According to the Countess head Orlok, the debut album The Gospel of the Horned One was purposely made to sound as bad as possible. However, it is not noisy exactly, it is just recorded and mixed poorly. Nonetheless, The Gospel of the Horned One provides some great songs which some people might consider even legendary. Countess has never reached a big follower base, so the term legendary is a bit subjective, of course.
The guitar tone is pretty weak, the drums are distant somewhere in the background and the bass is quite powerless. But in a way this is what makes The Gospel of the Horns an interesting album, because even if the production is what it is, the compositions - no matter how sloppy played - are still audible and enjoyable. The music is often mid-tempo but there’s some faster songs such as ”Doomed to Die”. Synths appear every now and then, also. If we want to compare the album to something, Bathory and Hellhammer could be mentioned as clear influences.
The highlights of the album reside near the end: ”Under the Sign of the Celtic Cross” has a great and surprisingly catchy guitar riff throughout it and ”Kneel Before the Master’s Throne” is a cult legendary song from the band that they have almost always included in the live set as the last song. I wouldn’t call The Gospel of the Horned One a total masterpiece, but it’s a good album of more-or-less traditional black metal, released as early as 1993 which says something already.