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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Featured Musician: ICS Vortex

Shagrath may be the iconic voice, Silenoz the creative shredder who comes up with most of their work and Hellhammer, as his name suggests, is one helluva hammering drummer. But when it comes down to it, what sets Dimmu Borgir apart most from their fellow black metal peers all comes down to this guy.

Simen Hestnæs aka ICS Vortex, apart from being the bassist and clean vocalist for Dimmu Borgir, is also the vocalist for Code and Lamented Souls. He has also lent his voice to Borknagar and the avant-garde metal band Arcturus, playing a pivotal role in the latter's last album, Sideshow Symphonies, which gained much critical acclaim and is arguably one of the best metal albums of 2005.

Vortex plays the bass guitar very competently, but his singing is just.. woah. Its hardly what you'd expect from someone in the metal scene I'd say. 8 minute-ers like Dimmu Borgir's Kings of the Carnival Creation get turned into epic gems just by that 30 odd seconds of his singing at the 4.30 second mark, its how his singing can just define a song. Looking just at his 198cm hulking frame, with that long wild blonde hair of his, who would expect a soulful voice from such a man huh?

According to wikipedia, Hestnæs gave himself the name ICS Vortex as a kinda joke on Garm, whom he replaced as vocalist in a band twice, as one of Garm's aliases was Fiery G. Maelstrom, and Icy S. Vortex is like a complete opposite of that: fiery and icy, maelstrom and vortex. That's not a really cool reason for an alias, but I'm personally partial to the word vortex so I think its a pretty awesome name either way =D.

Anyway, a video tribute to this guy from youtube is below, encompassing vocals from several of his songs from the various different bands he is/has been in, including the part for Kings of the Carnival Creation. A bit disgruntled there weren't really any from his Borknagar days but ah well Allehelgens Dod I Hellveds Rike kinda makes up for it I guess. Its a rather cool video as well, showing him in some performances, and also in some personal moments.

(Photos from photopit.com)

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