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Ihsahn (/ɪˈʃɑːn/; born Vegard Sverre Tveitan; 10 October 1975) is a Norwegian composer, multi-instrumentalist, and vocalist. He is best known for his work with Norwegian black metal band Emperor. He has appeared in Thou Shalt Suffer, played in Peccatum with his wife and fellow musician Heidi Solberg Tveitan, and now devotes himself to his solo albums.

Emperor Party.San Metal Open Air 2018 09 (2).jpg
Ihsahn performing live at Party.San Metal Open Air 2018
Background information
Birth nameVegard Sverre Tveitan
Born (1975-10-10) 10 October 1975 (age 43)
OriginNotodden, Norway
GenresBlack metal, symphonic black metal, avant-garde, progressive metal
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter, producer
InstrumentsGuitar, bass, keyboards, synthesizer, piano, programming, drums, vocals
Years active1990–present
Associated actsEmperor, Thou Shalt Suffer, Peccatum, Embryonic, Leprous, Zyklon-B

His instructional videos on music have appeared in online publications such as Guitar World.[1] In style terms, his solo work and work with other artists have shown multiple musical forms from classical music to industrial metal to progressive metal and more. In terms of his personal beliefs, he has expressed support for Satanism and social Darwinism thought while also showing respect to concepts such as meditation, stewardship of the environment, and traditional paganism as well as condemning acts of criminality and religious intolerance such as church arson.[2]



Born in the town of Notodden, Norway, Tveitan began playing piano at seven and guitar at ten and began recording songs shortly thereafter. His influences include heavy metal, classical, ambient, and techno. He grew up on a large farm in rural Norway.

Tveitan first met his musical partner, Tomas Haugen (also known as Samoth), at the age of thirteen at a music seminar. Tveitan gained Haugen's attention with his Iron Maiden patches.[3] In 1990 Tveitan joined Haugen's band Xerasia, a death metal band where he served as guitarist and keyboardist. They eventually changed their name to Embryonic sometime that year. A four-track demo titled The Land of the Lost Souls was self-financed and released in November. In 1991 they changed their name again to Thou Shalt Suffer. Several releases under this name were produced before Haugen left the band, leaving Tveitan the sole remaining member.

After the departure of Haugen from Thou Shalt Suffer, the two formed Emperor, where Tveitan again took on the role of guitarist. Emperor had a much more refined black metal sound which showcased Tveitan's developing keyboard skills, a distinct feature that would appear in many of his later releases. The band at this time received much support and encouragement from black metal pioneer Euronymous and after several demos, the Emperor EP was released in 1993 to much acclaim. Shortly afterwards, bandmates Haugen, Bård Eithun (also known as Faust) and Terje Schei (also known as Tchort) were arrested and imprisoned,[citation needed] leaving Tveitan to his own devices. He retreated to a property owned by his family to compose much of what would later become Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk, which was recorded after the parole of Haugen.

In 1995 the cult album Blood Must be Shed, by Zyklon-B was released featuring members of Emperor and Satyricon; Tveitan himself played synth. In 1998 Tveitan and his wife Heidi Tveitan—who at the time used the stage name Ihriel—formed the experimental band Peccatum. Peccatum would come to feature Tveitan's trademark synth sound as well as clean and black vocals, eventually becoming his main project until its termination on March 4, 2006.

In 1999 Emperor released IX Equilibrium, Tveitan's third studio album with the group. Two years later, in 2001, Peccatum released their second studio album, Amor Fati. In the same year, Emperor released their fourth and final studio album, Prometheus: The Discipline of Fire & Demise. 'Prometheus' was entirely composed by Tveitan and featured more complex orchestration than previous works; though significantly less synthesizers than before. It was at this time Emperor mutually decided to dissolve, leaving Tveitan and his bandmates with more time to focus on their various side projects.

In December 2002, Ihsahn won the "Notodden Kommunes Kulturpris",[4] a culture prize given by his home city, Notodden, which is populated to about 12,500 inhabitants. He won the prize because he is considered the best-known inhabitant of Notodden, a great musician, a music teacher, and he arranges a lot of concerts for unknown bands. The fact that his band sold more than 500,000 copies was also a reason for getting the prize. 2002 also saw Tveitan contribute guest vocals to the song "Radical Cut", off Arcturus' album The Sham Mirrors.

2004 saw the release of Peccatum's third and final studio album, Lost in Reverie, with an EP titled The Moribund People following the year after. On September 30, 2005, Emperor made a surprise return at Scream magazine's 15-year anniversary party in Oslo at Rockefeller, a rock concert venue. The move was kept top secret, was only known by a handful of people, and they only played three songs. This was to announce the reuniting of the band for a few shows around Europe and America in 2006, namely at Wacken and Inferno Festival.

In April 2006, Tveitan released his first solo album, The Adversary. The album was entirely composed, performed, recorded and produced by him, with the exception of drums contributed by Asgeir Mickelson, and guest vocals on the track "Homecoming" by Kristoffer Rygg of Ulver. The album showcases his progressive influences as well as heavy metal, black metal and classical music. The Adversary was recorded at Symphonique Studios in Norway and was released on his label Mnemosyne Productions, which he founded in 2003 with Starofash. A video was made for the opening track, "Invocation".

Tveitan lent his voice in 2007 to an animated character from the Adult Swim cartoon Metalocalypse, Eric von Wiechlinghammer, in the episode "Dethfashion". Grimen, the only album by side project 'Hardingrock' was released the same year.[5] He released his second studio album, titled angL, the following year, featuring Lars K. Norberg on bass, Asgeir Mickelson on drums, and guest vocals from Mikael Åkerfeldt (of Opeth) on the track "Unhealer". 2008 also saw Tveitan start a column in the magazine Guitar World, titled "Left Hand Path". In March 2009, Tveitan performed some of his solo material live for the first time, in a one-off performance opening for Opeth in Norway. He has since made many festival appearances, playing a mix of solo material and Emperor covers. Fellow Norwegians Leprous have served as his backing band.[6]

Ihsahn performing at Hole in the Sky in August 2010

Tveitan released his third solo album, After, in January 2010. Lars K. Nordberg and Asgeir Mickelson once again contributed bass and drums, respectively, with Jørgen Munkeby (of Shining) playing saxophone on several tracks as well. Later that year, in October, a Mnemosyne web update confirmed that Ihsahn had already begun writing for a fourth solo album, and was also focusing on upgrading his studio at home.[7]

2011 was a busy year for Tveitan. Aside from making his solo debut in the US at the annual ProgPower USA metal festival in Atlanta, Georgia, he also guested on two records, co-produced one with his wife, and continued to work on his fourth solo album. Additional details on the new record following its announcement have been scarce, with no possible release date mentioned. As of an August 2011 interview with Thrash Hits TV, drums for the album have been tracked and the recording process is said to be well underway.[8] Mentioned collaborators include Jørgen Munkeby once again[9] and Devin Townsend, who in a November 2011 interview mentioned that he was "singing a song for Ihsahn's new thing", but added that he could not elaborate any more at that point in time.[10]

On 18 December 2015 it was announced that Arktis would be the title of Ihsahn's sixth studio album, due in 2016.[11]

Personal lifeEdit

Ihsahn is married to Heidi Solberg Tveitan, known professionally as Starofash or Ihriel.[12] He is the brother-in-law of Einar Solberg, the lead vocalist of the band Leprous, Kenneth Solberg, former guitarist of the band Leprous, and Lord PZ, who was a part of the band Peccatum together with both Ihsahn and his wife.[12]


Ihsahn described himself a Satanist in the 1990s. As he explained in 1994, he considered Satanism to be hard to define, as there are different ways of Satanism, and to be more of a category the individual would have to set for themselves. He considered most other adolescents to be "soulless" people, too involved in materialistic things. He said the imprisonment of the other Emperor members had both positive and negative effects; it meant a difficult period for the band, but the imprisonment also gave them publicity and therefore more possibilities to spread their ideas. Ihsahn additionally has said he has seen no reason to be physically destructive and has had no personal connection to the church burning cases that rocked Norway.[13] In a 1994 interview, Ihsahn described a social Darwinist influence on his Satanism, calling himself anti-Christian and saying it is "not for a weak person", while also expressing respect towards European paganism, meditation and stewardship of the environment. He's additionally condemned acts of criminality and other forms of religious intolerance such as the aforementioned arson cases.[2]



Studio albumsEdit

Title Album details Peak chart positions Sales
US Heat
The Adversary
  • Released: 10 April 2006
  • Label: Mnemosyne, Candlelight
  • Formats: CD, LP, digital download[16]
  • Released: 26 May 2008
  • Label: Mnemosyne, Candlelight
  • Formats: CD, LP, digital download[17]
  • Released: 26 January 2010
  • Label: Mnemosyne, Candlelight
  • Formats: CD, CD+DVD, LP, digital download[18]
38 31
  • Released: 18 June 2012
  • Label: Mnemosyne, Candlelight
  • Formats: CD, LP, digital download[21]
Das Seelenbrechen
  • Released: 21 October 2013
  • Label: Mnemosyne, Candlelight
  • Formats: CD, LP, digital download[23]
  • Release date: 8 April 2016
  • Label: Candlelight
  • Formats: CD, LP, digital download[11]
  • Release date: 4 May 2018
  • Label: Candlelight
  • Formats: CD, LP, digital download
"—" denotes a release that did not chart.


Guest appearances and session contributionsEdit

Year Album Notes
1995 IldjarnDet Frysende Nordariket session vocals on various tracks
WongravenFjelltronen session synth
Zyklon-BBlood Must Be Shed session synth and guitar
1998 UlverThemes from William Blake's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell guest vocals on "A Song of Liberty"
2002 ArcturusThe Sham Mirrors guest vocals on "Radical Cut"
Star of AshIter.Viator various roles including guitar and bass duties
2010 StarofashLakhesis additional guitars
2011 Devin TownsendDeconstruction guest vocals on "Juular"
LeprousBilateral guest vocals on "Thorn"
2012 Jeff LoomisPlains of Oblivion guest vocals on "Surrender"
2013 LeprousCoal guest vocals on "Chronic", "Contaminate Me" and "Bury"
2015 Trivium - Silence in the Snow writer of Snøfall


  1. ^ "Ihsahn - Left-Hand Path". Guitar World. June 18, 2010. Retrieved December 24, 2015.
  2. ^ a b "Ihsahn Interview about Satanism". YouTube. April 29, 2007. Retrieved June 11, 2015.
  3. ^ "Line 6 Artists". Retrieved May 21, 2015.
  4. ^ "List of Notodden cultural price awards". Retrieved August 30, 2010.[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ "Releases". Mnemosyne Records. Retrieved December 23, 2018.
  6. ^ Arthur, Ty. "Einar Solberg Of Leprous Talks New Album Bilateral, Working With Ihsahn, And More". Archived from the original on June 19, 2013. Retrieved June 16, 2013. Einar Solberg: StarOfAsh (Heidi) is my sister, so I would definitely say that we are rather close, hehe. The reason why Ihsahn choose us as his backing band was because we’re already a rehearsed band which he knew he could trust. It was a win-win situation for both him and us. He can just meet up on rehearsals to an already rehearsed band that actually manage to play his music, while we get to play with one of the greatest artists in the metal genre.
  7. ^ [1] Archived September 18, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ "Thrash Hits TV: Ihsahn @ Bloodstock Open Air 2011". YouTube. August 19, 2011. Retrieved October 23, 2013.
  9. ^ "Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved October 23, 2013.
  10. ^ "Interview: Devin Townsend". Mind Equals Blown. Retrieved October 23, 2013.
  11. ^ a b "Emperor Frontman Ihsahn To Release 'Arktis' Album In March". December 18, 2015. Retrieved December 24, 2015.
  12. ^ a b Harris, Chris. "Leprous Tap Ihsahn, Wife To Produce New Disc". Archived from the original on August 20, 2013. Retrieved June 16, 2013.
  13. ^ Det svarte alvor, 1994.
  14. ^ Steffen Hung. "Norwegian charts portal". Archived from the original on January 9, 2016. Retrieved May 21, 2015.
  15. ^ "Ihsahn - Chart history". Retrieved May 21, 2015.
  16. ^ [2][dead link]
  17. ^ [3] Archived October 20, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ [4] Archived September 16, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^ "Metal By Numbers 2/3 – Debuts Mark End Of Metal's Slow Start". February 3, 2010. Retrieved May 21, 2015.
  20. ^ "Metal By Numbers 2/10: Go To Hellbilly". February 11, 2010. Retrieved May 21, 2015.
  21. ^ [5] Archived September 16, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
  22. ^ "Metal By Numbers 6/27: Is This The Worst Record We've Ever Covered?". June 27, 2012. Retrieved May 21, 2015.
  23. ^ [6] Archived November 8, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  24. ^ "Metal By Numbers 11/6: The Charts Doth Protest The Hero Too Much, Methinks". November 6, 2013. Retrieved May 21, 2015.
  25. ^ "EMPEROR's IHSAHN To Release Seventh Solo Album, 'Ámr', In May". February 15, 2018. Retrieved February 15, 2018.

External linksEdit