EMPEROR frontman Ihsahn (real name: Vegard Sverre Tveitan) says that he sees "absolutely no point" in making another studio album with the band because the final product "would be a disappointment" to the group's fans.
EMPEROR hasn't released any new material since 2001's "Prometheus - The Discipline Of Fire And Demise". That album was composed and mostly played by Ihsahn, with guitarist Samoth already forming his next band during its production.
Asked by Metal Wani in a new interview what it would take for him and Samoth to make a new EMPEROR album at this point, Ihsahn, responded (hear audio below): "Well, that's the thing. I mean, I know people… Of course, I get that [question] a lot. But I don't know, really, if people know what they're asking for. Because, basically, I ended up writing the last EMPEROR album on my own; I was kind of bound in this direction of going it alone. So if it was up to me alone, EMPEROR would sound [like my solo material]; this is how I write metal [and] this is my direction."
He continued: "I know Samoth is releasing a new THE WRETCHED END record very soon as well, and I think it's very obvious that, musically, we are very far apart. So if people want a new EMPEROR record, what would they expect? They expect us to write music as if we were teenagers. So it's kind of a… you can't really win. At this point, I think it just would be absolutely pointless, because regardless of what route we would take and what would feel natural, if we were to do that, it would be… I think either way it would be a disappointment, because it's kind of just part of an illusion. And I see absolutely no point in doing that."
Ihsahn added that he is thankful to still have a career more than two decades after the release of EMPEROR's debut album, 1994's "In The Nightside Eclipse". "I think I've been very lucky to be able to kind of continue with the same state of uncompromising mind, if you will," he said. "I mean, we didn't get any recognition — everybody hated what we were doing — in the early days of EMPEROR. It was only later that it picked up; it took a long while. And, of course, when we started about, there was no black metal scene. So we basically just did this [of] our own accord with absolutely no intention of this being a career, because that was not an option; it was unimaginable. So it is kind of against all odds that we ended up having a career."
Even if his solo music is far removed from the primitive early offerings from EMPEROR, Ihsahn feels that his current composition process is grounded in the same principles that he embraced many years ago.
"I just try to… If I owe my fans anything — since I've had the privilege of doing this for such a long time — is to kind of continue the legacy of that and being totally uncompromising and kind of executing that free will to do music," he said.
Ihsahn's sixth solo album, "Arktis", will be released on April 8. The effort will be available in standard CD, deluxe CD (featuring additional exclusive content), and vinyl formats via Candlelight Records. The album's first single, "Mass Darkness", is available via iTunes and Amazon. It is available for streaming now via Spotify. The Michael Dickinson-created (ORANGE GOBLIN, GALLOWS) lyric video for the song available can be seen below.
"Arktis" was recorded at Ihsahn's studio in Notodden, Norway and was mixed in Sweden by Jens Bogren (OPETH, KATATONIA). The album features ten songs and is the longest and most spirited of Ihsahn's solo recordings. It features guest appearances from Einar Solberg (LEPROUS), Matt Heafy (TRIVIUM), Jorgen Munkeby (SHINING), Tobias Ornes Andersen (SHINING, ex-LEPROUS), and renowned Norwegian author Hans Herbjornsrud. Graphic elements for "Arktis" once again have been provided by award-winning Spanish designer Ritxi Ostariz.