Taken from www.wikipedia.org
In their youth, Ihsahn and Samoth met at a rock music seminar. The two young men began playing together under various names; first Dark Device, then Xerasia, then Embryonic. The group soon evolved into the now well-known band Thou Shalt Suffer. Soon, however, Samoth began to write music outside of Thou Shalt Suffer, and together with Ihsahn and a new bass player called Mortiis (later of his own eponymous band Mortiis), Emperor was formed. After a short while together, the band released a demo entitled Wrath of the Tyrant. It quickly gained popularity in the underground and attracted the attention of the then-start-up label Candlelight. Soon afterwards, a record contract was signed, Samoth moved to rhythm guitar, Ihsahn continued the vocal duties and lead guitars and Faust was recruited as a drummer.
In the summer of 1992, a series of events were set in motion by the black metal inner circle. Samoth, along with members of Mayhem and various other black metallers, set out to burn down the ancient churches of Norway. Also in 1992, Faust was in Lillehammer to see the newly-constructed Olympic park. A homosexual man named Rhys Adamec approached him and suggested that they go together in the nearby forest. Faust agreed, and once in the forest, stabbed the man to death. He was not convicted until a year later. After Faust committed the murder, he went with members of Mayhem to burn bibles and hymnals at a nearby ski-jump. In the summer of 1993, the band began working on their first full-length record. Emperor were supported by the famous British group Cradle of Filth on tour, and after this tour the band ceased wearing corpse paint; they stated that it was becoming a trend and losing its original significance and symbolism. In the autumn of that year, the police began to investigate the murder of Euronymous of Mayhem, naming Varg Vikernes (of Burzum) as a suspect; this investigation eventually led to the incarceration of Samoth for arson, and of Faust for the murder of Adamec.
In 1994, In the Nightside Eclipse was released, and earned Emperor widespread acclaim and a large fanbase. The album is considered by many a definitive black metal record, with its epic, evolving song structures, ambient keyboard sounds, and raspy, spewed vocals.
After Samoth's parole, the band was joined by Trym on drums, and at the end of 1996, Emperor entered the studio to record Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk. Featuring a much more progressive sound than their earlier output, Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk was a much more commercial effort, winning the 'album of the year' poll in many popular metal magazines around the world, including UK Terrorizer and US Metal Maniacs.
Now continuing their career as a trio, with Ihsahn handling keyboards, vocals, guitars and bass, the band recorded their third album IX Equilibrium and toured Europe and the United States. It was around 2000 when Samoth and Trym started to gravitate more towards death metal, while Ihsahn directed his musical exploration towards the more artistic and progressive side of extreme metal, as shown by his side project, Peccatum. Thus, in 2001, Emperor decided to disband after releasing one final album, Prometheus: The Discipline of Fire & Demise, composed entirely by Ihsahn.
Following the breakup, Samoth and Trym continued playing in the black/death metal outfit Zyklon, while Ihsahn concentrated on his family project Peccatum. Later Ihsahn announced a solo project, much in the vein of Prometheus: The Discipline of Fire & Demise and Peccatum, featuring drummer Asgeir Mickelson of Borknagar and Vintersorg. It has generated positive feedback in the black metal community.
Recently, Ihsahn announced an Emperor Tablature Book based on their Scattered Ashes: A Decade of Emperial Wrath compilation album, containing thirteen Emperor tracks from their back catalogue. It will be transcribed by Ihsahn with a foreword also by him, and is to be released October 31 via Candlelight Records. Emperor's albums were also re-issued in a special box version with a bonus poster on Aug. 21, 2007.
Samoth announced on October 23rd, 2007 that Emperor will be preparing a second official DVD release