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Music / Woods Of Ypres

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"Adversity, Depression, Nature, Canadiana"
—description of the band's lyrical themes on Encyclopaedia Metallum
"There is no destination. There is only the journey." - David Gold

Woods of Ypres were a metal band from Ontario, Canada. Beginning in 2002 as a Melodic Black Metal band, starting with their second release they began to incorporate elements of Doom Metal into their sound. They released five albums, one compilation album, and two vinyl-only singles, generally on frontman and band leader David Gold's independent labels Krankenhaus Records and Practical Art Records (though their last album was solely released through Earache Records, and their four prior albums were rereleased through Earache afterwards.)

The band had notoriously unstable line-ups, with band leader David Gold the only constant member. After a recording session in August 2010, the band seemingly broke up, but this was soon revealed to be a ruse as Gold revealed that they had in fact signed to UK metal label Earache Records, who began reissuing the band's back catalogue the following year. However, tragedy struck when in December 2011, shortly after finishing recording for their fifth album, David Gold was killed at the age of 31 in a car accident. The rest of the band at the time decided against continuing without Gold and laid Woods of Ypres to rest permanently not long after. Earache Records posthumously released their final album Woods 5 in 2012, which, alongside widespread critical acclaim, won the band a Juno Award in 2013 for Heavy Metal Album of the Year.


Last line-up:

  • David Gold: Vocals & rhythm guitar (formerly drums, bass, and piano)
  • Joel Violette: Lead guitar, studio bass, and piano
  • Brendan Hayter: Bass
  • Rae Amitay: Drums


  • Against the Seasons: Cold Winter Songs from the Dead Summer Heat (2002): First album and only EP; Also known as "Woods I"
  • Pursuit of the Sun & Allure of the Earth (2004): Second album; David Gold's debut as lead singer/guitarist; Also known as "Woods II"
  • Woods III: Deepest Roots and Darkest Blues (2007): Third album; Final main album before shifting from black to doom metal
  • Independent Nature 2002-2007 (2009): Compilation with four songs from each of the first three albums
  • Allure of the Earth (2009): 7-inch vinyl single containing the song "Allure of the Earth" from "Woods II" and an instrumental cello cover of the same song
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  • Woods 4: The Green Album (2009): Fourth album; first 1000 copies also include the album Slaughter of the Seoul by South Korean death/thrash band Necramyth, on which David Gold played drums
  • Home (2011): 7-inch vinyl single with two songs from the band's August 2010 recording sessions. Sometimes called "Woods 4.5" in reference to what the complete sessions would have been released as in EP format, though the other three songs remained unreleased; last album released during David Gold's lifetime
  • Woods 5: Grey Skies & Electric Light (2012): Fifth and final album; posthumously released following David Gold's death; Vinyl copies feature an alternate mix of "Finality" by producer Siegfried Meier

Woods of Ypres and their music contain the following tropes:

  • Album Intro Track: "The Looming of Dust In The Dark" from "Pursuit of the Sun & Allure of the Earth"
  • Album Title Drop: Both "Pursuit of the Sun & Allure of the Earth" and "Grey Skies & Electric Light" are directly said or paraphrased in lyrics on numerous songs on both "Woods II" & "Woods V" (most prominently "The Will To Give" and "Death Is Not An Exit")
  • Anti-Love Song: The rather aptly-titled "Move On!" (previously subtitled "The Woman Will Always Leave The Man".)
  • Badass Baritone: David Gold's speaking and singing voice were both very deep, which led to comparisons to Type O Negative's Peter Steele (especially on later albums.)
  • Badass Beard: David Gold let his beard grow out during their last tours and recording sessions, and wouldn't trim or shave it until their conclusion. His beard attracted enough notice that Woods of Ypres held a contest for band merchandise in 2011 for the fan who could grow the best beard over a few months' time. The contest was never completed before David died that December.
  • The Band Minus the Face: Woods of Ypres' surviving members from their last lineup regrouped in guitarist Joel Violette's existing black metal band Thrawsunblat in 2012, with Rae Amitay replacing David Gold as the project's drummer. Their music is closer in style to Woods of Ypres' early black metal work, though with more of an atmospheric/folk influence.
    • Joel & Rae performed a tribute set to David at an official Woods of Ypres memorial concert in Sault Ste. Marie in 2012, and later covered "Silver" from "Woods V" for the Woods of Ypres tribute album "Heart of Gold" the following year. Compared to their Woods work, these performances were acoustic/piano pieces that re-interpreted heavier Woods songs as emotional ballads.
    • Woods of Ypres' 2008 lineup (minus Evan Madden) was one and the same as Sault Ste. Marie progressive death metal band Gates of Winter's 2008 lineup (just with David Gold on drums & rhythm guitarist Lee Maines handling lead vocals), so this was a case of the band in another band with the face in a lesser role. Gold left the band by early 2009, coinciding with Gates of Winter's year-long hiatus and the slow dismantling of Woods of Ypres' then-lineup, though Gates of Winter returned to record new studio material in 2010.
  • Band of Relatives: Woods of Ypres' lineup featured two brother pairs in different lineups: Chris & Steve Jones on vocals & guitar from 2003-2004, and Shane & Evan Madden on bass & drums from 2009-2011.
  • Break Up Song: "Shards of Love (Hurt Forever)".
  • Cessation of Existence: A common lyrical theme on Woods 5. Sadly ironic considering David Gold's death just before the album's release.
  • Chronological Album Title: Woods of Ypres' last three main albums are officially numbered, and David Gold retroactively numbered their first two to fit along with that.
  • Concept Album: Woods 2, Woods 4, and Woods 5. Their other albums didn't have a direct concept, but shared common themes lyrically.
  • Digital Piracy Is Evil: Notably averted when Woods 5 was leaked by its own label in tribute to the recently deceased David Gold.
  • Doom Metal: Their main genre on their last two albums, with influences of this sound present on "Woods II" & "Woods III".
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Woods of Ypres' debut EP "Against The Seasons" was their only release without David Gold on vocals & guitar, still functioning solely as the band's drummer. It was also their only album whose initial release did not feature their official logo, though that was amended in reissues. Some early concerts even featured an official lead singer (either Robin Cross or Chris Jones) who didn't play an instrument.
  • Epic Rocking: All of their main numbered albums have at least two songs upwards of six minutes, including 5 on "Woods II".
  • Genre Shift: The late 2000s saw Woods of Ypres fully transform from a black metal band to a doom metal band with black metal influences, coinciding with the band's relocation to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario in 2008.
  • Greatest Hits Album: 2009's "Independent Nature: 2002-2007", which compiled four songs from each of their first three albums.
  • Grim Up North: Shows up often on their early albums, perhaps most notably in "The Northern Cold".
  • Harsh Vocals: Used on all of their albums, though increasingly less as their sound morphed from black metal to doom metal.
  • I Am the Band: David Gold, at least from 2004 on. Not only did he front the band and play on all of their albums, he also was their primary songwriter, a co-producer, the owner of their independent labels, and booked their North American tours.
  • Important Haircut: David cut off his long hair in 2007 between the releases of "Woods III" and "Woods IV", occurring in conjunction with the band's transition to doom metal. His hair transitioned between short, bald, and in a mohawk through 2010, and he was growing it out again prior to his death.
  • Instrumentals: Just one on any of their albums, that being "Trillium: The Third of Three Winters, 2004-2007" from "Woods III"
  • Isn't It Ironic?: "Your Ontario Town Is A Burial Ground" from 2008's "Woods III" was written about David Gold's hometown of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, painting it as "just a burial ground for old friends" that people desire to leave, even saying in the song that he would "die of shame" while old friends live their lives there. Fans in Sault Ste. Marie ended up enjoying the song, and it became a favourite live track in David's hometown, even being printed on some merchandise. Adding to the irony, he moved back to Sault Ste. Marie and relocated the band there in early 2008, where they remained for the rest of their run.
    • A number of songs on "Woods V: Grey Skies & Electric Light" talked of not honouring the dead, saying goodbye to them forever, and focusing your attention on people who are alive (notably on "Kiss My Ashes (Goodbye)" and "Adora Vivos"). Whether these were seriously his thoughts is debatable, but after David Gold died in December 2011, there were two official tribute concerts and numerous memorials to his life & career, while "Woods V" (which was posthumously released) garnered the best reviews of their career and a Juno Award win. Clearly, fans didn't want to forget about David in death.
  • It Is Pronounced "Tro-PAY": Band members officially pronounced "Ypres" as "Ee-pray", though mispronunciations were common from those unfamiliar with the band, and even from some admitted fans. Contrast with the real Belgian municipality of Ypres, which is commonly pronounced "Ee-pers"
  • Lead Bassist: Aaron Palmer from 2002-2003, who sang clean vocals on "Against The Seasons". Once he left and David Gold took over frontman duties, their future bass players took a less prominent role (averted with Dan Hulse, who played on and co-produced "Woods III", and once co-ran Krankenhaus Records with David.)
  • Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Most songs range from 7-9, with some veering into 10.
  • Multinational Team: Every full lineup from 2008-2011 had Canadian and American members (the Americans being the Madden brothers and their direct replacements, Brendan Hayter & Rae Amitay.) Averted for the "Woods V" recording sessions in August 2011, which took place in between the aforementioned lineup changes, so existing members David Gold & Joel Violette (both Canadians) recorded drum and bass parts respectively..
  • Record Producer: Most of their albums were self-produced or featured David Gold as a co-producer. Their external producers were Miguel Gauthier on "Woods IV" and "Home", and Siegfried Meier on "Woods V".
  • Remaster: Woods of Ypres remastered and re-released "Against The Seasons" with new artwork in 2005, with this version now recognized as the official version of their debut EP. A limited run of cassette tapes of "Woods I" also came out at this time.
  • Revolving Door Band: Woods of Ypres were prone to numerous lineup changes, with The Other Wiki listing 24 different official members during their 9 year run. Their live lineups ranged from 3 members (2002) to 6 members (2008), only two musicians (David Gold and mid-2000s keyboardist Jessica Rose) even appeared on two of their main 5 studio albums, and their lineup almost completely changed whenever David moved to a different town, as seen when relocating to Toronto in 2003 and Sault Ste. Marie in 2008.
  • Rock Trio: Their original 2002 lineup, as well as the lineup featured on "Woods III" (though shows during that era were as a quintet.)
  • Soprano and Gravel: Common in the doom metal releases ("Woods IV", "Home", and "Woods V".)
  • Special Guest: Vocalist Sarah Green on "Woods II", guitarist Nathanael LaRochette on "Woods IV", and cellist Raphael Weinroth-Browne & oboist Angela Schielhauf on both "Woods IV" & "Woods V".
  • Step Up to the Microphone: After the departures of Brian McManus, Robin Cross, and Chris Jones, David Gold moved from the drumkit to lead vocals in 2004, and remained Woods of Ypres' frontman until his passing. He also continued to provide drum tracks in studio during this time, save for Evan Madden's two releases with the band.
  • Surprisingly Gentle Song: "You are Here with Me (in This Sequence of Dreams)", right after the crushing "Halves and Quarters" on Woods 4.
  • Title Track: Never fully implemented, but they have songs called "Deepest Roots", "Darkest Blues", and "Allure of the Earth" making partial use of their albums' title.
  • Uncanceled: Woods of Ypres teased a band breakup in mid-late 2010, coinciding with the closure of Krankenhaus Records and their August 2010 recording sessions, with numerous hints of finality and David moving thrown in. While David did move (to Kuwait for a few months as an English teacher), the break-up as a hoax to see what the response would be if they did disband. They re-emerged with a label deal with Earache Records that fall, but would disband for real after David's death the following year.
    • David also admitted in interviews that he once planned to end Woods of Ypres after the release of "Woods III", hence why it ended with the song "Mistakes Are Made (The Dream Is Dead)".
  • Unperson: On "Pursuit of the Sun & Allure of the Earth", guitarist Steve Jones and bassist Connor Sharpe aren't credited in the album's liner notes & booklet due to leaving Woods of Ypres during production. Instead, David Gold completed the remaining lead guitar & bass tracks, and is given sole credit for those parts in the album.
    • At least in later years, David rarely (if ever) acknowledged ex-band members or their departures directly or explained why they left/were removed from the band, other than to announce new members or searches for them. This sometimes led to hearing only one side of the story if an ex-member addressed their exit from Woods of Ypres publically. Averted when David reunited with original Woods of Ypres bassist Aaron Palmer in the late 2000s black metal project The Northern Ontario Black Metal Preservation Society.


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