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Emperor

Emperor Photo

Band Photo: Emperor (?)

Formed: 1991
From: Telemark, Norway
Last Known Status: Disbanded

Background

Beginning life as a trio in the spring of '91 with Samoth (drums/vocals), Ihsahn (guitar) and Mortiis (bass). The band quickly recorded and circulated the now legendary "Wrath of the Tyrant" demo. It was this that brought them to the attention of the then still fledgling Candlelight record label . A deal was inked, Samoth moved to guitar and Bard Faust was recruited for the now vacant drum stool. By the end of the year the band had been once more into the studio to record their half of the "Emperor / Enslaved" split CD which was to eventually surface early in the following year. Mortiis departed for the band, and was after a while replaced by Tchort.

In autumn of '93 a series of headline grabbing events (which are now quite sufficiently documented. For further reading check "Lords Of Chaos". Emperor would suffer the temporary loss of Samoth and the permanent loss of Faust, due to prison-sentences. However, before Samoth has to do time, the band managed to put together a new line-up, with new bass-player Alver, and a session-drummer.

Even though the band was seriously disturbed by the unpleasant confrontations of the imprisonment's and line-up difficulties, the entity of Emperor came out even stronger in the end. By the time Samoth was paroled, Trym (ex. Enslaved) had joined the band on a permanent basis, and the bones of what would become their most epic and majestic material to date were taking shape.

By the end of '96, now fully prepared and rehearsed, they were back in the studio. First firing off the "Reverence" EP to announce their return to the fold and then following up in early '97 with what is without doubt the single most ambitious and important black metal release to date......"Anthems To The Welkin At Dusk". An album of epic savagery. Not only beautiful but bestial in it's wide ranging scope.

Emperor have now moved so far ahead of the field that it would be unfair to even consider them a black metal band any longer. Utilising elements of their more traditional metal roots, operatic vocals and of course their trademark symphonic riffing the band have created an album so mature that it may well take the rest of the competition years to catch up.

Latest Emperor News

Below is our complete Emperor news coverage, including columns and articles pertaining to the band. Some articles listed may be indirectly related, such as side projects of the band members, etc.

Note: We began associating news directly with bands in late 2003. Therefore, earlier band news may not be listed on this page.

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Report

Graspop Metal Meeting 2017: Day One

The Graspop Metal Meeting festival in Belgium has become one of the biggest and most popular events on the European summer circuit. Seemingly every year they put together a fantastic line up, mixing the classics, the young blood and cult favourites to really give something for all head bangers. This year was no different, with such legends as Scorpions, Deep Purple and Blue Oyster Cult all booked, as well as plenty for the kids like Chelsea Smile and Architects. It all promised to be a hell of a weekend and indeed it was.

Though the festival doesn't begin it's "official" schedule until Friday, weekend campers arrive the day before and are met with plenty on offer, including a number of live bands and the Metal Cafe. Being too tired after travelling from England to Belgium, we were only able to catch one full performance, though we also caught the last ten minutes of Belgian stoner metal act, King Hiss, who would probably please fans of Mastodon but left little impact. This was followed by the very short journey to the Jupiler Stage, which housed most of the weekend's hardcore and deathcore groups to watch Dutch hardcore veterans, Born From Pain. The quintet are regarded as one of Europe's best hardcore groups and it's easy to see why, particularly in the live setting where their brand of positive energy spreads to the audience very quickly, making for a very enjoyable live set. More...

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Headline News

Emperor Reuniting For "Anthems 2017" Shows

Following the previous 20th anniversary shows for "In The Nightside Eclipse" a few years back, Emperor is again reunited for a slew of dates in remembrance of follow-up album "Anthems To The Welkin At Dusk."

Front man Ihsahn just issued this update:

"Finished a very successful pre-prod with Emperor this week for the upcoming #anthemstothewelkinatdusk2017 shows! Original hand painted backdrop from 1997 in the background to set the mood. Thanks to Konsert-Service as and @tonedeafproductionsdk for making this sound right both on stage and for everyone attending this summer!"

Stay tuned for full details on the dates and venues to be announced shortly.

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New Bands Added To Brutal Assault 2017

A bunch of new bands have been announced for the 22nd edition of Brutal Assault, which takes place this year in Fortress Josefov near Jaromer in the Czech Republic on August 9-12. Returning once more are heavy-weights Hatebreed, who last graced the fortress stages in 2012 and 2013. This is reportedly in response to festival-goers requests for more hardcore in the line-up.

The Dillinger Escape Plan will be including the festival in their series of farewell dates. It looks like the band's appearance here won't be affected by the bus crash that caused some European tour dates to be cancelled last month. Dillinger last played Brutal Assault in 2015.

Thrash veterans Overkill, touring in support of their recently released 18th studio album, "The Grinding Wheel", have also been added. No stranger to the fortress stage, Overkill last appeared at the festival in 2013.

Helsinki's Wintersun are newcomers to Brutal Assault, appearing for the first time. Can we assume they will be playing material from their long-awaited third album? There's no official word as yet. More...

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Emperor Complete Works Set Released

Remember that Emperor complete discography boxed set announced by Blood Music back in '14? It's finally finished and been shipped off to all the lucky bastards who jumped on it while it was still available. The label issued this announcement:

"Nearly 4 years from start to finish, the Emperor official 'The Complete Works' box is finally finished. All production parts finished and shipped to everyone from whom payment was received.

"A huge thanks to everyone who pre-ordered this set and patiently waited during the entire ordeal. Needless to say, every single person who worked on this set was driven completely insane by it. That's not hyperbole whatsoever, this set kicked the shit out of everyone who touched it.

"In the end, it took around 30 trips to the post office where I took up the entire back area to the point that the postal workers couldn't even move around for several days.

"I honestly wish more people could own the set, but due to the entire logistics of it and the sparing no expense portion of its production, it's only going to remain in the hands of a limited amount of people, sadly. When you build something where money is no object, that's the unfortunate side effect. But the response so far has been incredible - I've heard many times over that the value to quality of the box set was very well worth it. More...

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OpEd

Metal Must Evolve

My biggest issue with metal in the 2010s is that in contrast to the past three decades, there's just a lack of creativity. Newer metalcore is being increasingly influenced by nu-metal and post-hardcore as the new musicians who are in their 20s and 30s are now playing music that's entirely an amalgam of what they grew up with as teens rather than creating anything new.

Blackgaze was novel for the first few years but now feels like the light beer version of black metal at this point that doesn't have the same edge that metal is supposed to have. I'm not sure if I want black metal to have a kinder, gentler, dare I say, “cuddlier” face when compared to the antisocial behavior that defined the second wave. When I hear a band like Alcest or Deafheaven, I don't feel like these are maniacs with serious mental issues precisely because it sounds way too calculated and professional for my aging ears.

Djent is nice but often feels too monotonous to really do justice to how technical it is. For, “progressive metal” the songwriting lacks the same level of unexpected changes in direction that make progressive rock acts like Rush and Yes so appealing. Yeah, Djent is heavy but it's also often predicable when unconventional songwriting is half of what separates metal and makes it so special and unique. Blackened sludge on the othe rhand is only going to appeal to people who want extremely raw production... who will never be great enough in number to establish a trend rather than a fad. More...

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The Wretched End: Pre-Release Full-Album Streaming

The Wretched End - the studio alliance of former Emperor/Zyklon guitarist Samoth, Mindgrinder/Windir member Cosmo, and Dark Funeral drummer Nils Dominator Fjellström - premieres the pre-release full-album stream of the band's upcoming new album "In These Woods, From These Mountains", which will be out in stores tomorrow April 22 via Indie Recordings.

Check out now "In These Woods, From These Mountains" in its entirety below.

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Ihsahn (Emperor) Streaming New Song "Pressure"

Ihsahn (Emperor) premieres a new song today entitled "Pressure", taken from his upcoming new sixth full-length album "Arktis", which will be out in stores April 08 via Candlelight Records and Spinefarm Records.

Check out "Pressure" now below. The album's complete track listing is as follows:

1. Disassembled
2. Mass Darkness
3. My Heart is of the North
4. South Winds
5. In the Vaul
6. Until I too Dissolve
7. Pressure
8. Frail
9. Crooked Red Line
10. Celestial Violence
11. Til Tor Ulven (Søppelsolen) More...

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"In The Nightside Eclipse" Converted To Sheet Form

Composer Martin Romberg has taken on the task of transcribing influential black metal into full classical sheet music, beginning with Emperor's 1994 masterpiece "In the Nightside Eclipse."

"Martin has clearly put a lot of time and effort into transferring the 'Nightside Eclipse' record into actual sheet music," said original Emperor bassist Mortiis, "and it's cool to be a small part of that."

The 72-page score includes all instruments and chord analysis for study and performance, published by Raven Music Editions, a sheet music publisher founded in 2014 and specializing in producing scores from dark alternative and black metal music genres. The score is available at this location.

In the 20 years since the release of the album, Mortiis has gone on an eponymous journey that began as solo dark, ambient music and has since evolved into a full band playing equally dark, angry, industrial-influenced heavy music. Mortiis' long-awaited new album "The Great Deceiver" will be available March 4th, 2016. More...

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Emperor's "Complete Works" Set Up For Pre-Order

Remember that "complete works" Emperor box set announced back last year? It's finally done, and will be available in three versions: marble, black, and clear, all of which include a whopping 24 LPs covering everything Emperor ever released.

Each edition is limited to 222 copies and is up for pre-order now via Blood Music for 700 Euro. The marble edition includes:

50 center labels
26 heavyweight inner sleeves
24 heavyweight LPs
10 heavyweight triple-gatefold jackets
4 heavy card stock inserts
3 posters
1 heavyweight 7"
1 92-page hardcover book
1 heavyweight 7" gatefold jacket
1 two-part heavy-board outer box
1 slipmat
1 cassette tape (for 2015 orders only)
1 signed lyrics sheet (for 2015 orders only)

* Please note that the records are pressed by hand with actual physical materials, so the amount of marbling will vary from record to record. More...

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OpEd

Heavy Metal Video Games: The Return Of Music Games

With the king of music games about to make a triumphant return in less than two weeks, it seemed like a good time to take another look at the limited offerings available where video games collide with heavy metal.

For those who missed our previous three articles discussing various games with heavy metal soundtracks, be sure to go back and check 'em out (and let us know if you end up playing or re-playing any of these gems!):

Part 1: the amazing Brutal Legend, Saints Row III, Killing Floor 2, Pain Killer, and Guilty Gear X2 Reload

Part 2: Splatterhouse, Twisted Metal 2, The Witcher's bonus music disc, and Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost And The Damned.

Part 3 (the retro edition!): Rock And Roll Racing, Beavis And Butthead, F-Zero X, Earthbound, and Heavy Metal Geomatrix

Rock Band

There was this utterly glorious time where console gaming was flush with a stable lineup of music games and every weekend involved a bottle of something hard and your best friends making drunken fools of themselves in your living room till 2 AM. Typically your neighbors would not be amused, but fuck them because they don't like metal anyway.

Unfortunately that time died when Activision decided to flood the market with an absurd number of Guitar Hero entries and the era of the music game came to a sudden, crashing halt.

Obviously the Rock Band titles had plenty of rock tunes, but a handful of legitimate metal was also involved in the various incarnations and weekly DLC updates, adding in the likes of Emperor, Machine Head, and a whole lot more. Where things really took off was in the Rock Band Network, which let bands make their own tracks, seeing tons of underground groups add in their own music.

It was a truly sad day when Harmonix announced there would be no more DLC coming to Rock Band back in 2013, but an unexpected light at the end of the tunnel appeared just a few months ago. Back in March, Harmonix made a whole lot of fans happy by officially announcing Rock Band 4, which seemed like nothing more than a pipe dream up till that point.

Due out October 6, Rock Band 4's launch lineup of metal will include Dream Theater, Ozzy Osbourne, Scorpions, Baby Metal, System Of A Down, and more, with loads of metallic downloadable songs no doubt prepped and ready to drop each week.

Needless to say I'm greatly looking forward to it, except that unfortunately Guitar Hero is also returning. Maybe Activision can keep it in its pants this time around and not kill music gaming again by releasing six or so games a year.

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New Rock Band Finally Coming?

Remember late night drinking while belting out some Metallica, Devildriver, or even Emperor with your buddies back when music games where still a thing?

For awhile there they were the biggest thing in gaming, with friends getting together every weekend to drag out the fog machines, drums, plastic guitars, and mics. Unfortunately over saturation with too many games, released too quickly, and featuring too many different large investment devices, prematurely killed the genre.

Rock Band hasn't released a full game since 2010 with "Rock Band 3," and the era of the game truly came to an end in 2013 when no more official DLC was being released.

It looks like the current generation of consoles (PS4 and Xbox One) will be getting a new Rock Band iteration however. Harmonix, the creator of Rock Band, recently issued a survey asking fans if they'd like to see a new version of the game for the latest consoles, after which a variety of sites such as Tech Times and Polygon released stories about how the game is now in active development. More...

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Emperor Bloodstock Footage Available

The organizers of the Bloodstock Festival 2014 have released footage online of Norwegian black metal maestros Emperor performing "The Majesty Of The Nightsky" from the band's recent "In The Nightside Eclipse" reunion shows. Check it out below.

In related news, Emperor front man Ihsahn is currently working on a new solo album. Read his latest statement about the upcoming work at this location.

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Ihsahn Working On New Album

After Emperor reunited for a run of 20th anniversary shows, Ihsahn is back working on new solo material and will apparently no longer be using the members of Leprous as his backing band. Ihsahn had this to say:

"Back on track with new music and new live shows!

"First of all, the 'In the Nightside Eclipse' 20th anniversary shows with Emperor have been a big priority for me in 2014 and I would like to thank everyone on stage, behind the stage and in front of the stage for making this celebration such a great experience!

"Also, a special thanks to Ibanez Guitars, Blackstar Amplification, Rotosound Music Strings and Norsk Musikk Distribusjon for all the continued support on the road!

"Now, this has not kept me entirely busy for the whole year, so since January I’ve also been writing material for the next Ihsahn album, partly interrupted by rehearsals, shows and a total rebuild of our studio.

"On the live front, several shows are all ready announced for 2015, and I’m excited to tell you that I’ll be back on stage with a new, handpicked line-up that I am confident will take my songs to a new dimension.

"On that note, I’d like to thank Leprous for a fantastic collaboration over many years!! They have been invaluable in getting my songs to the stage and we’ve had some great trips around the world. Maybe now we’ll actually get to watch each other’s shows

"That’s it from an autumn-dressed Telemark……Now, to the batcave!"

The forthcoming solo album from Ihsahn will follow last year's "Das Seelenbrechen" (reviewed here), an experimental release that saw the musician going in a very different direction from previous albums. More...

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Report

Roundtrip To Hel, Part III

[Continued from Part II]

SUNDAY, 6/29 - 13:00

“We have less than thirty minutes to catch the bus.”

THAT gets me moving. Did I mention I’ve developed Midnight Sun Syndrome since arriving in Finland? According to the current DSM edition, its chief symptom is “a complete ignorance and lack of regard for the time of day and nonchalant indifference toward tardiness; see also ‘The Casual Southerner.’”

I enter the bathroom. Nera, a shy, tiny black cat, scampers between my legs and out the door. I almost trip and plant a bare foot smack in the litter box. I’m still waking up.

As the mornings have ticked by - it’s still “morning” to us this weekend - it’s gotten more and more difficult to grease the joints, clear the skull, and get going. Tuska is not a camping festival, so I’ll be damned if I’m going to forsake the comforts of home at my disposal. A shit, shower, and shave is as good as a full-immersion baptism after a night of drinking.

My ill-advised windmilling at Omnium Gatherum last night really did a twisting number on my hair, which is in danger of Chris Barnesing. Lacking a brush, I clumsily yank apart the knotted strands and clumps cemented together with dried sweat.

And then, Rachel’s muffled yell over the running shower, through the closed door: “You ready?” Not even close. More...

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Bloodstock Live Stream Available This Weekend

This weekend's Bloodstock Open Air Festival will be streamed live over at this location, or by simply watching it in the player here:


Live Stream - Bloodstock Festival 2014 by BloodstockFestival

The schedule of acts set to be streamed live is as follows (all times are BST):

Friday, August 8th:

Bloodshot Dawn - 11.00am
Entombed AD - 12:00
Primordial - 13.05
Flotsam & Jetsam - 14:10
Prong - 15.20
Triptykon - 16.35
Dimmu Borgir - 19.30
Down - 21:15

Saturday, August 9th:

Evil Scarecrow - 11.00am
Shining - 12.00
Decapitated - 13:05
Orphaned Land - 14.10
Lacuna Coil - 16.35
Children of Bodom - 17.55
Carcass - 19.40
Emperor - 21:30

Sunday, August 10th:

Arthemis - 11.00am
Aborted - 12.00
ReVamp - 13.05
Biohazard - 14.10
Obituary - 16.35
Amon Amarth - 19.30
Megadeth - 21.15 More...

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Bloodstock Festival Reveals Full 2014 Lineup

The final bands have now been announced for this year's edition of the Bloodstock Festival, which takes place from August 7th - 10th (get ticket info and other details over here). The organizers of the festival comment:

"The ‘Metal 2 The Masses’ finals have rocked to a conclusion and some more lucky young bands are joining the New Blood stage at Catton Park next month, plus there's a few last additions for the Sophie and Jagermeister stages.

"Balls Deep bring their trad groove metal to the Sophie Lancaster stage. The Brit outfit have been busy honing their ‘Pro-Pain cut with Black Sabbath’ sound, coming on like the bastard sons of Pantera and classic heavy metal.

"Over on the Jagermeister stage, female-fronted power metallers Aceldama will be impressing allcomers with their high octane performance and audience interaction, while New Blood stage stoner rocker’s Resin will be offering an additional acoustic spin on their new material.

"Meanwhile, the New Blood stage welcomes the last clutch of winners from the last batch of M2TM roadshow finals. Goat Leaf bring their doom groove from the Sheffield heats, Oakhaart’s tech death noise hails from Gloucestershire, impressing judges at the Bristol event, Sinpathetic grace us with their death metal from the Preston night, Eradikator’s thrash metal won out in Birmingham, and lastly but not least, Cacodaemonic's unholy, neo-classical infused death metal represents Nottingham."

The full 2014 festival lineup will be as follows: More...

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Bloodstock Announces Art Exhibition

The work of JRR Tolkien has long been a favorite muse of rock and metal artists. This year's Bloodstock bands Megadeth, Amon Amarth, and Dimmu Borgir all have used Tolkien references in their work, along with many others (Nightwish, Gorgoroth and even the likes of Led Zeppelin to name but a few).

Now Bloodstock’s co-founder, fantasy artist Paul Raymond Gregory, is thrilled to bring the two themes together and launch a major art exhibition at Bloodstock this year.

Christened the Rock and Metal (RAM) Gallery, the exhibition is to be a permanent addition to the festival and will provide a showcase for a changing selection of rock-related art and memorabilia. Paul Raymond Gregory’s extensive body of work includes many famous album sleeves and monolithic pieces inspired by the writings of JRR Tolkien. Paul’s first ever album cover commission was in 1984 for Saxon’s "Crusader," so launching the RAM Gallery on the 30th anniversary of Paul’s artistic debut in the metal world is fitting indeed.

This year’s first showing will include all the original Bloodstock festival artwork, going right back to the first indoor event in 2001, plus a wide range of Paul’s album art including the sleeve of Saxon’s latest release "Sacrifice." Representing Paul’s Tolkien work, there will also be a large triptych inspired by The Silmarillion opus (from whence Marillion derived its name). The painting will be mounted in a bespoke hand-carved frame created by framer John Davis. Although John has framed much of Paul’s other work, the triptych features the first frame actually designed by Paul himself. In addition, Paul will be signing copies of his book "Beyond Time And Place," which showcases artwork from the breadth of his career.

The exhibition will also include a small selection of bespoke handmade guitars created by young artist/musician Cynosure who is working to re-define the guitar, not just as a functional instrument, but as a working, playable piece of art.

The current Bloodstock Festival 2014 lineup is shaping up as follows: More...

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Emperor Set From Hellfest Available Online

The Emperor is dead - long live the Emperor! Only scratch that first part, because the legendary Norwegian black metal band is back together to celebrate the 20th anniversary of "In The Nightside Eclipse."

At the recent Hellfest 2014 gathering Emperor performed the album in full, and now footage from the show is available online. Check it out below, thanks to Thrash Zone Radio.

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Hellfest Live Stream Available This Weekend

Hellfest Open Air takes places this weekend in Clisson, France and many great acts are set to appear. If you are unable to make the festival, then you can enjoy some of the bands via a live stream at this location. Click on the link and scroll to the bottom.

Among the acts set to be streamed (check out the link for the official "countdown" clock for each act):

June 20th:

M.O.D.
Sepultura
Therapy?
Sabaton
Death Angel
Watain
Turisas

June 21st:

Eluvietie
Soulfly
Emperor
Dagoba
Shining
We Came As Romans
Skyclad
Tsjuder

June 22nd:

Vreid
Solstafir
Equilibrium
Urfaust
Behemoth
Angra More...

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Emperor Performs First Show Since 2007

The almighty Emperor is currently performing a string of live shows supporting the 20th anniversary of "In The Nightside Eclipse."

Yesterday - June 7th - was the band's first official performance since 2007. Footage has now been posted online courtesy of YouTube user Niclas Johansson of Emperor performing "Into The Infinity Of Thoughts" at Sweden Rock Fest. Check it out below.

Emperor will also be releasing "The Complete Works" box set via Blood Music, with details available at this location.

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