“By the time you read this, I will already be dead
Do not reply to this, it is only to be read…”
(from ‘Woods IV: The Green Album‘, 2011)
Woods Of Ypres is one of these sad cases in music when a band with good material is suddenly over because of its mastermind’s death. David Gold died in a car accident at the age of 31 in December 2011, just before the release of the band’s fifth album ‘Woods 5: Grey Skies & Electric Light‘ and plans to make their first European tour.
We see many bands that try to carry on when members leave, but often when a death occurs it is much harder to do so. If you know the story of Woods Of Ypres already, then you will understand why the band immediately split. David Gold was the main brain and constant member of WoY in which over 20 musicians took part from 2002 to 2011. This fact doesn’t diminish the contribution of the other musicians, but it does reveal the talent and dedication of Gold. He was responsible for the lyrics and most of the music, and of the second album ‘Pursuit Of The Sun & Allure Of The Earth‘ (2004, Krankenhaus Records) for the vocals.
The music of WoY is a combination of black and post-black, doom and gothic metal. While the first album ‘Against The Seasons: Cold Winter Songs From The Dead Summer Heat‘ (2002, Krankenhaus Records) is a pure black metal album, which somewhat reaches a melodic black atmosphere, the next four albums consisted of black metal tracks and doom/gothic metal tracks. ‘Woods 5: Grey Skies & Electric Light‘ seems to be more solid than the previous records, however ‘Woods IV: The Green Album‘ (2009, Practical Art Records/Earache Records) revealed the kind of sound WoY would have in the future. Gold’s vocals have improved and his lyrics remain poetic and deep. From this fourth album ‘I Was Buried In Mount Pleasant Cemetery‘ stands out, which is probably the track that made many, including myself, to look more towards the band. This album also has tracks like ‘Don’t Open The Wounds / Skywide Armspread‘ and ‘Move On! (The Woman Will Always Leave The Man)‘ which have a Type O Negative atmosphere.
The fifth album keeps switching from black to doom metal tracks, feeling to me personally less complicated. ‘Death Is Not An Exit‘, ‘Adora Vivos‘ and ‘Kiss My Ashes (Goodbye)‘ are very powerful tracks, both musically and lyrically. While in the previous records WoY get inspiration from the natural elements in order to express the inevitable decomposition of life, the fifth album is more direct and even harsh and passive/aggressive. ‘Woods 5: Grey Skies & Electric Light‘ won they Juno Award in April 2013. Unfortunately, from this last album I come to the conclusion that if David Gold was still alive Woods Of Ypres could in the future be considered significant in the same way as bands like Paradise Lost and Amorphis.
The surviving members of Woods Of Ypres’ final line-up joined forces in the black metal band Thrawsunblat. David Gold’s friends and fellow musicians also released a tribute and covered 19 favorite songs, called ‘Heart Of Gold: A Tribute To Woods Of Ypres‘ (May 2013).