Ian Read became an adherent of Germanic neopaganism at age 17 and began studying Germanic paganism and the runes. Read learned to speak German and read Old Norse, Old English and the Modern Scandinavian languages to further his studies in Northern European history and folklore. He encodes wisdom from these interests in his music.
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 formed Sol Invictus with Tony Wakeford. He 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.
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 published the periodical Rûna until its final 24th issue.
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.