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Kristian Eivind Espedal (born August 7, 1975), better known by his stage name Gaahl, is a Norwegianmarker black metal vocalist, best known as the former frontman of Norwegian bands Gorgoroth and God Seed. He is also the founder and frontman of Trelldom and Gaahlskagg. As of 2008, he has been involved in other projects such as Wardruna.



Gaahl was born in Sunnfjord in Sogn og Fjordanemarker, Norwaymarker, in 1975. He spent his youth living in a small valley called Espedalmarker, in the municipality of Fjalermarker. Gaahl, along with his family, still retain residences in the valley, although they are fifteen minutes apart from each other, and Gaahl spends much of his time in Bergenmarker.

Musical career

Gaahl became involved with black metal in 1993, when he co-formed the band Trelldom. During the mid and late 1990s he also become involved with the bands Gaahlskagg (with Gorgoroth live guitarist Skagg) and Sigfader (with Skagg and Kvitrafn). Gaahl joined Gorgoroth in 1998, and was first heard on their fourth album Destroyer; although he only sang on the title track. He made his live debut in May that year, when Gorgoroth played five dates in Germany on Cradle of Filth's European tour. Ten years later in the January 2009 issue of Terrorizer Magazine, Gaahl and Cradle of Filth frontman Dani Filth incorrectly alluded to have played thirty concerts together on this tour, including one in Toulousemarker, Francemarker when Gaahl did not first perform there until two years later.

The first Gorgoroth album to feature Gaahl as main vocalist was Incipit Satan. The album was recorded during July–October 1999, and was primarily written by Infernus. This was also the first Gorgoroth album to feature elements of industrial, dark ambient, and noise music. In May 2002, Gorgoroth began recording their album Twilight of the Idols. However, Gaahl was imprisoned for assault throughout that year, and was unable to record his vocals until January 2003.

In February 2004, Gorgoroth staged a concert in Krakówmarker, Polandmarker which featured impaled sheep heads, satanic symbols, and a mock-crucifixion performed by naked models doused in blood. A police investigation took place with allegations of religious offense (which is prosecutable under Polish law) and cruelty to animals. Though these charges were considered, the band was not charged as they were unaware that what they were doing was illegal. The controversy led to the band being dropped from the Nuclear Blast Tour and the footage of the concert being confiscated by the police. Subsequently, Gorgoroth terminated their contract with the label.

After the drums, bass and guitar parts had been recorded between January and May 2005, Gaahl arranged and recorded the vocals for Ad Majorem Sathanas Gloriam in March 2006, and the album was mastered in April. Although the title was conceived by Infernus, the lyrics and music of this album were written entirely by Gaahl and King ov Hell. Shortly thereafter, Gaahl was again imprisoned for nine months.

In April 2007, Gaahl was the focus of a five-part series entitled True Norwegian Black Metal. The series was produced by photographer Peter Beste and debuted on, the broadcast network of Vice Magazine. Gaahl offered Beste an interview and tour of his residence in Espedal.

In October 2007, Gaahl and bassist King ov Hell tried to remove founding member Infernus from Gorgoroth. In 2009 the Oslo City District Court found that by doing this, Gaahl and King ov Hell instead excluded themselves from the band in October 2007, thus ending Gaahl's time in Gorgoroth. Gaahl and King assumed the name God Seed in March 2009.

It was reported that Gaahl had been spending the winter of 2008-2009 in Spainmarker, Gaahl later confirmed that in early 2009 he had been spending a two month vacation there with his boyfriend Robin. In February 2009, Nettavisen reported that he was helping Dan De Vero record a debut album, but within a day of the article's publication the article was revised with all references to Gaahl removed, although his name has been retained in tags. King also stated in an interview that Gaahl had been spending his time in Spain working on lyrics and vocal arrangements for the debut God Seed album. However, in an interview conducted with King in April 2009 - after Gaahl returned from Spain - he stated the following:

We have recorded everything in the studio and are just waiting for Gaahl to put on vocals on it.
So we have only vocals and the final mix to go before it's all done.
It's sometimes a nightmare to work with him in the studio because of the pride he puts into the smallest details.
If he is not in the right mood or doesn't find the correct words we get nothing done.
At times I've spent days in the studio counting seconds with nothing happening.
It's the same way now, but I know in the end the result will be unique and powerful.
We have to wait till Gaahl is done writing his lyrics to chose the title for the album.
When the whole concept of this album is done lyrically we’ll decide which title to use.

After performing with God Seed at two concerts in summer 2009 Gaahl revealed that he had quit the band. His God Seed bandmate King later clarified that Gaahl had in fact chosen to retire from metal music, with King 'freezing' God Seed's activities as a result.

Criminal convictions

In the period February-December 2002, Gaahl was imprisoned for assaulting a man, and was forced to pay the victim 158,000 NOK (26,963 US$). From April–December 2006, Gaahl spent another nine months (of a fourteen month sentence) in prison. He was accused of assaulting and torturing a man for six hours while collecting his blood into a cup and threatening to make him drink it. The victim received a total of 190,000 NOK (32,424 US$). Gaahl maintains that he was acting in self-defence, claiming that:
I was the one who was attacked, but they think I punished him too hard.
As I always say, when people cross my line ... then I will be the one to decide what their punishment will be.

Personal life

During the trial in 2004, it was claimed that Gaahl is a vegetarian. He himself discussed this in an interview in December 2005. However, some sources have claimed otherwise.

According to Gaahl, he and King ov Hell are friends with Martin Eric Ain and Thomas Gabriel Fischer of the influential extreme metal band Celtic Frost.

In July 2008, Gaahl revealed in an online interview that he was involved in the creation of Wynjo, an upcoming fashion collection for women, together with Norwegian modeling agent Dan De Vero and designer Sonja Wu. At the same time, it was also revealed that he had been involved in a close personal relationship with De Vero since 2006. It was stated that they were no longer a couple but remained as good friends. In an interview for the November 2008 issue of Rock Hard, Gaahl confirmed his homosexual orientation.

Shortly thereafter, De Vero stated that he had received threats from people within the black metal community, both at his door and by phone and email. It was also alleged that a fight had erupted backstage at Wacken Open Air, triggered by homophobic remarks. Allegedly, the person who made the remarks had to be hospitalised. However, Gaahl denied that anyone had ever "said anything derogatory to my face". When asked by the webzine FaceCulture if he thinks people will see him and his music differently now that he has publicly acknowledged his homosexuality, Gaahl replied:
Mankind is known to be narrow-minded, so... maybe some [will have a negative reaction].
But I guess it will even out the score in a way.
I think it will be positive for some and negative for some.
It's always good to have some negative as well.
Otherwise you would end up with equality and equality is the worst thing in the world.
Equality is stagnation.
It doesn't let anything grow.
It holds back.


Gaahl is a practitioner of old Norse Shamanism and can often be seen wearing a Mjolnir pendant.

Christianity and Satanism

Gaahl is strongly opposed to Christianity, and to the imposition of one's own religious beliefs on others. He has often been mistaken as a Satanist, but objects to being labelled as such. In an early interview he stated that "I am my own God as I am my own Satan. So I'm not a Satanist judging by those terms. Maybe you could call it Gaahlism". He repeated this belief in the documentary True Norwegian Black Metal when he said "the god within yourself is the only true god". When asked if he was influenced by Friedrich Nietzsche for expressing these beliefs as well as his use of the "Superman" terminology, he responded:

For me he doesn´t mean anything and I haven´t a lot of things in common with him.
Personally, I focus on myself, on my own thoughts.

Gaahl has expressed opposition to the Church of Satan, describing it as a group of "weak people flocking like rats, afraid of standing alone" and continuing "Anton LaVey and his followers are incredibly ridiculous. It's all so childish. I will not waste my breath on discussing them". Gaahl uses Satanic themes for its confrontational value, explaining that:
We live in a Christian world and we have to speak their language ...
When I use the word Satan, it means the natural order, the will of a man, the will to grow, the will to become the superman and not to be oppressed by any law such as the church, which is only a way to control the masses.

Black metal

Regarding black metal, Gaahl sees individuality as the most important aspect of the genre. He has described black metal as "the depiction of honesty without compromise" and "a war for those who hear the whisper". When asked in the documentary Metal: A Headbanger's Journey (2005) for his thoughts on the church burnings associated with the early Norwegian black metal scene, Gaahl replied:
Church burnings are, of course, a thing that I support one hundred percent.
It should have been done much more, and will be done much more in the future.
We have to remove every trace from what Christianity, and the semitic roots, have to offer this world.

However, in a controversial interview from 1995 he also stated:
Well, personally I don't mind it at all, but I fear that it might cause among people fear of nihilism and anti-Christian views that black metal represents, and in that way lead neutral people to succumbing to Christendom because that is what they accept and don't want to lose.
I think it's the wrong way to proceed.


Gaahl maintains that he has no clear set of political beliefs, and that his circle of friends includes both right-wingers and left-wingers. However, in a controversial 1995 interview he stated his support for Varg Vikernes, Adolf Hitler and Roman emperors Julius Caesar, Augustus, Caligula and Nero. He also described people such as "niggers", "mulattoes" and Muslims as "subhuman". In 2008 his controversial views from that period were brought to light in Rock Hard magazine. Gaahl explained:

In the early '90s, there were all these different youth gangs in Norway and one thing led to another.
I was involved in gang fights and had false friends ...
There was no political disposition – not with me nor any of my friends.
But you had to profess allegiance to a certain group if you wanted to defend yourself and not get your ass kicked.


Year Title Band
1994 Disappearing of the Burning Moon (demo) Trelldom
1995 Til Evighet Trelldom
1998 Til et Annet Trelldom
1998 Destroyer Gorgoroth
1999 Sigfaders hevner (demo) Sigfader
1999 Split With Stormfront Gaahlskagg
2000 Erotic Funeral Gaahlskagg
2000 Incipit Satan Gorgoroth
2003 Twilight of the Idols Gorgoroth
2006 Ad Majorem Sathanas Gloriam Gorgoroth
2006 True Narcotic Black Metal Secht
2007 Til Minne Trelldom
2008 Black Mass Krakow 2004 Gorgoroth
2008 True Norwegian Black Metal - Live in Grieghallen Gorgoroth
2009 Runaljóð - gap var Ginnunga Wardruna
2009 Skandinavisk misantropi Skitliv

Other appearances:


File:God Seed Hellfest 2009 10.jpg|Gaahl with God Seed (2009)File:God Seed Hellfest 2009 12.jpg|Gaahl with God Seed (2009)File:God Seed Hellfest 2009 13.jpg|Gaahl with God Seed (2009)File:God Seed Hellfest 2009 14.jpg|Gaahl and Teloch with God Seed (2009)File:God Seed Hellfest 2009 15.jpg|Gaahl with God Seed (2009)File:Gorgoroth 201107 Paris 01.jpg|Gaahl and King (2007)File:Gorgoroth 201107 Paris 10.jpg|Gaahl (2007)File:Gorgoroth 201107 Paris 13.jpg|Gaahl (2007)


  1. Encyclopaedia Metallum - Gaahlskagg
  2. Encyclopaedia Metallum - Sigfader
  3. Gorgoroth - Live
  4. GORGOROTH (Voices from the Dark Side interview)
  5. Norwegian black metal band shocks Poland -
  6. BLABBERMOUTH.NET - GORGOROTH: 'Black Mass In Krakow' DVD May Get Released After All
  9. DAN DEVERO - Vil bli popstjerne - Nettavisen
  10. Imhotep - Interviews/Articles - GOD SEED – NEW ENERGY
  11. Metal News - King Ov Hell Discusses New Band God Seed (Metal )
  14. Metal Hammer - News Article
  15. [Gaahlskagg Myspace Blog]
  18. Imhotep
  19. Gorgoroth interview @
  20. Gorgoroth Interview bei
  21. Dunn, Sam (2005). Metal: A Headbanger's Journey
  22. Interview with Gaahl from Polish Holocaust Magazine, 1995 [1]
  23. Interview with Gaahl from Polish Holocaust Magazine, 1995 [2]
  24. - Interview with Dirge Rep
  25. Wardruna Official website - News
  26. - WARDRUNA Signs With INDIE RECORDINGS - Oct. 27, 2008
  27. - - MANIAC's SKITLIV Signs With SEASON OF MIST - Apr. 4, 2009

External links

  1. True Norwegian Black Metal Part 1
  2. True Norwegian Black Metal Part 2
  3. True Norwegian Black Metal Part 3
  4. True Norwegian Black Metal Part 4
  5. True Norwegian Black Metal Part 5

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