2.Defenders Of Midgard 03:38
3.Behind The Dark 04:25
The original intent with this EP was to herald the beginning of a trilogy of releases to relate the tale of Countess Bathory, the story of whom most of you will already know but just to recap: Countess Elizabeth Báthory (August 7, 1560 – August 21, 1614) was from the renowned Bathory family. She is possibly the most prolific female serial killer in history and is remembered as the "Blood Countess" and as the "Bloody Lady of Čachtice", after the castle near Trenčín in the Hungary (today's Slovakia), where she spent most of her adult life.
The case has led to legendary accounts of the Countess bathing in the blood of virgins in order to retain her youth and subsequently also to comparisons with Vlad III the Impaler of Wallachia, on whom the fictional Count Dracula is partly based, and to modern nicknames of the Blood Countess and Countess Dracula.
This 2002 7" - 'a story about blood and everlasting life' - was due to be followed by the "Erszebet Bathory (Eine Mär Aus Fleisch) Kapitel II" 7" EP except that it never came about - the lengthy 22 minute song appears instead on the "Vampyr" CD EP from 2003 and not in vinyl-format. A third 7" EP covering the Venom track "Countess Bathory" was also advertised, but again was not released in this format (and indeed was recently covered in instrumental-only format in a Blog piece from 3 November on the hand-designed promo CD that Alex kindly sent me). Interestingly, another Bathory-themed track 'Bathori (Sturm einer Winternacht)' appeared on the "Nosferat" tape release also from 2003.
So just 100 of these original EP's were pressed (Nazgul's is #28) and correspondingly they are now quite hard to track down. A few come up for sale online once in a while, but you'll have to be patient if you want to lay your hands on one now as it's been a goodly time since Nazgul did actually last see one up for grabs.
Musically the 8 minutes plus Elisabetha track commences with a slow, plodding synthesiser intro before a mixed vocal approach of the deeply spoken male vocals (typical of the style of early Elisabetha narration, this time telling the story of the Countess) and female choral interludes (rather uplifting, actually, as opposed to the tortured screaming of female souls in the background that you might expect to hear!) Following some slow, atmospheric and downright eerie opening minutes a processional style march of drums and keyboards breaks out at 3:15 with a positively evil buzz-saw synth riff, before the track marches off down discordant and somewhat avant-garde avenues before an unexpected crescendo of violins at 7:26 heralds not the classically influenced ending or film-noir score that seems to be on the way, but a black metal assault to take you to the end of the track.
Another winning outing from the dangerous duo: Blutgraf Gah' Agsheblah & Graf Alexander zu Sankt Magdalen!