Album: Woods of Ypres, Woods 5: Grey Skies and Electric Light
Label: Earache Records
Release: January 31, 2012


Tracks:
1. Career Suicide (Is Not Real Suicide)
2. Travelling Alone
3. Alternate Ending
4. Lightning & Snow
5. Finality
6. Death Is Not An Exit
7. Adora Vivos
8. Silver
9. Modern Life Architecture
10. Kiss My Ashes (Goodbye) (Pt.1)
11. Kiss My Ashes (Goodbye) (Pt.2)

As if listening to the bleak world views on a Woods of Ypres record wasn’t depressing enough, add to it that fact that frontman David Gold was killed in a car accident on December 22nd and Woods 5 becomes one of the saddest records you’ve ever heard.

Woods of Ypres was one of those rare bands that have done everything right from the start of their career. These Canadians started out as more of a black metal band but even so was quite melodic. As the years and albums progressed, they switch to more of a plodding doom-ish sound complete with blissful moments of atmosphere spread throughout the records.

David Gold’s vocal style has also changed a bit over the years from a growl to half growl-half clean and on Woods 5, almost 100% clean singing. And on top of it, the deepness of his singing voice can’t help but remind you of another frontman that left us too early, Peter Steele of Type O Negative.

Amidst random positive lyrics about loving Canada and describing blissful nature scenes lies words not of hatred but of depression. I’ve listened to quite a bit of music in the tiny niche of suicidal black metal which is all about killing yourself and ending it all (which is kind of weird to hear from bands on say, three consecutive records – I mean, shouldn’t you already be dead?) but to me, Woods 5 may very well be the saddest and most depressing record I’ve heard in a very long time. It certainly helps that with the clean vocals present, I can understand all the lyrics which paints a better picture than poorly produced grunts.

Most of the lyrics are about how shitty the world is and really about being fine with letting it all just end and moving on to something better. Not really about taking your life, but rather just simply living your damned existence out until the end. “Alternate Ending” was the first track that really got me a little choked up on the disc with lyrics like, “In the end, was there anyone to share in your joy? / I woke up one day…and realized it was already over” and “Holding on / To a dream / When the end / Couldn’t come slow enough for me.” Or the lyrics in “Death Is Not An Exit” – “We were nothing / For a billion years before our time / And we will be / Nothing more again / For an eternity yet to come.”

When Gold passed away, Earache paid tribute to him by posting the new album on their site for a little while. Having been a fan who loved the last record, I was already looking forward to this one and his death certainly made me even more curious. Adding that into the mix makes the content of Adora Vivos even sadder: “A moment of silence / But not one moment more / The dead are to be forgotten / We are here to be adored.”

But really, it’s when you get all the way through this disc and hit the two part “Kiss My Ashes (Goodbye)” that the emotion becomes almost unbearable.
“To mourn the end is to say goodbye / Not To yearn for that which we will never have again / We cry for our life together / Because we know it will end / And we try to understand / How we could ever love again. Save your tears, at the end of our time / We’ve cried enough in our lives / At the end of our time / just kiss my ashes goodbye.”

With all this sadness comes one more thing; Woods 5 is fantastic. It’s the crowning achievement of a band that has been both raved about and hated on for years. It’s virtually perfect in every way but now there will be no building on that in the future. Kind of ironic that Gold’s darkest moment comes about right before Woods of Ypres would have its brightest.