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Monday, January 30, 2012

Woods of Ypres - Woods 5: Grey Skies & Electric Light review

Year : 2012
Genre : Intense Funeral Doom
Label : Earache
Origin : United States
Rating : 9.3 / 10

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On December 21, 2011, founding member, lead vocalist, guitarist of funeral doom band Woods of Ypres, David Gold, 31, dies in a car accident near Barrie, Ontario. I personally hope Gold's spirit remains active in a dimension the consensus percept of reality has no immediate access to without a turbo pineal gland, yet, one thing is for sure : Gold's spirit also is projected to this plane of (meta)physical existence, as necessary result of the latest Woods of Ypres LP, titled Woods 5: Grey Skies & Electric Light. My first experience with this band was/is their official video of their song Mount Pleasant Cemetery, and I remember how I found it both intriguing and hilarious that the narrator sings about his own funeral, but, as viewer/listener of his uncompromisingly bitter musical report, here I am, being subjected to an elegiac meatspace-rant filmed in full HDRI gloom-glory, despite how the physical shell of the singer was "burieeeeeeed in Mount Pleasant Cemeteeeeryyyy" already. (And "the sadness was overwhelming." [and not little, you know?]).

The song probably is a ghost song of some sorts, necessarily resonated by a meatspace human while performed. The meatspace-narrator, one is invited to assume, attempts to channel the sentiments of the wannabe-narrator-ghost, which is bending to the will of the commanding spiritual system that demands a status report of its infinite suffering. Moral of the s(t)o(r)ry is frightening enough : suffering demands talent. Not surprisingly, this Woods of Ypres album is a fresh collection of attempts at exhibiting noteworthy spiritual suffering for your semi-perverted joy of continuous self reference, and you will need to read on to find out how it all turns out/in for this band in 2012.

I generally am not too big of a fan of music comparison, when you attempt to describe what you hear by enthusiastically naming earlier inputs of similar sonic character, thereby wanting to smuggle immediate merit to your argument. This almost always is the easy way out. Luckily, consensus reality does not give a nickelfuck with two lost holes in it about my sentiments regarding this issue, because, quite frankly, this album renders a huge amount of tasteful tributes to its numerous inspirators.

Opening track "Career Suicide" is a surprising build without any doubt. The song and David Gold both seek to dial in a mood-, a modal behavior reminiscent to Type O Negative and Rammstein, and you can add a little bit of early Anathema - think "Sleepless" era - on top, too. As the release lets you know hastily, the early Anathema feeling is one of the most important dispositions of this full length, one that consorts with the Type O Negative soulset amidst a natural flow of beneficiary chemical reactions. The delivery is more mid-tempo peacefulness and morose meandering than hefty rampage with ballsy grit, and, even when it IS hefty, it conveys its intensity along the elegantly risky register of the Anathemian "killing me softly" tenderness. The album is not at all on steroids, nor is in the need to be in order to come through as evidently relevant sonic data. The relatively fragile, yet absolutely tasteful production values all give a slick underground club feeling to the LP, which lets it communicate the messages along that special "You got me burning" emotional field of the first Terminator movie. Subtract the disco from "You got me burning", and worship the pure toast blackened leftovers, as that is what this album is about, lover.

In essence, the darkest charms of the '80s is here, fueled by contemporary emotion, realized in full comic book sonic glory, and the only minor caveat I care to mention is David Gold's notable urge to mime a variety of performers. He mainly seeks to imitate the sub-bass vocal style of Peter Steele, which is a real risky thing to do unless you sport the unquestionably near-divine charisma of Steele, at minimum. The results are quite frightening, but hilarious, too : David Gold's rendition of Peter Steele sounds more like the fronter of Crash Test Dummies, and I have nothing further to add to this.

Mind you that this pseudo-negative aspect I have just been telling you about, is not an excruciatingly daunting percept to endure, - it is fun, in a puzzling kind of way, instead - and it would be unjust to regard this trait of the release as a true annoyance of it. There really is nothing at all to dislike about this record in my opinion, as it is nothing short of inventive, honest sorrowful music, top to bottom. No filler songs, no alibis. The commanding mood of the disc seeks and tolerates no self-indulgent cultivation of stock-joy or instant, cheap comfort-hope. The music of this slitherer contribution drops on your skin as black velvet, yet this black velvet brings the elegance of sporting calming guarantees of the lack of a danger with venom hidden above it. Woods of Ypres is not out there to bestow cuts on you, thank God & Co. Woods of Ypres' latest studio album is out there to convey a special kind of underground retro gloom, one Peter Steele silently approves of. Steele did not object. This record is a truly pleasant surprise with no blemishes or notably weaker segments I care to mention, and I recommend it with a poker face and great satisfaction. Once again, if you are a fan of Type O Negative and early Anathema - even better : both - then this baby is immediate ear-treasure for you.

Rating : 9.3 / 10

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