Norwegian black metallers EMPEROR will celebrate the 20th anniversary of their "In The Nightside Eclipse" album at next year's Wacken Open Air festival, set to take place July 31-August 2, 2014 in Wacken, Germany. EMPEROR members Ihsahn (real name: Vegard Sverre Tveitan) and Samoth (real name: Tomas Haugen) will be joined by Bård Guldvik "Faust" Eithun on drums, and they will perform the CD in its entirety. There will be no new studio album or a worldwide tour — only a few exclusive festival appearances next year to mark the celebration of this landmark release.
The news of EMPEROR's appearance at Wacken Open Air was announced on Friday, August 2 at this year's edition of the festival at a press conference which was attended by Ihsahn and Samoth.
EMPEROR released its swansong, "Prometheus - The Discipline Of Fire And Demise", in September 2001. It was an epic and progressive metal album that once and for all marked EMPEROR as one of the most adventurous and gifted black metal bands of all times. In September 2005, EMPEROR surprised all with an unannounced appearance in Oslo. Following the three-song performance, the band announced additional concerts that would include a visit to America; marking the second trip to the States in the band's legendary career. Fans flocked to New York City and Los Angeles to witness the sold-out performances. In 2007, additional shows would see the band return to the U.S. for a repeat performance in New York City, a stop in Chicago, and what would be their final American performance in Los Angeles.
In a May 2012 interview with Gun Shy Assassin, Ihsahn stated about the possibility of more EMPEROR live performances in the future: "After 2007, that was really a final chapter for all of us. But there's always some underlying pressure to do something. Usually, I just say plain 'No.' I can understand the nostalgia and all that. If I wanted to be as nostalgic as everyone else, it wouldn't make any sense for me to actually make any new music [with my solo project] ."
He added: "People who are old-time EMPEROR fans still think I'm 17.
"I am in contact with the guys, and we talk almost weekly; they're good friends. What can I say? Never say never. For the moment, I am so occupied with my own project — that's my main priority."
Ihsahn said he left EMPEROR because he wanted different things.
"I ended up doing most of that last EMPEROR record on my own. If we still did EMPEROR, and if it were up to me, what I do now… that's what we would sound like."
But there will be no new music from EMPEROR, Ihsahn said.
"Part of the reason why our albums keep on selling is probably because we were always an uncompromising band, and that is a tradition I would like to uphold. If we did a new EMPEROR album, what kind of EMPEROR album would people like? I say listen to the stuff I do, and the stuff that Samoth does, and you can more or less figure out what a new EMPEROR record would sound like, and that sounds nothing like old EMPEROR. Trying to duplicate something from the past would just turn everything into a parody.
"Would anyone want a black metal album made just for the sake of making a lot of money?" Ihsahn asked. "I get all of these requests to get back with EMPEROR. In the spirit of black metal, I do whatever the hell I want. That's the whole point of black metal. If I even consider letting anyone else try to tell me what I should do with my music, that, by definition, would make it non-black metal… as I have learned it."