Ian Read is an English neofolk and traditional folk musician, and occultist active within Chaos magic and Germanic mysticism circles
Read left school at 16, and at the age of 17, he became an adherent of Germanic neopaganism and began studying Germanic paganism. He was particularly interested in galdor or magical metrical poetry and the runes. Read learned to speak and read Old Norse and Old English in addition to German to further his studies in Northern European history and folklore. These interests later heavily influenced his musical pursuits.
Read began his musical career with Current 93 and contributed vocals to the tracks, 'Benediction' and 'Malediction' on the 1987 album, Swastikas for Noddy. He aided Douglas P. on the Death In June album, Brown Book. He later appeared on Crooked Crosses for the Nodding God, a reworking of Swastikas for Noddy, with new tracks and arrangements.
In 1987 Read joined Tony Wakeford's Sol Invictus along with Karl Blake. Read recorded three albums and an EP with Sol Invictus before leaving to form the band Fire + Ice in 1991.
He has also been involved in musical projects with the bands While Angels Watch, Darkwood, Forseti and Sonne Hagal, the latter two projects in which he sang vocals in German. He has also collaborated with Paul Fredric of Asmodeus X and Alice Karlsdóttir in the neo-folk band Verdandi and sang a duet love song named 'The Unquiet Grave' with Ysanne Spevack under the artist name Mee.
Ian Read founded an all traditional folk band named Figg's Academy that played a couple of gigs, notably in 2008 at the Wave-Gotik-Treffen in Leipzig. The band was named after the bare-knuckle boxer James Figg.
In a concert, on the 28th of October in Pavia (Italy) in 2011, Ian Read said to the audience that he was working on a new Fire + Ice album that would be out in 2012. He also mentioned that Douglas P. and Michael Moynihan will participate to it. In concert in Prague (Czech Republic) on December 2nd, 2011 (playing before Death In June), he also mentioned a new album soon-to-be-released.
Fire + Ice:
Read founded Fire + Ice in 1991 after several years as a member of Sol Invictus. According to their sole website, "The heartlessness of the modern commercial consumer society ruins the lives of many. FIRE + ICE takes the purity and philosophy of early music and melds it into a message redolent with powerful seeds of honour, truth, loyalty and the bond of true friendship."
The music reflects Read's keen interests in magic lore, runes, tradition, renaissance medievalism, Nordic mysticism and other esoteric and occult mysteries. His work as Fire + Ice have had a large amount of influence on neofolk music. Others who have appeared on Fire + Ice albums include: Simon Norris, Michael Cashmore, Michael Moynihan, Annabel Lee, Joseph Budenholzer, Joolie Wood, Mathew Butler, Douglas Pearce and Freya Aswynn.
In 1996 Read was named as a Rune-Master within the Rune-Gild. His master work was the Fire + Ice album Rûna that included a self-written and sung galdor (or galdr) of the Rune poem. Read presently holds the position of Drighten in the Rune Gild and co-publishes the periodical Rûna.
Read became the leader of the English branch of the Illuminates of Thanateros (IOT), in the early 1990s after founder Peter Carroll stepped down as leading Magus. Read is currently the editor of the IOT's Chaos International.