In 1992, on Christmas Eve, Hades guitarist and founding member, Jørn Inge Tunsberg, along with Count Grishnackh, set fire to the Åsane Church in Bergen. The police investigation lasted about a year and it took another year for Norwegian authorities to convict Tunsberg. He began serving his two-year sentence in March of 1995, just a few months after the release of Hades’ debut album “…Again Shall Be.” Though his time in prison stalled the band’s progress, Tunsberg and his bandmates remained committed to the work they’d begun with Hades. Tunsberg’s prison sentence meant the band could not tour; however, while incarcerated, Tunsberg and bassist/vocalist Janto Garmanslund continued writing. Due to the comparatively relaxed nature of the Norwegian penal system, Tunsberg was able to rehearse with the band—both in the prison and at their rehearsal space—and was even allowed to play a show in Bergen in May of 1996. A couple months later, the band returned to Grieghallen Studio to record their monumental second album, “The Dawn of the Dying Sun,” featuring the core lineup of Tunsberg, Garmansland, drummer Remi Andersen, and second guitarist Stig Hagenes. Released in December 1997 on Full Moon Productions, “The Dawn of the Dying Sun” represented the full bloom of Hades’ sound. Featuring vigorous riffs ensconced among cascading windswept melodies, “The Dawn of the Dying Sun” is compositionally darker and more aggressive than the band’s debut album. The densely layered production and complex songwriting give the album a unique balance of power and atmosphere perfectly suited to the band’s thematic and lyrical content, which is also represented by the striking cover art—a portion of a painting from 1881 by the Norwegian painter Olaf Isaachsen. The title “Tore Hund ved Olav den Helliges lik på Stiklestad” (“Tore Hund By St. Olav’s Body on Stiklestad”) refers to the Battle of Stiklestad, in 1030, at which Hund, a revered pagan Viking, participated in the murder of King Olaf II, a Norwegian king responsible for the promulgation of Christianity. Often heralded as a virtually perfect album by many but far too frequently overlooked, “The Dawn of the Dying Sun” belongs in the canon of Norwegian black metal.

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