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Woods Of Ypres - "Woods 5: Grey Skies & Electric Light" (CD)

Woods Of Ypres - "Woods 5: Grey Skies & Electric Light" CD cover image

"Woods 5: Grey Skies & Electric Light" track listing:

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)

Reviewed by on January 18, 2012

"The future of Woods of Ypres is uncertain. If this is the end, then the band and their fans can take comfort knowing the band created their best piece of musical art."

The late David Gold penned a song called “Finality” on his last Woods of Ypres album, “Woods 5: Grey Skies & Electric Light.” On the track, Gold exclaims, “Though we leave the world apart, I, still went peacefully, quietly, with you, still firmly in my heart. I will wait forever. I wait...,” as the track then ends with over a half-minute of silence. We reserve a moment of silence as a way to pay homage and remembrance to those who have passed. Gold might have been using this section as a way to remember his wayward lover, but it has taken on a different meaning with his death. Now, every time one hears the sound of silence, this listener will be reminded of Gold.

Death, whether metaphorical or literal, made its cold presence felt throughout the lyrics of Woods of Ypres’ former albums, and this abstract idea occurs with great frequency on this album, much more so than “Woods 4: The Green Album.” Songs such as “Death is not an Exit,” “Finality,” and both parts of “Kiss My Ashes (Goodbye)” ask existential questions about the nature of our relationship with death. Is there an afterlife (“Death is not an Exit”), does God exist and do I perceive this force or person in the same light as others (Travelling Alone”) and does love live on after our light burns out (“Finality” and “Kiss My Ashes (Goodbye)”)? These ideas have weighed heavily on the minds of humanity before the advent of civilization, but knowing Gold has received his answers envelops the album with a chilling synchronization.

As seen on the four previous albums, Gold’s musical output surely upholds his morose and morbid feelings. While Woods of Ypres offers track-by-track stylistic surprises, the group’s essence falls somewhere between Katatonia and Type O Negative. Gold bends his voice in many directions, from black metal-type shrieks to poppy harmonies, but the vocal technique that stands out the most is his deep, Peter Steele-like drones. The treble-wavering guitar tones made famous by Katatonia appear throughout the album, but are most obvious on “Career Suicide (Is Not Real Suicide),” “Silver” and “Kiss My Ashes (Goodbye).”

From the flute-like instrument on “Travelling Alone” to the piano on “Alternate Ending” and “Finality,” keyboards play a crucial role in defining the album’s feeling of lonesomeness. Much like “Woods 4,” “Woods 5” is very much a mood album. One can sleep to the album or sit back and soak up the atmosphere and beautiful harmonies. However, keeping with the theme of past recordings, the group tempers slow paces with fast tempos and passages that fall somewhere in-between. Blazing picks and blurring drum sticks describe the blackened approach taken on “Adora Vivos” and “Lightning & Snow,” but do not define these tracks. Both tracks show a dual vocal approach and the latter track goes through phases of rich, keyboard-generated atmosphere.

David Gold went out not turning his back on his fans. He went out creating the best album of his short career. “Woods 5: Grey Skies & Electric Light” shares a common thread with its predecessor, but unlike “Woods 4: The Green Album,” Woods of Ypres has completed an album that doesn’t lose its momentum towards the end. The future of Woods of Ypres is uncertain. If this is the end, then the band and their fans can take comfort knowing the band created their best piece of musical art.

Highs: Atmospheric, fantastic vocals, great style changes, and existential lyrics.

Lows: "Woods 5" takes a certain mood to enjoy.

Bottom line: The best album of their career. A must have for fans of goth, doom and melodic black metal.

Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls
4.5 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)