“My headless six-string is the color of Hannibal Lecter’s couch… and I have an Oxblood Red model inspired by his office!” How Ihsahn combined horror scores, blastbeats and space-age guitars for a black metal album to eclipse ’em all

(Image credit: Provided/PR)

Heavy metal and classical music may appear to be diametrically opposed, but there’s a lot to be said about the shared kinship between them. And few understand this as well as Norwegian musician Vegard Sverre Tveitan – the man better known as Ihsahn to his army of fans around the world. 

As the founding singer/guitarist of Emperor, whose 1994 debut In The Nightside Eclipse is widely considered to be ground zero for symphonic black metal, he was able to layer orchestral sophistication into some of the most twisted noises ever conceived by the human mind, daring to delve deep into the baroque to further intensify the gothic qualities within his own compositions. 

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Amit Sharma

Amit has been writing for titles like Total GuitarMusicRadar and Guitar World for over a decade and counts Richie Kotzen, Guthrie Govan and Jeff Beck among his primary influences as a guitar player. He's worked for magazines like Kerrang!Metal HammerClassic RockProgRecord CollectorPlanet RockRhythm and Bass Player, as well as newspapers like Metro and The Independent, interviewing everyone from Ozzy Osbourne and Lemmy to Slash and Jimmy Page, and once even traded solos with a member of Slayer on a track released internationally. As a session guitarist, he's played alongside members of Judas Priest and Uriah Heep in London ensemble Metalworks, as well as handled lead guitars for legends like Glen Matlock (Sex Pistols, The Faces) and Stu Hamm (Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, G3).