Samoth (born Tomas Thormodsæter Haugen on June 9, 1974) is a prominent musician and multi-instrumentalist in the Norwegian black metal scene. He is well known for his distinct guitar work and drumming in the band Emperor, as well as his formation of the death metal band Zyklon. In very early Emperor releases, he was called Samot, and with the formation of Zyklon he became known as Zamoth. Samoth is the owner of the record label Nocturnal Art Productions and has a close relationship with Candlelight Records.
Samoth was born in June 9, 1974 in Hammerfest, Norway. He is the son of Spoonful of Blues bass player Jens Haugen, who encouraged his son to play bass guitar. He grew up and lived in Tromsø, Norway and still resides there to this day. When Samoth was a young man, he met a fellow musician, who would later become known as Ihsahn, at a rock clinic in Bergen. The two soon became friends and started playing music together. They formed a band and moved through various names – they were called Dark Device, Xerasia, and finally Embryonic. The group eventually settled on the name Thou Shalt Suffer in 1991. They were playing an early form of black metal strongly influenced by death metal, particularly vocally.
Samoth and Ihsahn's friendship proved to be strong, however, and eventually the two took their musicianship to a new level. Partly due to the influence of Euronymous of the band Mayhem, Samoth dissolved Thou Shalt Suffer and began writing music for a new band called Emperor (in which he played drums). Ihsahn was the only member of Thou Shalt Suffer to remain, and soon bass player Mortiis and drummer Faust were recruited; Samoth moved back to his more familiar position of guitar. At this point, the group was playing fully developed black metal. Emperor was quick to release several demos in 1992 and 1993, which gained them recognition and popularity in the underground. Mortiis did not stay in the band, and decided to form his own, more electronic-based solo band. He was succeeded by Tchort.
In 1994 Samoth was sentenced to 16 months in prison for burning Skjold Church in Vindafjord, together with Varg Vikernes The arson was committed during a pause in the recording of the Burzum EP Aske (Ashes), where Samoth performed as a session bass player. As Tchort and Faust were also imprisoned at this time, Ihsahn was the only remaining bandmember outside prison, and Emperor didn't release another album in three years. Tchort and Faust did not return to the band.
After years of playing in Emperor and being featured on various black metal side projects, Samoth, in conjunction with Ihsahn, decided to dissolve Emperor in 2001 due to their differing musical tastes. Although black metal was both Samoth and Ihsahn's biggest influence and favorite genre of music, Samoth was leaning toward a futuristic death metal sound, while Ihsahn was more influenced by gothic metal and symphonic metal. After Emperor's final release, Prometheus: The Discipline Of Fire & Demise, composed entirely by Ihsahn, Emperor was no more. Samoth continues to play guitar with fellow drummer Trym in death metal band Zyklon.
Emperor regrouped in 2006 with the core trio of Ihsahn, Samoth and Trym augmented by a bassist and a keyboardist, and played a few one-night-off gigs in Europe and USA in 2006 and 2007.
He has one daughter with ex-wife Andrea Haugen. He remarried since his divorce and he also has a daughter with his wife Erin.