“Man is wolf to man.” Not only is this a quote from the Roman playwright Plautus, one of the earliest known Latin authors, but it is also the title of the earliest known demo recording from local metal slayers Nordic Forge. “[The title track] is a song Jimi wrote almost all at once,” explains the vocalist, Rueben. “Then, I wrote the lyrics after listening to the hymn ‘O Rubor Sanguinis’ by Saint Hildegard Von Bingen.” Determined not to be just another scrawled name in the metal world, the guys in Nordic Forge draw their creativity from classics such as Shakespeare (“Throne of Blood”) and saintly hymns, to an array of bands from the early days of thrash metal and the extremes in Scandinavia. Mario, the act’s guitarist, cites atmospheric and melodic groups like Dissection, At the Gates, and Darkthrone as influences. “Always Darkthrone,” he emphasizes. Only known by their first names, the band of intellectual malcontents consists of Reuben on flesh-curling vocals, brothers Mario and Jimi decimating the guitar scales, Ben on thunderous bass, and Andrew manning the rapid-firing drums.
Although Jimi, Rueben and Mario have been writing music together since 2004, the current line-up has impressively been together less than a year and has already cracked the skull of the metal community, playing with the legendary Goatwhore last May and Dusted Angel this month. “For years this town has lacked any kind of gathering point for the metal community,” Mario begins with a grin, “Although that’s changing now and we’re starting to see … a larger group of people stoked to come see a heavy metal show.” And heavy metal it is. Not for the faint of heart or sensitive in hearing, Nordic Forge’s live show is an all-out assault on one’s psyche; smoothly transitioning from sanity to madness before the audience can come to grips with what is happening. “To me, [the name Nordic Forge] means a harsh world,” describes Reuben. “Unyielding, unrelenting inhumane fate. It’s a fist in the face of existence.” mat weir
INFO: 9 p.m. Friday, July 30. Blue Lagoon, 923 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. $5. 423-7117. Photo Credit: Brian Baumgartner