*An Addendum to our Albums of the Decade List
This brilliant album somehow slipped my mind back when we were reflecting on the decade as a whole. That travesty will not stand! Thus:
Being a pseudo-medieval Village existing on the cusp of the gothic period, we have a certain appreciation for gothic metal. The fifth and (unfortunately) final effort from Woods of Ypres is both a genre stalwart, and a general shining star in the past decade of heavy music.
The entire affair is obviously informed by the death of vocalist David Gold two months prior to release. Given the death-and-legacy oriented themes, moments such as the refrains of "the dead are to be forgotten" and "we shouldn't worship the dead" on "Adora Vivos" take on an...eerily apropos leaning.
Not to mention the appropriately entitled "By the Time you Read This (I Will Already Be Dead)." The death of an artist will always have an effect the manner in which their work is received, but perhaps beyond Bowie's passing immediately after Black Star, no other example feels so significant nor powerful.
As fulfilling as it may be, Woods 5 isn't all about the thematic content. Musically, it holds up as a stunning exemplar of progressive genre-blending. Poignant hooks. Iconoclastic lyricism. Inimitable vocal delivery, endlessly melancholic, yet occasionally punctuated by harsh rasps. A fluid ambiance that ranges from sorrowful doom, to hooky goth rock sentimentality, to melodically tinged black metal. It's a dark journey, no doubt--but, paradoxically, Woods 5 remains comfortable and uplifting. It has carved a well-deserved spot in my top 10 albums of (relatively) recent memory and there, I'm certain, it shall stay.
WOODS OF YPRES - Woods 5: Grey Skies and Electric Light was released 2012 from Earache Records
Providing thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy, and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a groggy-eyed, highfalutin peasantry.