Woods Of Ypres were a Canadian duo and 'Woods 5: Grey Skies And Electric Light' is their fifth album. I say 'were' because singer David Gold was killed in a car crash recently and this is the last album he made.
It's a far cry from their early black Metal stuff, having a maturity that is far darker but on the surface 'Woods 5: Grey Skies And Electric Light' is grim stuff exploring themes of death, loss and existentialism which may lead folk to assume this is an album extolling the virtues of death in general and suicide in particular.
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That may be but there also seems to be an underlying howl of rage at our ovine need for vacuous celebrity, the accumulation of wealth at any cost and the general ersatz value of our otherwise pointless existence.
The combination of deeply intense lyrics and Gold's cavelike silky baritone delivery could have rendered this an unbearably gloomy listen but Woods Of Ypres ability to mix things up helps enormously to lessen the misery.
Predominantly Metal, added orchestration and keyboards often take 'Woods 5: Grey Skies And Electric Light' into progressively gothic territory with a subtle undercurrent of Sisters Of Mercy and The Mission.
The expansive and clear production retains the album's Metal grunt with its strangely uplifting groove whilst at the same time oozing more doom and desolation than the most ardent of death obsessed bands.
In short, this album is pretty heavy shit, man.
Despite the deep lyrical melancholy, it is musically very good. The album openers kick off proceedings in fine style. 'Career Suicide (Is Not Real Suicide)' is a straight rocker and a lone oboe flitting in and out of the Metal of 'Travelling Alone' gives it a brooding melancholy.
The beautiful piano and orchestra led ballads 'Finality' and 'Alternate Ending' drip sadness like molasses from an upturned barrel. 'Lightning And Snow' betrays Woods Of Ypres former black Metal glories with its opening vocal, 'Adora Vivos' has one hell of a charge to it that demands an introduction to your air guitar and the mini concept piece 'Kiss My Ashes (Goodbye) Parts 1 And 2' sees the album out in epic style.
Be warned, you will need to be in a certain mood to appreciate this slow burner but repeat plays should yield their rewards. A strangely misunderstood album that does its thing effortlessly. Fans of the band's earlier stuff will, I guarantee, hate 'Woods 5: Grey Skies And Electric Light' but fuck them because when an album is this good who cares what anyone thinks?
Treat yersel', get this.