"some music was meant to stay underground..."


Emperor Photo

Band Photo: Emperor (?)

Formed: 1991
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.

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Averse Sefira To Open For Emperor In New York

Texan black metal outfit AVERSE SEFIRA are confirmed to perform in support of EMPEROR on Friday, June 1st, at BB King's in New York. The trio recently completed a North American tour with label-mates 1349, and they are slated to enter the studio in September to record their debut release for Candlelight.

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More Bands Added To Finland's Tuska Open Air

The 2007 Tuska Open Air Festival is scheduled for June 29th - July st at Kaisaniemi Park in Helsinki, Finland. ISIS, MISERY INDEX, THUNDERSTONE, TURISAS, PROFANE OMEN are the latest acts confirmed.

Acts on the bill now include: More...

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Emperor Auction Off Guitarist's Classic Axe

The guitar used by Samoth on EMPEROR's "In the Nightside Eclipse", SATYRICON's "The Shadowhrone", ZYKLON B's "Blood Must be Shed", the THOU SHALT SUFFER demo and EP aswell as the first EMPEROR mini-tour of England in 1993 is being auctioned via eBay.

The guitar is a Kramer and comes in its original hardcase, equipped with an EMG81, but the original Duncan Humbucker will follow guitar. The instrument is fully playable and was recently used on the SCUM "Gospels for the Sick" album, but bears its marks from a history of violent, black metal shredding. The coolest detail about this axe is the "Necrocannibalisticdeathnoise" sticker on the head, covering the Kramer logo.

The auction ends on April 6 at 16:24:22 PDT. More information, including photos, is available on the this location.

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Emperor Schedules Two European Appearances

After triumphantly headlining the annual Wacken Open Air Festival and their triumphant wrecking of London’s Astoria last year, EMPEROR today announce two rare appearances at European festivals this summer:

June 24 Clisson (France), Hellfest
June 30 Helsinki (Finland), Tuska Open Air

“The demand for further EMPEROR shows in Europe has been overwhelming”, comments guitarist Samoth. “We have been looking at several offers, but have decided to commit to these two festivals. With the success of the festivals we played last year, we’re really looking forward to these events."

Emperor's touring itinerary now looks like this:

May 30 - (US) The Metro - Chicago, IL
June 01 - (US) B.B. King Blues Club & Grill - New York, NY
June 03 - (US) Key Club - West Hollywood, CA
June 24 - (FR) Clisson, Hellfest
June 30 - (FI) Helsinki, Tuska Open Air

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Prosthetic Records To Re-Release The Funeral Pyre

Prosthetic Records will re-release the latest full-length from Los Angeles' THE FUNERAL PYRE in a licensing deal for worldwide re-release March 20, 2007 through a deal with Bay Area indie label Creator-Destructor Records. Originally released last year through Bay Area label Creator-Destructor Records, the band has been garnering praise through non-stop touring. Channeling melodic death metal and Norwegian black metal alike, THE FUNERAL PYRE takes on the two legendary genres in what has to be billed as a welcome addition to LA’s crowded extreme music scene. Locking in over 100 shows throughout 2006 alone in support of the band’s second full-length, the band cites At The Gates, Shai Hulud, Dissection and Emperor as influences on the band's MySpace page. Having recently returning from a five week tour through November and December, THE FUNERAL PYRE will return to the road in March, but not before playing shows in Southern California on their own.

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Emperor Return To America

After triumphantly headlining the annual Wacken Open Air festival in Germany and four capacity performances in America last summer, Norwegian black metal pioneers EMPEROR have announced their return to the United States for three encore appearances this spring.

"We have made a decision to return to the U.S. for a few additional shows," notes guitarist Samoth. "This time Chicago is also put on the map.

"The shows last summer were very successful and we had an amazing turnout and support from all the fans. It was also a bit stressful because of the embassy hassle that we unfortunately had to endure. So we feel a few more shows are due and this time, all visas are in order and the band will appear in its full command."

Confirmed dates are as follows:

May 30 - The Metro - Chicago, IL
Jun. 01 - B.B. King Blues Club & Grill - New York, NY
Jun. 03 - Key Club - West Hollywood, CA

Ticket on-sale information will be announced shortly.

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Blood Tsunami Set Release Date For Debut Album

Candlelight Records / Nocturnal Art Productions has set a March 19 release date for the debut album from BLOOD TSUNAMI, the Oslo, Norway-based thrash metal band featuring drummer Bård G. Eithun (a.k.a. Faust; SCUM, ABORYM, ex-EMPEROR). The CD, aptly titled "Thrash Metal", was recorded at Lion Heart Studios in Oslo with engineer Øivind Voldmo Larsen. According to a press release, the album's artwork "will be over-the-top fantastic and the man going nuts on the canvas is Alex Horley Orlandelli, who is also known for his great drawings for Marvel comics, Heavy Metal magazine and Image comics."

BLOOD TSUNAMI last year announced the addition of former GLUECIFER bassist Stu Manx to the group's ranks.

BLOOD TSUNAMI previously worked with Øivind Voldmo Larsen at Lion Heart Studios on their "Demo 2005", which can still be heard on the band's official MySpace page.

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Emperor Announce Upcomming Plans

After triumphantly headlining the annual Wacken Open Air Festival and completing recent capacity performances in America, EMPEROR today announce two additional performances for 2006. Scheduled Saturday, October 7th EMPEROR will headline the fifth annual Motstoy Festival in the band's hometown of Notodden. Formed in 2002 by local youth and supportive arts organizations, this year's festival will also include appearances by RED HARVEST, MORTIIS, SHE SAID DESTROY, and PAGAN'S MIND, among others.

"The Motstoy festival is a non-profit organization situated in Notodden that my company Mnemosyne Productions has endorsed since its start in 2002," says vocalist/guitarist Ihsahn. "As it is a no-alcohol arrangement with no age limit, it is a great opportunity for EMPEROR to play a local show and at the same time give younger fans a chance to see us live." Ticket and sponsorship information can be found at the festival's official site.

EMPEROR additionally confirm their return to England for an exclusive engagement at the famed London Astoria. Scheduled Saturday, October 28th the show will feature supporting performances from Candlelight Recording artist TO-MERA and Nocturnal Art Productions recording artist SHE SAID DESTROY.

"It's great to finally come back to England with EMPEROR," says Samoth. "England is where we first started out in the early 90's; signing to Candlelight Records and heading out on our first real tour. We've always had a strong following in England, both press and fans, and we've built up a strong relationship throughout the years with the folks at Candlelight Records and Plastic Head, so it was a very obvious choice for us to return to the United Kingdom. All hail & see you soon!"

EMPEROR's final album, Prometheus: The Discipline of Fire & Demise, was released October 2001. In 2004, Candlelight Records reissued the band's four genre-defining albums, Wrath of the Tyrants, In the Nightside Eclipse, Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk and IX Equilibrium; each featuring bonus footage and material previously unavailable on both European and US-licensed versions. All recordings are available as part of Candlelight's vinyl collectors series on sale at exclusive retailers worldwide or by direct purchase from the label's official webstores (European customers visit www.plastichead.com; North American customers visit the recently launched www.candlelightrecordsusa.com). Additional merchandise from EMPEROR is also available.

The recently announced EMPEROR guitar tabulature book, Scattered Ashes: A Decade of Emperial Wrath will see worldwide release in time for the London performance. The 132-page oversized book featuring foreword and transcriptions by Ihsahn will include original tabs for thirteen EMPEROR classics contained on the band's 2003 compilation of the same name.

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Emperor Live Video Clips From NYC Posted Online

Two short, low-quality clips of Norwegian black metallers EMPEROR performing at the B.B. King Blues club in New York City on Friday, July 14 have been posted online at YouTube.com: Video#1, Video#2. The group's setlist for the concert was as follows:

01. Into The Infinity Of Thoughts / The Burning Shadows Of Silence / Cosmic Keys To My Creations & Times (medley)
02. Thus Spake The Nightspirit
03. An Elegy Of Icaros
04. Curse You All Men
05. With Strength I Burn
06. Towards The Pantheon
07. The Majesty Of The Nightsky
08. The Loss And Curse Of Reverence
09. In The Wordless Chamber
10. Inno A Satana
11. The Wanderer (from tape)
12. I Am The Black Wizards
13. Ye Entranceperium
14. Opus A Satana (from tape)

As previously reported, EMPEROR arrived on U.S. soil for the first time in years one member short. Due to continued delays via the U.S. Immigration Services, guitarist Samoth was unable to enter the United States in time for the NYC dates — this despite daily calls from both Norwegian and U.S. representatives of the band to multiple departments in the U.S. embassy in Oslo and Stateside governmental departments and agencies.

EMPEROR's next live appearance is scheduled for July 16 at the Key Club in West Hollywood. Their final U.S. performance will take place on July 17 at the House of Blues in West Holywood.

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Goatwhore to Tour w/ Emperor and Others

Goatwhore have announced the following tour dates with Strapping Young Lad, Suffocation, Emperor, and Asesino:

July 16 - West Hollywood, CA @ Key Club w/ Emperor
July 17 - West Hollywood, CA @ House of Blues w/ Emperor
July 24 - London, ON @ The Embassy w/ Strapping Young Lad
July 25 - Cleveland, OH @ Peabody's w/ Strapping Young Lad
July 28 - Bedford, NH @ Mark's Showplace w/ Suffocation
July 29 - Sommerville, MA @ Goodtimes Emporium w/ Suffocation
July 30 - Springfield, VA @ Jaxx w/ Suffocation
July 31 - New York, NY @ B.B. King Blues Club w/ Asesino
August 2 - Portland, ME @ The Station w/ Strapping Young Lad
August 3 - Montreal, QC @ Petit Campus w/ Strapping Young Lad

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Details of Emperor's First Ever U.S. Show

Legendary black metallers Emperor are scheduled to perform at Key Club in W. Hollywood, CA on Sunday, July 16th. The band's first ever U.S. performance will also include appearances by Goatwhore and Crematorium.

Doors for the show open at 7 PM, tickets are $65 general admission and $100 V.I.P. and are available by calling the Key Club box office (310-274-5800) or via www.ticketmaster.com.

Emperor, featuring vocalist/guitarist Ihsahn, guitarist Samoth and drummer Trym, disbanded prior to the release of their 2001 album, "Prometheus: The Discipline Of Fire & Demise".

The record remains one of Candlelight Records top selling U.S. releases. In late 2004, the label reissued each of Emperor's four genre-defining albums - "Wrath Of The Tyrants", "In The Nightside Eclipse", "Anthems To The Welkin At Dusk" and "IX Equilibriium". Each album is reworked with additional bonus footage and material unavailable previously on both European and U.S. licensed versions.

Forming in 1991, Emperor recordings have sold hundreds of thousands worldwide. Their impact on black/extreme metal ranks them as one of the genre’s most influential. Respected by musicians, fans and critics alike, Emperor recorded their final album, "Prometheus: The Discipline Of Fire & Demise" in 2001, shortly thereafter announcing they were disbanding (with Samoth and Trym continuing on in new band Zyklon; Isahn contributing to his band Peccatum).

The band will reunite for a handful of shows throughout Los Angeles and New York, including their stop at Key Club with New Orleans based Goatwhore and L.A. murdercore outfit Crematorium.

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Ihsahn's "Invocation" Video Posted Online

EMPEROR frontman Ihsahn's video for "Invocation", the opening track from Ihsahn's forthcoming solo album, "The Adversary", has been posted online at this location (Quicktime required). You can also download the video to your hard drive (35 MB) (right click and "Save As"). The clip was shot and produced in Notodden, Norway by a local production company. "I think the video reflects both the direct and solitary expression of the album," Ihsahn said. "It was my intention to keep everything as pure and intense as possible, yet staying true to metal tradition."

"The Adversary" 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.

"Generally, my thoughts for this album were that, 'OK, if I'm doing a solo album, then I might as well do a metal album that kind of includes all the periods I've been through playing metal,'" Ihsahn told BLABBERMOUTH.NET last month. "When I first started playing guitar at the age of 11, I started out playing basic heavy metal stuff. The bands I've played in have been from straight heavy metal up through thrash and speed metal, death metal, and then black metal. I thought the album should include embraces from all those areas.

"Most albums I do I take a study period as well to learn new things and kind of sharpen the working methods and combining theory with the energy of creative thought are driving forces," he continued. "I wanted to have a very varied album with different influences, but I didn't want to take everything into all of the songs. If it's a black metal song it's kind of a black metal song all the way through. When I do a progressive song it's kind of progressive all the way through. I'm trying to pull out the most of one thing, rather than just mixing it all together in all the songs; it's varied in that sense. Hopefully, there should be a consistency throughout the album."

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). "Asgeir is a very talented guy and he could play live a better version of what I programmed," Ihsahn said. "He was the perfect guy for the job because he didn't change things. In some parts I may have had drum patterns that I felt essential to the song, which was very playable, but not necessarily the way a drummer would think. He could interpret what I programmed and just do exactly what I needed. He's been valuable for this project. He's a great guy to work with as well."

Tracking for "The Adversary" is as follows:

01. Invocation
02. Called by the Fire
03. Citizen
04. Homecoming
05. Astera ton Proinon
06. Panem et Circenses
07. And He Shall Walk in Empty Places
08. Will You Love Me Now?
09. The Pain is Still Mine

"The Adversary" will be released cooperatively by Mnemosyne Productions and Candlelight Records on April 10 in Europe and April 18 in North America. Owned/operated by partners Ihsahn and Ihriel since 2003, Mnemosyne Productions was established as an outlet for duo's musical collaborations as well a place for new talent and innovative artists.

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Headline News

Emperor Frontman's Peccatum Project Is No More

PECCATUM, the Norwegian band featuring EMPEROR frontman Ihsahn and his wife Ihriel, have issued the following statement:

"After eight years of creating within the borders of PECCATUM, Ihsahn and Ihriel have decided to go elsewhere with their music. Ihsahn is going solo and Ihriel will continue her work in STAR OF ASH. They both still run Mnemosyne Productions and Symphonique Studio, and will definitely continue to explore the outer boundaries of dark music in many years to come — 'To boldly go where no man has gone before.' Ihriel and Ihsahn would like to take the opportunity to thank all PECCATUM fans and listeners, and hope they will find equal pains and pleasures in their new musical endeavours."

As previously reported, Ihsahn has set "The Adversary" as the title of his upcoming solo album, tentatively due later in the year via a collaboration between Mnemosyne Productions and Candlelight Records worldwide. Owned/operated by partners Ihsahn and Ihriel since 2003, Mnemosyne Productions was established as an outlet for duo's musical collaborations as well a place for new talent and innovative artists. The recordings for the album took place last year at Symphonique Studios in Norway with the final mix planned for early 2006. A video is in the works for the song "Invocation", though specific details as to director and concept are still in development.

"The music is a continuation of my work within the metal genre," said Ihsahn. "It incorporates influential elements from all periods/stages of my background since I first picked up the guitar 20 years ago. Powerful, epic, extreme and straight from the heart."

All music and lyrics for "The Adversary" have been written and performed by Ihsahn with exception of drums, performed by Asgeir Mickelson (BORKNAGAR, SPIRAL ARCHITECT). "He has been the perfect drummer for this album," noted Ihsahn. "He has really brought to live the patterns I programmed in pre-production.

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Usurper To Appear On Inferno Festival

Chicago’s USURPER have just been confirmed to appear at INFERNO METAL FESTIVAL NORWAY 2006. Taking place, as always, in Oslo between the 13th – 15th April 2006 at the Rockefeller Music Hall, USURPER join a list of heavyweights already announced including EMPEROR, CATHEDRAL, MARDUK, BOLTTHROWER, DISMEMBER, CARPATHIAN FOREST and WITCHCRAFT. For a complete lune-up list, go here.

USURPER’s JON NECROMANCER is already fired up even though their might be a slight problem with stage gear. On Inferno’s site it clearly states: ‘Sharp spikes and studs are not allowed and will be removed at the door!’

“Obviously, Usurper is incredibly psyched at the opportunity to play in Europe again, especially at a fest as killer as Inferno. The line-up looks incredible this year, and we are bringing a 75 minute set packed with new songs, as well as some "oldies" going back to the demo era that we haven't played live in over 10 years! Scandinavia has always been supportive of us, especially in the early years, and we intend to do our best to repay the favor!”

The whole event is now virtually sold out, although a few day tickets are still available on the website

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Norwegian Black Metal On BBC

Norwegian black metal legends EMPEROR, MAYHEM, DARKTHRONE and DIMMU BORGIR were among the artists interviewed for the "The Rock Show in Norway" special which aired on BBC Radio 1's "Mike Davies' Rock Show". Listen to the show at this location.

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First Bands For Inferno Fest Announced

Norway's renowned Inferno festival will be held in Oslo on April 13-15, 2006. The organizers have posted the following update:

Friday February 3rd is the day that we will have our annual kick off party and announce the full lineup. The kick off will be held at John Dee in Oslo and the tickets cost 200 NOK.

Performing live will be a horde of musicians from bands like Immortal, Satyricon, Aura Noir, Enslaved, Susperia, Dimmu Borgir, Pagans Mind, and Zyklon. They will play songs from influential bands such as W.A.S.P, Slayer, Accept, Iron Maiden, Sepultura, Mötley Crue, Twisted Sister, Pantera, Bathory, Celtic Frost, Venom, Mötorhead, Kreator, Testament, Anthrax and more.

There will also be a kick off party in Trondheim the same day. More information on this will follow shortly.

In addition, Borknagar, Witchcraft and Endstille will appear alongside already announced Emperor, Marduk and Bolt Thrower.

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Watch Scum's 'Protest Life' Video Online

Scum's latest video to their new single 'Protest Life' from their debut album, 'Gospels For The Sick' is now on Yahoo! Music. You can watch the video here.

Scum, the black metal band featuring Amen's Casey Chaos, plus Samoth and Faust (ex-Emperor), have signed a deal with Tabu. Their debut album, 'Gospels For The Sick', was released in November in the US this year.

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Scandanavian Rock & Metal Book Released In 2006

RockDetector.com is publishing a two-volume book set, "Scandinavian Rock & Metal", in the first quarter of 2006. The books cover all styles of rock and metal from Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark. In the now-expected Rockdetector style, executive editor Garry Sharpe-Young covers each band's history in meticulous detail, including lineups, URLs and a complete discography, along with track listings, labels, catalogue numbers and chart positions. The two books will each be approximately 500 pages each, listing well over 1,200 bands covering heavy metal, death metal, black metal, melodic rock, progressive rock and beyond. Fjords, Vikings, the midnight sun and a thousand lakes — the perfect breeding ground for the most epic of heavy metal! Scandinavia has exported its rock and metal to all corners of the globe, ranging from the shred exploits of YNGWIE MALMSTEEN, the operatic pioneers NIGHTWISH, the pomptastic EUROPE, the heavyweight HAMMERFALL to the extremist forms of black and death metal in EMPEROR, MAYHEM, DIMMU BORGIR, MARDUK, DARKTHRONE and BURZUM. "Scandinavia has really been the hotbed for emerging rock talent for over a decade now," says Garry Sharpe-Young. "Once EUROPE, TNT and YNGWIE MALMSTEEN had made their mark on the international scene, Norway's floodgates opened and poured a black metal plague upon the world with BURZUM, EMPEROR, MAYHEM, DIMMU BORGIR, and DARKTHRONE. Since then, Sweden made a huge impact with acts such as HAMMERFALL, IN FLAMES, SOILWORK and KATATONIA and subsequently Finland has really raised its head and is now without question the most metal place on planet earth! All these bands, from all genre spectrums are included. Some of the band histories are positively labyrinthine when you get into the detail of who played for who under what pseudonym. This really is a true monster of a book."

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Emperor Frontman On Solo Album

EMPEROR frontman Ihsahn has set "The Adversary" as the title of his upcoming solo album, tentatively due next year via a collaboration between Mnemosyne Productions and Candlelight Records worldwide. Owned/operated by partners Ihsahn and Ihriel since 2003, Mnemosyne Productions was established as an outlet for duo's musical collaborations as well a place for new talent and innovative artists. Final stages of album recording are currently underway at Symphonique Studios in Norway with the final mix planned for early 2006. A video is planned for the song "Invocation", though specific details as to director and concept are still in development.

"The music is a continuation of my work within the metal genre," said Ihsahn. "It incorporates influential elements from all periods/stages of my background since I first picked up the guitar 20 years ago. Powerful, epic, extreme and straight from the heart."

All music and lyrics for "The Adversary" have been written and performed by Ihsahn with exception of drums, performed by Asgeir Mickelson (BORKNAGAR, SPIRAL ARCHITECT). "He has been the perfect drummer for this album," noted Ihsahn. "He has really brought to live the patterns I programmed in pre-production.

In a recent interview with Britain's Terrorizer magazine, Ihsahn elaborated on what the fans can expect to hear on the upcoming CD:

"When I'm doing an Ihsahn solo album, I have to build on my musical upbringing, and the majority of that is metal with a progressive and experimental leaning," he told Terrorizer. "With PECCATUM we've tried out as much as we could both musically and artistically, but with this I wanted to do a metal album. I allowed myself to work with two guitar tracks, piano and programmed drums while I made this album. Actually, I worked without these limitations and the material went everywhere. Then, early in 2005, I wrote the basics in a couple of months after I made some restrictions for myself. But musically I've tried to sum up my experiences with metal music on this album, and it sounds the way I see the metal genre in 2006. . . I can tell you that I'm extremely satisfied with all the songs on this album, and there will be no fillers on it. Lyrically, it's a very angry album and everyone gets a slap in the face."

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Emperor Vocalist To Release Solo Album

Emperor vocalist Ihsahn Ihsahn is to release a solo record next year. It's to be called 'The Adversary' and will be released by Ihsahn's own company, Mnemosyne Productions, in association with Candle light Records.

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