There were the bands that handed out razor blades at shows, bands that burnt churches and bands that used mental patients for vocals to get a true sense of pain and despair. Cold Forest wasn’t one of these.
In terms of heavy metal, Black Metal, in the truest sense of the word, takes loads of dedication. Viking longboats full amounts of dedication. Enough to fill a ship that you’re going to take to someone’s front door and turn their life upside down with. Enough to not care about anything because it’s all going to end anyhow. Valhalla and Ragnarok and all that.
The church-burners who were everywhere in a scene that was mainly nowhere in actual reality did take the time to showcase their extremeness, and extremeness was everything in this scene, this malign force that was somewhere in between all year Halloween and true self harm nihilism. These people, which was in reality just a couple, in Norway burning churches were expressing a sense of dedication which wasn’t necessarily present in Cold Forest. This sort of bothered Doom. While the most famous of the scene had murder, blood and excitement, Cold Forest had jobs they just sort of stumbled into, sinus problems and body issues. They also had what was looking to potentially be an extremely mediocre name which the singer refused to part with. Everyone, except of course the singer and bass player Maniacal who came up with it, thought it wasn’t actually that scary at all. Doom was beginning to be convinced that it was like everything they were all about.
The name was about the Nordic cold and the loneliness and melancholy it brings with it when combined with, of course, a big scary forest. Probably at night he assumed. At first he was convinced that they should be called Cold Huge Forest. Then, to impart the scale of the forest and hence the despair that would come with it, Cold Immense Forest. This string of names lasted exactly two beers on a Wednesday night until the beer ran out and the argument ran aground like a ship piloted by a dog with poor eyesight.
The main issue with the name was having to explain to other people, not even people who were not black metallers, but even other metal fans, that this was indeed a name and would impart feelings of being scary and horrible.
"Think of what you would feel like if you were in a huge cold forest right now,” Doom said, lunging, eyes bulging for effect.
“Is it sunny?”
“No. I don’t think so. No it’s definitely not sunny.”
“When is it?”
“What do you mean?”
“Time of year. Is it summer?"
"No, winter. It’s cold. You know, like the name. Cold Forest. Pretty clear name I think.”
“It can get cold at night in summer. What time of day is it?”
And so on and so on. The fact that he had to explain everything always led him to believe that their name was failing. Doom had a sinking feeling when he had this feeling because it was similar to another sinking feeling about the band in general. But he could not admit it, didn’t want to admit it. He needed this thing. But, maybe it- the logo - was, like most things, too late.
“I don’t know, doesn’t sound that frightening. I often like walking in winter in the forest.”
“Exactly! The despair and melancholy. You want the despair and melancholy.”
"Not really. It’s just kind of nice. Plus, the fresh air is good for you. If it’s winter though I would prefer to cross country ski. I don’t know, maybe try snow shoeing. Something like that.”
“Okay, but what if the sun was going down, or better yet, what if it was so grey that never come up fully, like in January. Then what?”
"Then it’s usually pretty cold.”
"So how is cold scary? Cold is just cold.
"It’s not necessarily about being scary, it’s about the despair. Cold…and the Forest.”
"I don’t think I get it.”
And so the exchanges would go, the pleading the offers of lines of intrigue and enquiry all squashed non-ceremoniously before they reached the gate. Cold Forest stuck though, through Doom’s stubbornness and through their dedication to their branding efforts and the money spent on the t-shirts.
© 2023 Jim Kosem