Emperor Biography

Original members of the bizarre Norwegian Satanic club known as the Black Metal Circle, led by Euronymous of Mayhem, Emperor emerged as the most musically adventurous of the bands spearheading the black metal revival of the early 90s. The band was formed in 1991, in the small Norwegian town of Notodden, by Ihsahn (Vegard Tveiten, Notodden, Norway; vocals, guitar, keyboards), Mortiis (b. Håvard Ellefsen, 25 July 1975, Skien, Norway; bass) and Samoth (b. Tomas Haugen, 9 June 1974, Norway; drums). This line-up recorded the Wrath Of The Tyrant demo, following which drummer Faust (b. Bard G. Eithun) was recruited to allow Samoth to switch to guitar. This quartet released 1993’s split EP with Scandinavian pagan heavy metal band Enslaved, before Mortiis left in mysterious circumstances, later surfacing in Sweden as a solo artist.

New bass player Tchort was brought in to help record Emperor’s acclaimed debut album, In The Nightside Eclipse, but by now the band members more unsavoury leanings were beginning to catch up on them. In the same year the Black Metal Circle were linked with a series of church burnings in Norway Samoth was arrested in connection with the crimes. He was later released; however, in addition to the arson, Emperor drummer Faust was convicted of the 1992 murder of a homosexual and Tchort was sentenced for burglary, knife assault and desecration.

Despite this, and the murder of fellow black metal Satanist Euronymous, Emperor continued to fly the Scandinavian black metal banner with a series of impressive releases on the Candlelight label. Following Samoth’s parole the band had regrouped, with the guitarist and Ihsahn joined by Alver (bass) and Trym Torson (b. 26 February 1974, Norway; drums, ex-Enslaved). This line-up recorded 1997’s Anthems To The Welkin At Dusk, an excellent comeback which fine-tuned the musical style of their debut; a cacophonous storm of blistering guitars and bellowed vocals, with aggressive, devilish themes and a few strange, quasi-classical flourishes.

Alver left the band following the release of the second album, leaving Ihsahn, Samoth and Torson to continue as a trio augmented by session players. Increasing involvement in their own projects led the band members to announce that 2001’s mighty Prometheus: The Discipline Of Fire & Demise would be Emperor’s final recording. Samoth and Torson continued to work together in Zyklon.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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