After signing to Earache Records and seeing the relative success of ‘Woods 4: The Green Album’ last year, things were looking up for Woods Of Ypres. Little did we know at the time, that fifth record ‘Woods 5: Grey Skies & Electric Light’ would be released under such shadowed circumstances. The tragic death of David Gold shook fans to the core near the end of December last year, and instead of marking a new era, this record brings an indefinite period in the Canadian act’s existence.
‘Woods 5’ is dark, winter listening – an especially tough listen for any fan that found solace in the heartfelt messages of Gold’s lyrics. Musically, this album shows the natural doomy direction that Woods Of Ypres were taking after third record ‘The Deepest Roots And Darkest Blues’. It’s Gold’s vocal change that’s the most profound transformation on this record – having a cold, dark feeling with a deep, baritone depth that remains beautifully haunting throughout.
‘Lightning and Snow’ and ‘Adora Vivos’ are the nearest Woods trail to having a remotely black metal sound, and judging from the electric energy of the riffs and piercing quality of the grazed vocals – Woods could still carry the rawness of a black metal sound and juxtapose it beautifully with a human, emotive atmosphere.
From the soft lulling balladry of ‘Alternate Ending’ to the heartbreaking ‘Kiss My Ashes Goodbye Part 1’ and ‘Part 2′, this is a record that grows with listens as well as saddens. It’s up there with Woods Of Ypres’ best work. Despite the horrible tragedy that will always be associated with this album, we can still bask in its beauty and truly celebrate the life of an immensely talented musician. RIP David Gold.
Reviewed by Calum Robson
Woods 5: Grey Skies And Electric Light is out now on Earache
You’ll like this if… the extended winter freeze needs a soundtrack.