Tristania was formed at the end of 1996 by Morten Veland, Einar Moen and Kenneth Olsson from the remains of their previous band Uzi Suicide. Later, Anders H. Hidle and Vibeke Stene joined the band, along with bassist Rune Osterhus. In May 1997 their first EP, Tristania, was released. The same year Tristania released its first full length album, Widow's Weeds. A year later, following the Angina single, they recorded their second full length album, titled Beyond the Veil, which is thought by many fans to be not only the finest Tristania project but also the album which best represents the band's sound. The music is considered very atmospheric and full of deep melodic passion. Veland left shortly after the release of Beyond the Veil due to musical differences.
In 2001 their third album, World of glass was released. The growling vocals on this album were sung by Ronny Thorsen, a member of Trail of Tears, and the clean vocals were sung by Jan Kenneth Barkved and Østen Bergøy. Bergøy then joined the band as a permanent member, and so did Kjetil Ingebrethsen, who was in charge of singing death vocals.
The band's fourth album Ashes (2005) was the first of Tristania's albums on the SPV label after their contract with Napalm Records expired. The album takes the once heavily atmospheric gothic sound of the band and replaces it with a decidedly more progressive style. The choirs are gone, as are the more challenging vocal parts reminiscent of World of glass and Beyond the Veil. Anders Hidle and Einar Moen add their vocals to certain tracks on the album. Two of the songs were actually written by the Tristania.com webmaster, Kjartan Hermansen ("Libre" and "Circus") while the song "The Wretched" is based on "Ascending: Descending" a poem by Hermansen.
Also on Ashes, the violins of Pete Johansen which so often accompanied the previous Tristania albums were replaced by the cello melodies of Hans Josef Groh. The album marked a lyrical and musical simplification of the band.
The Ashes Tour in Europe (minus Einar Moen, who remained at home to work on more material for the band, but is still an active member) brought about another change for the band, the addition of a second guitarist Svein Terje Solvang who previously played with the band for touring purposes. His addition to the band as a permanent member in May 2005 marked the first time Tristania has had a two-guitarist team since Beyond the Veil.
In April 2006, Kjetil Ingebrethsen left Tristania to embark on a lower level musical career.
On February 27 2007, Vibeke Stene left the band to teach singing and on October 19 2007, Mariangela Demurtas (ex-Reel Fiction, Alight) is announced as the new female singer.
Source : http://www.myspace.com/Tristania