So lately, I’ve found myself going back to Emperor. How appropriate that Ihsahn would bemoan black metal’s decline.
Ihsahn — who has been playing a bunch of reunion shows with Emperor as of late — tells Noisey:
“I think particularly black metal has gone gray like many other metal subgenres or like music in general, really. You start out new as a phenomenon, and there gradually becomes different directions in that.
“Some people do something new, and then some people copy it, and it becomes watered down. It becomes gray. A lot of people involved in this genre originally do a lot of other interesting stuff. The genre itself has changed, but I think extreme music — it’s more a matter of the whole music industry having changed. That’s kind of the biggest thing if you take black metal now and then.
“For us being here now against being there then, I guess our whole career is built on this kind of mystique almost. People didn’t know shit about us. We were just crazy Norwegians from a place that most people hadn’t heard of doing this extreme music in this strange makeup. [Laughs] So people had absolutely no clue. Whereas today you get in touch with the biggest stars on Twitter or Facebook or whatever. Nothing is private. It’s very bad times to be kind of a mysterious black metal artist, I guess. It’d be very hard to build that kind of niche again if you were a young band starting out today. [Laughs]”