Tristania was founded in 1996, by Einar Moen (synth & programming), Kenneth Olsson (drums) and former singer/guitarist Morten Veland. Moen and Veland decided to leave the band Uzi Suicide, which they were a part of. They managed to get Olsson to join them in their new band, Tristania. Shortly after, Rune Ã˜sterhus (bass) and Anders H. Hidle (guitar) joined the band.
In May 1997 the band entered the studio for the first time and recorded their demo in Klepp Lydstudio. In the meantime, Vibeke Stene had been recruited. She was supposed to contribute on the demo as a session musician, but the rest of the band were convinced on that her voice matched the band perfectly, and she became the 6th member.
During the summer of 97 the demo was distributed to different labels, and Napalm Records came up with the best offer. Tristanias first release on Napalm was the MCD named Tristania, which was the demo, but with a new mix and artwork.
Inspired by good reviews for the MCD all over Europe, the band was eager to record the debut album. After some months, Moen and Veland had the songs ready.
Before the end of 97, their first full-length album Widow's Weeds was recorded and released in the beginning of 1998. Widow's Weeds is a symphonic metal album with elements from different genres, such as gothic rock, death metal, classical music and black metal. Essential for the album were 2 session musicians, which both have been important on the bands later albums. Ã˜sten BergÃ¸y (Morendoes), who today is a regular member of the band, contributed with clean male vocals on the song Angellore. Violins were plaid by Pete Johansen (The Scarr), who also has been contributing on the later albums of Tristania.
After doing their first live shows outside of Norway as a support act for Lacrimosa in Belgium and on the Mind Over Matter Festival in Austria during the summer of 98, Tristania went on their first European tour in the autumn same year, together with Solefald and Haggard.
In 1999, the 2nd full-length album, Beyond The Veil, was released. The songs on the album are built around the same elements as the previous one, but all in all the album is a bit more extreme, compared to Widow's Weeds. Moen/Veland were still writing most of the music, but Moen and Hidle also composed a couple of the tracks together this time.
Ã˜sten BergÃ¸y and Pete Johansen were once again contributing on a Tristania album, in addition to yet another singer; Jan Kenneth Barkved (Elusive).
The band followed up the album with their first headlining tour, together with The Sins Of Thy Beloved, Trail of Tears and Antichrisis as support acts.
1999 was also the year for Tristania to appear at the Wacken Festival, and joining Tiamat on the Skeleton Skeletron Tour together with Anathema.
In 2000, Tristania continued the extensive touring, and went on a new European headliner tour, in addition to several of the European summer festivals.
2000 was also the year that the band got their first opportunities to tour outside of Europe, with festival shows in Mexico in August and the US in November.
In the end of 2000, Veland and the rest of the band decided to go on separate ways, due to musical and social differences.
The band was eager to go on with the composing, and Moen and Hidle continued to work on their new song material for the 3rd album, World of Glass. The album was recorded in Sound Suite Studio, France during the spring of 2001. Since the replacement for Veland wasn't ready yet, Ronny Thorsen (Trail of Tears) contributed on the extreme vocals, while BergÃ¸y and Barkved contributed with clean vocals. Pete Johansen did the violins for his 3rd time on a Tristania release.
After returning to Norway, Kjetil Ingebrethsen (Blindfolded) joined the band as a replacement for Veland. At the same time it was a natural thing that also Ã˜sten BergÃ¸y became a regular member of the band, after participating at all the 3 full-length albums. He had become more and more important as a singer, and on World of Glass also as a lyricist.
World of Glass was released in September 2001, and the album represents the natural next step for the band, after Widow's Weeds and Beyond The Veil, and the band managed both to keep the "tristanian" sound and the basic elements in the music, as well as to have development and natural progress. The musical diversity that always has been important for the band became even clearer with World of Glass. This album also included the first ever cover-version recorded by Tristania, called The Modern End, originally recorded by the legendary Norwegian band Seigmen.
Just days after the album was released, the band started the World of Glass Tour in Europe, supported by Rotting Christ, Vintersorg and country-mates Madder Mortem.
The touring continued in 2002, with more European gigs as well as shows in Mexico, Chile, Brazil and Columbuia.
Tristania is at the moment having a break from touring, focusing solely on the next album, which is expected to be recorded late 2003.