Band Photo: Emperor (?)
From: Telemark, Norway
Last Known Status: Disbanded
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.
As many people are aware, February is Black History Month in the United States of America. Always one to respect cultures and take part in something, we here at MetalUnderground.com are dedicating this month to the history of Black Metal. We will be looking at some of the biggest names in the genre, those who helped to shape it, and some of the promising younger black metal bands in the underground.
The Emperor is dead, long live the Emperor! Or at least that’s how the rallying cry goes these days, and with good reason. Bands like Immortal and Marduk may still be churning out albums in our current decade, but if there is one name synonymous with black metal, it is Emperor. In honor of black metal history month, we previously looked at two bands that influenced early black metal (Sodom and King Diamond), and now we’ll delve into the heart of the subject with a band that represents the core ideals and sounds of the genre.
Despite having only recorded four main studio albums, the last of which came out a full decade ago, Emperor is still one of the most widely known, widely respected, and widely requested black metal bands in existence. The group of kids from Norway who became Emperor probably had no idea what they were going to eventually birth when they started putting together rasping screams and freezing cold atmosphere. Emperor has left a lasting mark on the world of extreme metal, and not just for fans of Norwegian black metal. More...
Metal Wamp and Tryzna Production will release a tribute dedicated to the legendary Norwegian black metal band Emperor. Titled "In Honour Of Icon E," the tribute album will feature several bands presenting cover versions of various Emperor songs.
The currently announced bands taking part in this new tribute are: Taake, Helheim, Troll, Horna, Setherial, Demonical, Saltus, Mesmerized, Necrodeath, Midnight Odyssey, Silva Nigra, Infer, Ancestroal Volkhves, and Karpathia.
A promotional poster for the upcoming Emperor tribute album release can also be viewed at this location.
Sweden's Demonical has issued the following announcement about recording a song for an upcoming Emperor tribute album:
"We have recorded 'Night of the Graveless Souls' for the 'Essence of Icon E - a tribute to Emperor' album. This is the first official tribute album - everything approved by the Emperor members and Candlelight Records - honoring the legendary Norwegian masters of black arts.
"Taake, Horna, Setherial and Helheim are some of the other bands taking part in this journey. The album will be released in co-operation between Metal Swamp and Tryzna Production later in 2011."
You can also check out a promotional poster for the upcoming tribute album at this location.
From the very beginning, heavy metal has been about rebellion against established norms and restrictive social institutions. That theme has never prevented metal from being influenced by the greatest of mankind’s various systems of organized repression, however. Using a guitar and a microphone to express discontent over the actions of parents and governments inevitably led to bands expressing their disgust with the beliefs behind those actions. Whether musicians are singing about it, railing against it, or just simply partaking of it in their free time, religion has an undeniable role to play in nearly every sub-genre of heavy metal.
Plenty of bands have been built up around an anti-religious atmosphere, whether a simple general sentiment or a full-on fervor that drives the music. Despite metal being frequently identified with an anti-religious standpoint, the style has more than its fair share or religious spokesmen. Famous musicians such as Dave Mustaine of Megadeth have never been particularly quiet about their Christian faith, even if they don’t expressly promote it in any given song. Explicitly Christian metalcore acts are also rapidly gaining widespread attention, with groups like August Burns Red taking over Hot Topic and acts like I The Breather touring the U.S.
In general, it would seem the thrash metal world either doesn’t care about Mustaine’s religious affiliation or is willing to overlook it for the sake of the music. Thrash certainly has its share of anti-Christian songs, but it’s a genre that’s more concerned with social issues or an overall aggressive musical feel than anything dealing with supernatural belief systems.
As any fan of metal can easily attest, not all genres are built equal, and what appeals to one metal head is a serious turn off for another. Black metal is easily among the most infamous of all metal styles, having cut its teeth in the early ‘90s across a back drop of church burnings and sensational media stories of power struggles between Satanic leaders. Names like Emperor and Mayhem were starting to make waves and become recognized in the underground not only across Europe, but also in the U.S. and abroad. More...
It's a big week for the Rock Band Network, with loads of new rock and metal songs hitting the Xbox 360, Playstation 3, and Wii platforms. The 360 edition recently saw new tracks from Kataklysm, Emmure, Comeback Kid, and Evansecence. The Wii is catching up to the other consoles, seeing songs from Emperor, Warpath, Evergreen Terrace, Graveyard BBQ, Death Angel, In This Moment, and Otep on December 21st. The complete list of newly added Rock Band Xbox 360 songs, including the non-metal tracks, is as follows:
Don Johansen - "Unbound Soul"
Sabrosa Purr - "Fashion Kills"
Partially Poetic - "She's a Runaway"
Nonpoint - "Alive and Kicking"
Strayplay - "Vuvuzela Anthem"
Evanescence - "Going Under"
Michael John Ahern - "Drive"
Philip Franco - "Jam"
Rainbowdragoneyes - "Creatures ov Deception"
Comeback Kid - "Do Yourself A Favor"
The Word Alive - "The Hounds of Anubis"
Garage A Trois - "Rescue Spreaders"
Emmure - "10 Signs You Should Leave"
Blessthefall - "Hey Baby, Here's That Song You Wanted"
Matt "Chainsaw" Chaney - "Donuts, Go Nuts!"
Kataklysm - "Determined (Vows of Vengeance) (2x Bass Pedal)"
BS (A. Whiteman) - "Swallow My Children"
Raven Quinn - "Catalyst"
Single White Infidel - "The History of Execution (featuring Bluefusion)"
Bojibian - "Hallway"
I Am King Tony - "Stereo Stereo"
Rain Dogs - "Fallen"
Fear of Water - "Firewall"
Driven By Entropy - "Escaping"
Woe, Is Me - "[&] Delinquents" More...
Friday means another round of songs added to the ever growing Rock Band Network, and this week is now exception. Although many previous metal additions to the network have leaned more towards the rock and metalcore end, this week sees some honest-to-Satan real extreme metal. So pull out those drum pads and warm up your vocal chords, because it's time to convince your neighbors hell has spilled onto Earth with live versions of Emperor's "Curse You All Men!" and "Inno a Satana" (although I can't imagine the bass player will be doing much).
The latest Xbox 360 additions added (including the non-metal tracks) are as follows:
The Apples in Stereo - "No One in the World"
Emperor - "Curse All You Men! (Live)"
Emperor - "Inno a Satana (Live)"
Jenium - "Desperate Days"
Valient Thor - "Doublecrossed"
OWL - "Charmed"
Down Factor - "Blinded"
HourCast - "Hell or Hollywood"
a t o m - "To The Otherside"
The Everybody - "Surf Spy"
Tijuana Sweetheart - "No Mercy"
Sleater-Kinney - "Rollercoaster"
Band of Horses - "No One's Gonna Love You"
Brett Merrill and Brendan Carell - "Beautiful Collapse (Stalker)"
Evile - "Plague to End All Plagues"
Bang Camaro - "Blood Red Rock"
Amberian Dawn - "Incubus"
Robby Suavé - "Electro-Heaven"
XTT - "Fighting Back the Bullies"
Stars of Boulevard - "Sabretooth" More...
Guitarist Samoth of the new defunct acts Emperor and Zyklon is auctioning off his Jackson Randy Rhoads through ebay. Samoth issued the following statement about the auction and the historical value of the guitar:
"Having been an official ESP endorsee for several years now, Samoth has now decided to Ebay
his classic Jackson Randy Rhoads guitar. This is your chance to own a true piece of Emperor history! This Jackson Randy Rhoads has been one of Samoth's main guitars many years, both in the studio and on the road. It can be heard on such Emperor recordings as 'IX Equilibrium', 'Prometheus' and even seen on the live DVD's 'Emperial Live Ceremony', 'Live at Wacken'. It has also been used on all the Zyklon album recordings, and can also been seen on the Zyklon live DVD 'Storm Detonation', as well as both Zyklon music video's 'Psyklon Aeon' and 'Core Solution'."
The information on the guitar is as follows:
Model: RR-1 Randy Rhoads USA. Neck-thru body, ebony fretboard with shark-tooth inlays
Bridge: Floyd Rose Orig.
Pickups: Seymore Duncan
Production year: 1998
Norway's The Wretched End, a project with Samoth (Emperor/Zyklon) and Cosmo (Mindgrinder), has issued the following studio update:
"Quick update! Cosmo finished the bass tracks last week. Now we’re finishing up lyrics and working on vocal arrangements. Cosmo will be handling the vocals. The pre-prod arrangements sounds very good. We’ll be back at Stand Studio soon to finalize the recordings."
Norwegian metal outfit Zyklon has announced that they have decided to call it a day, after the band had been inactive for some time. A message from guitarist Samoth (also formerly of Emperor) reads as follows:
"After taking an offical break over two years ago, it has now become the reality that Zyklon is no longer a functional band, and thus the decision is made to formaly split up the band, instead of just letting it decend into nothingness. As a final release from the band, Candlelight Records will later this year put out a boxset, entitled The Storm Manifesto, including all three full-length albums with various bonus material. Zyklon played its final show in Tokyo, Japan on September 28th, 2007.
"All members of Zyklon are still active on various fronts. Samoth is currently in the studio working on the debut album for his new project, The Wretched End. Destructhor is still touring with Morbid Angel, and is still planning to complete a new Myrkskog album with Secthdamon. Trym is mainly working in his tattoo shop, but is scheduled to appear in a new music project soon."
Candlelight Records/Mnemosyne Productions today confirmed that Ihsahn's new album "After" will be released on January 25th in Europe and January 26th in the US. Recorded during the first half of 2009, "After" completes the musician’s planned trilogy of initial recordings. The album also includes appearances by drummer Asgeir Mickelson (Spiral Architect), bassist Lars K. Norberg (Spiral Architect), & saxophonist Jorgen Munkeby (Shining).
"This is my first album written with 8-string guitars as basis which has been both challenging and inspiring,” commented Ihsahn. “I also decided early on that I wanted to mix this album with Jens Bogren (Opeth, Katatonia) and recorded the album with that in mind. Asgeir and Lars have again delivered superb performances. I've always wanted to implement the saxophone in my music; Jorgen’s contributions truly added a silver lining to the album."
"After" was recorded at Ihsahn's own Symphonique Studio, with additional work at Toproom Studio (co-engineered by Borge Finstad). “I have felt more confident and more at ease with the material,” relays Ihsahn. “In letting the songs themselves lead the way I just followed the natural impulses." Early discussions in regards to "After" are indicating more live activities but where and when currently remains a secret.
The track listing for "After" is as follows:
1. The Barren Lands
2. A Grave Inversed
4. Frozen Lakes on Mars
7. Heavens Black Sea
8. On the Shores
Ihsahn has issued the following announcement about auctioning off a guitar he used during his time with Emperor, Peccatum, and his solo work:
"Over the years, Ihsahn’s guitar-collection has grown considerably, especially since he started working with Ibanez, and space is becoming an issue. His old Esp is already on it’s way to the Rockheim museum in Trondheim and now we’ve decided to auction the trusted Jackson DK1.
"This Jackson Dinky has served as one of Ihsahn's main guitars for over a decade both in the studio and on the road. It can be heard on such Emperor recordings as 'IX Equilibrium', 'Prometheus' and even seen on the Live DVD 'Emperial Live Ceremony', several Peccatum albums and his first solo album; 'The Adversary', doing it’s last service on the first Emperor reunion shows in 2006. The guitar is in very good condition and has few cosmetic flaws.
"Comes in original case and can be signed depending on the buyers wishes.
Model: DK1 USA
Fretboard: Ebony with shark-tooth inlays
Bridge: Floyd Rose Orig.
Pickups: Seymore Duncan
Prod. Year: 1997
"Shipment costs comes on top, and will depend on where in the world the guitar ends up."
GameDaily.com is reporting that the track listing for the upcoming heavy metal themed video game "Brutal Legend," which features the voice of Jack Black, has been revealed. The projected track listing can be viewed below. "Brutal Legend" is set to be released on October 13th in North America and October 16th in Europe. More...
Read the full article at GameDaily.com.
Mortiis has issued the following announcement about selling the bass guitar he used during his time with Norwegian black metal band Emperor:
"And for those who might care, we´ve still got that original Emperor bass guitar I used back in ´92. We ended up not selling it the first time around, to be brutally frank, it didn't reach a very great price, and we pulled it out. Click here to check it out.
"If anyone has any questions about the guitar, you can email us at email@example.com and we´ll get back to you asap."
The official MySpace page of Peter Beste, who published the photographic documentary book True Norwegian Black Metal, has been issued with the following announcement about an exhibit in Denmark:
"I am pleased to announce that my True Norwegian Black Metal exhibit will be showing in Copenhagen at V1 Gallery. Opening party on Friday Feb 13. Come say hello!"
In a recent interview with Sevenstrings, Ishahn of Emperor fame commented on his latest album and rumors about whether Ross Robinson was slated to produce the fifth Emperor album. Excerpts from the interview are below.
SS: When I first started preparing for this interview it dawned on me that, for a guy who's only in his thirties, you've already achieved an amazing amount as a musician. How does it feel to know that you've recorded albums that have defined a genre and are now regarded as classics?
I: In general, I think I’ve been very lucky having had this as a career since I was 16 when we signed to Candlelight in 1991. Very lucky considering; I’m from Norway (which in itself does not spell out "potential international music-career") and I started my career by playing one of the most infamous and un-commercial forms of music to date. Things are different now, but 1991 was Death Metal era, and Black Metal was close to nothing. Getting back to your question; it is a double-edged sword, I guess. I am of course proud of previous albums and things I’ve achieved. However, with Emperor kind of living a life on it’s own, it is sometimes like being my own little-brother, with all my current work being compared to things I did as a teenager. At 32 I do not feel retired, I am just as passionate about my music as I ever was and I still believe my best is yet to come! More...
Read the full article at Seven Strings.
Abigail Williams has officially disclosed the addition of drummer Samus Paulicelli (ex-Mutiny) to their line-up. You can see Paulicelli in action here and below. Abigail Williams had utilized a guest drummer during the recent recording of their new album.
"In The Shadows Of A Thousands Suns" as the title of its new album, due this summer via Candlelight Records. The recording was done in Notodden, Norway, with guest drummer Trym (EMPEROR, ZYKLON) laying down tracks at Akkerhaugen Lydstudio with engineer Thorbjørn Akkerhuagen (EMPEROR, ZYKLON, WINDIR). More...
Black Smoke's official remix of Emperor's classic "I Am The Black Wizrads" has been posted online at the official EMPEROR myspace profile. The band's label, Death To Music Productions, states: "90% of the people hate it (as expected) which is actually (in our opinions) the best reaction it could of got!"
You can listen to a clearer version of it here (along with The Bombs Of Enduring Freedom's remix of Solefald) at a page created to host J. Fogarty's DnB metal remixes done by his current projects.
In related news, re-activated cult black metallers Old Forest have recieved the blessing of Samoth himself (The Lord of Silence and guitarist of EMPEROR) to upload their version of the Emperor classic "Ancient Queen" (taken from the classic 1991 Emperor 7" vinyl EP "As The Shadows Rise"). This cover version can be heard exclusively at the DEATH TO MUSIC myspace profile.
The next release from DEATH TO MUSIC Productions will be BRING YOUR OWN KNIFE's "My Life's A Curse - How's Yours" as a FREE download EP from this Swedish death metal band in the style of At The Gates. "My Life's a Curse" will be available to download starting May 31 on Death To Music's website.
Candlelight Records has confirmed May 27 as the American release date for "angL", the second solo album from former Emperor vocalist/guitarist Ihsahn. The album features nine new songs and will have guest performances by drummer Asgeir Mickelson (Borknagar), bassist Lars Koppang Norberg (Spiral Architect) and Mikael Akerfeldt (Opeth).
Recorded and mixed by Ihsahn at Symphonique Studios in Notodden, Norway (the studio owned by Ihsahn and partner Heidi Tveitan), additional work was completed by Jens Bogren (Opeth, Katatonia, Amon Amarth) at Fascination Street Studios and Borge Finnstad (Mayhem, Borknagar) at Toproom Studios. Commenting about the record’s musical collaborations, "Asgeir did such a great job on my last album, that while in preproduction for angL I programmed a much more generic drum track to leave more creative license for him. It was on Asgeir’s recommendation that Lars contribute to the album. They both recorded at Asgeir’s studio (Multimono Studios) and it came together nicely."
Commenting about working with Mikael Akerfeldt, "Mikael and I go back as friends since the early nineties. We met up when Emperor headlined Wacken in 2006 and had a great time watching bands together. We talked then about doing something together at some point and in spite of busy schedules on both sides this luckily came to happen. Rough mixes of "Unhealer" with lyrics were sent to Mikael with the idea for both clean and growl vocals. He worked on it during his off-time recording the new Opeth album. I could not be any happier with the results."
Writing for angL began early in 2007 and picked up momentum after the Emperor US performances early last summer. "I knew to a greater extent where I wanted to go with this album, though I feel all albums are a kind of struggle to overcome. Regardless of how many you make, it never gets any easier." An aggressive schedule to complete the album, in addition to recording projects for Hardingrock (in which Ihsahn also contributes) and Starofash (released February 26), Ihsahn completed album tracking in early December.
American documentary photographer Peter Beste's book "True Norwegian Black Metal" will be issued on May 15 via Vice Books.
In the last two decades a bizarre and violent musical subculture called black metal has emerged in Norway. It has its roots in a heady blend of splatter movies, heavy metal music, Satanism, Pagan mythology and adolescent angst. In the early-mid 1990s, members of this extremist underground committed murder, burned down medieval wooden churches, and desecrated graveyards. What started as juvenile frenzy came to symbolize the start of a war against Christianity, a return to the worship of the ancient Norse gods, and the complete rejection of mainstream society.
Peter Beste has spent the last eight years working in the milieu of this insulated and secretive community. Beste's access and insight has been absolutely without precedent, resulting in an amazing photographic journey. Beste has earned the respect and trust of this impenetrable, suspicious and often elitist community. With each visit Beste saw more, photographed more and eventually accumulated enough material for this book. "True Norwegian Black Metal" is a visual testimonial to this subculture. Peter Beste and editor Johan Kugelberg have created a unique photographic narrative that explores black metal from a truly visceral perspective.
With extensive contributions from the personal archive of Jon "Metalion" Kristiansen, publisher of the original Norwegian black metal publication Slayer magazine, a unique opportunity is here presented to see original artifacts and ephemera from this secluded rock community, and to read accounts of these events in the words of the people who were actually there at the time.
"True Norwegian Black Metal" offers confrontational live performance photographs of a savage subculture set alongside the stark beauty and natural allure of a landscape often shrouded in darkness.
The book is comprised of:
* 160 pages of photographs of the following bands/individuals: Nocturno Culto and Fenriz of DARKTHRONE; Necrobutcher, Hellhammer, Blasphemer, and Maniac of MAYHEM; Samoth of EMPEROR; Frost of SATYRICON; ENSLAVED; Abbath of IMMORTAL; Gaahl, Infernus, King, and Kvitrafn of GORGOROTH; Nattefrost of CARPATHIAN FOREST; 1349; DIMMU BORGIR; ILDJARN; AURA NOIR; and many more
* Interviews/quotes from Frost (1349), Abbath (IMMORTAL), Fenriz (DARKTHRONE), Gaahl (GORGOROTH)
* Essay by authors and Jon "Metalion" Kristiansen, publisher of the original Norwegian black metal publication Slayer magazine, including 32 pages of original artifacts, photographs, ephemera, and personal accounts by black metal's key figures from Krisiansen's personal archive."
For more information, visit www.peterbeste.com.
Beste has scheduled a photo exhibition beginning May 8 at Steven Kasher Gallery in New York City, with London, Stockholm, Oslo, Berlin, Los Angeles shows to follow.
Peter Beste on Norway's NRK talking about his black metal pictures: More...
OPETH frontman Mikael Åkerfeldt has recorded a guest appearance on the track "Unhealer" from the forthcoming solo album from former EMPEROR vocalist/guitarist Ihsahn, entitled "angL".
Commented Ihsahn: "We've been talking about doing something for a while and I'm really happy it finally came together. Needless to say, Mikael's performance is nothing short of amazing!"
Asgeir Mickelson and Lars Norberg (both of SPIRAL ARCHITECT) were responsible for laying down the drum and bass tracks on the CD, respectively. Ihsahn said, "Asgeir and Lars have delivered a rock-solid foundation for the whole album. Pounding blast-beats to slow fretless passages are all performed with great precision."
"angL" is tentatively due mid-spring via Mnemosyne Productions/Candlelight Records.
Ihsahn previously described the musical direction of the new CD as "a natural progression from 'The Adversary' , but with a somewhat heavier touch."
"The Adversary" entered the Norwegian album chart at position No. 33 upon its release in 2006. The CD was written and recorded over a one-year period at Symphonique Studios in Norway and features a guest appearance by Garm from ULVER on one song. All music and lyrics for "The Adversary" were written and performed by Ihsahn with exception of drums, which were played by Asgeir Mickelson (BORKNAGAR, SPIRAL ARCHITECT).