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Woods Of Ypres - "W4: The Green Album" (CD)

Woods Of Ypres - "W4: The Green Album" CD cover image

"W4: The Green Album" track listing:

1. Shards of Love (Hurt Forever)
2. Everything I Touch Turns to Gold (Then to Coal)
3. By the Time You Read This (I Will Already be Dead)
4. I Was Buried in Mount Pleasant Cemetery
5. Into Exile: "Can You Get Here In 10 Days?"
6. Pining (For You)
7. Wet Leather
8. Suicide Cargoload (Drag that Weight!)
9. Halves and Quarters
10. You Are Here With Me (In This Sequence of Dreams)
11. Retrosleep in the Morning Calm
12. Don't Open The Wounds / Skywide Armspread
13. Natural Technologies
14. Mirror Reflection & the Hammer Reinvention
15. Our Union (In Limbo)
16. Move On! (The Woman will always leave the Man)

Reviewed by on April 16, 2011

"“The Green Album” yields plenty of catchy riffs, especially of the doom metal variety. Where the album excels, though, is in the area of melody."

While preparing for their Earache debut, “Woods 5: You Were the Light,” blackened doom outfit Woods of Ypres has found a vaster audience with the Earache reissue of their 2009 glum offering “IV: The Green Album.” Originally released via Practical Art Records, “The Green Album” shows marked improvement in all areas since the band’s first recording “Against the Seasons: Cold Winter Songs From the Dead of Summer Heat.”

Woods of Ypres’ fourth recording reveals stronger song dynamics, a greater mix of vocal styles, and richer melodies than the black metal dominated earlier material. The black metal persists here, but mostly as a vocal tool. With “IV,” band founder David Gold invokes the spirit of a wide range of artists including Borknagar, Danzig, Anathema, Katatonia, Cathedral, Amorphis and Green Carnation.

Songs of loss, failed relationships, suicide and other demoralizing topics are ideal for maintaining the album’s depressive mood. These moods often swell to the brim with emotional anguish, which transforms placid clean vocal and instrumental passages into ugly, distorted soundscapes. Heavy tones and quicker paces may become part of a song’s arrangement, but the band never turns away from the downtrodden, grief-stricken chords that characterize the album.

“Everything I Touch Turns to Gold (Then to Coal)” and the following track “By the Time You Read This (I Will Already be Dead)” are perfect examples of the album’s mournful doom metal tones. These tracks bring to mind material from Anathema’s first three albums. “And I Am Pining (For You)” features guitar strumming in the tradition of Katatonia and Daylight Dies, while the band bogeys on down to the altar of Cathedral on “Halves and Quarters.” “Natural Technologies” is a step back in time to the group’s earlier black metal incarnations.

“The Green Album” yields plenty of catchy riffs, especially of the doom metal variety. Where the album excels, though, is in the area of melody. Many of the songs have a memorable refrain; David Gold creates vocal harmonies that should elicit a hum or two. His deep, middle range is at times Nordic in nature, at other times it brings to mind Danzig and Peter Steele. He spins a memorable dialog between two wayward lovers on “Shards of Love,” and perfectly matches the somber harmony of “Everything I Touch Turns to Gold (Then to Coal).”

From vocals to melodies to heavy grooves, “IV: The Green Album” works on many levels. The main point of negation on this record, though, is it seems the quality slightly drops after the first four songs. These songs aren’t bad, but don’t stand out like the first few. Maybe the length of the album—16 tracks—makes listening to the whole album difficult. Placing your player on shuffle will allow you to make that assessment. Those four tracks, though, are good enough to give this a high rating. Fans of the above-mentioned bands take notice.

Highs: "The Green Album" features rich melody, catchy refrain and strong sense of sorrow.

Lows: The album is long and the song quality drops off after the first few songs.

Bottom line: From vocals to melodies to heavy grooves, “IV: The Green Album” is a doomy album that works on many levels.

Rated 4.0 out of 5 skulls
4.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)