad of others.


1. Haellions
2. Spirits
3. Spike The Hand
4. Hell Is Here
5. High Moon
6. Black Cloth
7. Origin

I’m not at all surprised that Countress ended up on that A389 mixtape, as their’s is the kind of chaotic hardcore that catches your attention straight away. The impact of opener Haellions, which features groove-laden riffs and caustic screams, gives the game away right from the off. Countress do like their rock n roll too and that comes across in their persona as well in their music. 

There’s a darker element to their sound, even with the punk backbone that Spirits contains. That is, until you hit the solo and then it’s just straight up nuts! I think Countress have taken their cues from The Misfits in part. They certainly don’t believe in slowing down and Spike The Hand keeps up the strong momentum of the album. Even when the stoner-riffs are pushed to the fore, the pace doesn’t let up. If I were to say early Eighteen Visions, you’d probably understand where I was coming from!.

Hell Is Here changes the mood somewhat, taking Ov Sin from being a feast of blackened rock n roll to something a lot more menacing. The slower riffs put pay to any good-time vibes and Countress unleash all of their bottled up and distilled rage during the song’s opening bars. What follows is a twin-guitar infested song that pays homage to the Southern-grit of EHG. It shows a more expansive side to the band.

They capture that Southern-drawl even more effectively during the urgency of High Moon and the intense Black Cloth, which begins with one of the best blues-laden intros I’ve heard in a while. What it gives way to is thrash of the highest order. There’s no hiding from this! Closing song Origin comes around far too fast. It’s instrumental build-up hits you like a stray bullet from the Wild West. The barrage that’s left in it’s wake is no more comforting either. It finished Ov Sin at full volume, which is how it should be! 

For all the times we complain about it’s commercialism and it’s influence on the world, at least we can agree that America produces killer rock music. Countress are sure to keep fighting the good fight and hopefully, more people will catch on too!

Here's the interview I did with Ryan:-

First of all, thanks for doing this interview. Can you tell me a bit about Countress? What prompted you guys to form and the types of music or bands that influenced

Thank you very much for giving me a chance to speak on behalf of our band. We all knew each other for years and share a love for metal and horror movies so we wanted to start a band that conveyed those images and ideas through riffs, man. We get influence from tons of bands some everyone knows and some shit only one or two of us in the band know. the main ones are  popular metal bands like Slayer, Judas Priest, High On Fire, Black Sabbath, Metallica, Down, Motorhead etc.. we grew up with all that shit, they made me want to start playing a fucking guitar. We love doom bands like Electric Wizard, Pentagram, Sleep.... and some of us listen to more black and death metal. Hardcore bands too like Ringworm and Integrity...It all shines through in our tunes I think.. we ain’t really into sounding like one genre. 

You self-released your LP “Ov Sin” on vinyl, which was a pretty big investment/step for the band. Can explain your motivation behind the decision to self-release it, especially as more and more bands are seeking label attention nowadays?

We just ain’t in to waiting for someone to do what we are capable of doing ourselves you know? What if a label doesn't want to put our shit out? Why the fuck are we not using every chance we get to push forward? Shouldn't we be trying to get laid and high with our tunes now not later?....these are the questions I ask myself and the rest of the band everyday.. Were from Reno, NV man no one gives a shit about this place as far as labels go...no ones gonna check out a demo from us. Cut out the middle man and charge into war.

How have you gone about promoting “Ov Sin” and what has the reaction been like from fans?

Doing interviews like this, Internet promotion, playing shows, giving out merch for free... The reactions been decent id say...no ones calling us wuss rock or crap rock yet I guess.

Ry, you mentioned to me that you read my recent blog post “Things Your Band Can Do Better” and said that you identified with some of those points. What do you as a band think of the current musical climate that we’re in and where do you see it going?

I did agree with quite a bit of that blog post. I think, and again I am speaking on behalf of my band that message boards, Facebook posts and spending your hard earned scratch on sending out countless records to never hear a response is a lot like boxing: when you’re an under dog no body wants shit from you except another loss and then they’ll easily sweep your ass under the rug in their overloaded mind... I think there’s an un-ending amount of talent out there that blows my mind now and always. But we’re music LOVERS you know? I assume most people wont give a tune more than 25 seconds before they’re streaming something else so its a weird time man. A lotta shit goes unnoticed and this seems like a weird half hooker-esque “Sell your self” kind’a deal more now than ever... I love playin’ basements because the kids don’t give a fuck there were no tickets you had to sell there’s no bouncer pretending he’s hard as nails trying to punk teenagers or 55 year old reborn christian/newly sober dread-locked nu-metal dude showing up in his school bus with girls that look bored out of their fucking minds telling you to get on and off the stage as quick as possible so his Sevendust riff loving, mayonnaise worshipping shit band can “Blow the roof off this place”....  Underground music is still thriving and everything else is fucking weird is what I'm trying to say here.

Countress recently made it onto the latest A389 Records mixtape. How did that come about and how exciting was it to see your name alongside that of bands like Integrity on the comp?

Yes we made the cut! I sent out a record to Dom and he was kind enough to not only listen to it but to promote it a little and asked us if we’d be into being apart of the upcoming mixtape and we of course, said yes. Felt great seeing us anyway shape or form recognized in the same breath as Integrity or Ringworm and it turned me personally onto bands like Hexis..It was just a rad feeling to be a part of it.

You’ve played some big support slots recently with Eyehategod and Toxic Holocaust. What did you learn from those bands and how were the experiences overall?  

I learned that even with a SHIT soundguy EHG can still put on one of the best shows this town has seen in years...I learned that Jimmy Bower is the nicest dude ever despite the way he plays a guitar or hits a drum set. And I learned that those bands work their asses off to get their names out to people.

What is the overall heavy music scene like in Nevada and especially Reno? What bands are you currently excited about from your local area? 

Its weird here man, lot more dj’s than heavy bands.

What advice would you give to new bands who are looking to play show and record/release their own music, based on what you have learned so far? 

Honestly if anyone even gives a fuck about my advice i’d really stress that you just gotta be down for your shit. If you're putting all your time and money into your project then spread it like disease. That's how guys like Lemmy and Erik Danielsson from Watain did it... they just kept fucking going no matter what and as time went on everyone heard the name of their bands somewhere..

Random question to end. Have you guys got any funny touring/gig stories that you’d like to share? Or any funny band stories in general?

The one I usually tell is about the time we played a biker bar here in town little less than a year ago... we played pretty well and people were going off pretty good and I looked up and saw a dude bout in his late fifties with his face covered in tattoos, denim cut, long hair just on the other side of my mic staring a hole through me.. he looked like that old bass player in Electric Wizard...entire face fuckin covered.. thought he was gonna fuck me up but soon as we finished playin he walked up to me brisk and determined, looked me dead in my eyes and screamed “You motherfucker’s are down with the fucking sickness! Fuck yea!” and he walked away. It was bitchin man.

You can stream and download Ov Sin via bandcamp below:-

If you want merch, give them a shout via their Facebook page or via e-mail - https://www.facebook.com/worshipcountress/timeline

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