Woods of Ypres
|Woods of Ypres|
Woods of Ypres in early 2009. From left to right: Bryan Belleau, David Gold, Steve Furgiuele, and Evan Madden.
|Origin||Windsor, Ontario, Canada|
|Past members||See "Personnel"|
Woods of Ypres were a Canadian blackened doom metal band from Ontario. The band was founded in Windsor in 2002, initially consisting of three members: David Gold, Aaron Palmer and Brian McManus. Their lineup frequently changed afterward, with over 20 members in the band through its various incarnations, which saw operations later based out of Toronto from 2003-2007, and Sault Ste. Marie from 2008-2011. Their only constant member was multi-instrumentalist and frontman David Gold, with the band ending after Gold's death in December 2011, just before releasing their album Woods 5: Grey Skies & Electric Light, which won the 2013 Juno Award for the Metal/Hard Music Album of the Year.
Formation and history
Woods of Ypres was formed in Windsor, Ontario in 2002 by David Gold, Aaron Palmer, and Brian McManus. The trio released the first Woods Of Ypres demo, Against the Seasons: Cold Winter Songs from the Dead Summer Heat, the same year. After McManus' departure that same year, Woods of Ypres expanded to a quintet with new band members.
That December, David Gold moved to Toronto to begin working on a full-length album, completely overhauling their lineup in the process. Following the departure of singer Chris Jones, David took over as Woods of Ypres' lead singer and guitarist. In 2004, the band's first full-length album, Pursuit of the Sun & Allure of the Earth, was released on David Gold's record label, Krankenhaus Records.
The third Woods of Ypres album, Woods III: The Deepest Roots and Darkest Blues, was released at the end of 2007. Contrasting the two albums, critic Laura Taylor wrote, "While Pursuit of the Sun verged on metalized Pink Floyd, Woods’ latest unearths more of the band’s black and dark metal inspirations". In 2008, the band was featured on the cover of Unrestrained! Magazine.
After a work stint in South Korea, David Gold moved the band to his hometown of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario in 2008, where he united with existing local metal band Gates of Winter to both form the core of the new six-piece Woods of Ypres lineup, and join Gates of Winter himself on drums. After a series of lineup changes and departures, they recorded their fourth album Woods IV: The Green Album the following year. Released in November 2009, Exclaim! called it "the band's most amorphous and powerful creature so far." Earlier in 2009, Woods of Ypres also put out a compilation of 12 of the songs from their three main Krankenhaus-released albums entitled Independent Nature 2002–2007 and a vinyl-only single release of their 2004 song "Allure of the Earth", which also featured a cover of that song by Australian cellists Sebastian Simpson and Chris Doig.
Sessions towards an unreleased EP named Woods 4.5: You Were The Light were made in Sault Ste. Marie in 2010 as well, but just two tracks from those sessions have been released as part of a vinyl-only single named Home in 2011, which has retroactively been referred to as Woods 4.5 in some interviews. Woods of Ypres announced their breakup in late 2010 partly due to frontman David Gold's move to Kuwait for work reasons, but it was announced that fall that the split was entirely false, and that Woods of Ypres had signed to Earache Records, who would later put out the band's last two studio albums.
Woods of Ypres' lineups had been noticeably unstable since their inception, with only David Gold participating on every release by the band. Woods of Ypres' live lineups ranged from three to six members at differing points, with lineups almost completely changing when Gold relocated the band, while two of their full length albums only credit two musicians as full band members. Singles and compilations aside, the only band member to appear on two of the band's main albums other than Gold was keyboardist Jessica Rose, who performed on both Pursuit of the Sun & Allure of the Earth and Woods III.
All of Woods of Ypres's albums (except Woods V) saw their initial release or pre-2011 reissues on independent labels ran by David Gold, including Krankenhaus Records from 2004 to 2009, and Practical Art Records from 2009 to 2011. While Krankenhaus released albums by a few different Canadian metal bands, Practical Art only released albums from musical projects that Gold was a performer on. As well, Woods of Ypres were notorious for their independently ran and booked headlining tours of Canada and the United States.
Death of David Gold and breakup
Woods of Ypres played what would turn out to be their last concert in Richmond, Virginia on June 9, 2011. After the dismissal of Shane & Evan Madden shortly afterward, remaining band members David Gold and Joel Violette recorded the band's final studio album Woods 5: Grey Skies & Electric Light that August at Beach Road Studios in Goderich, Ontario.
On December 21, 2011, David Gold died at age 31, in collision with an automobile near Barrie, Ontario. Gold's death ended plans for Woods of Ypres to play their first ever European tour in early 2012, along with scuttling the planned debuts of new band members Brendan Hayter and Rae Amitay. Guitarist Joel Violette indicated in interviews that Woods of Ypres would not carry on recording or touring without Gold, effectively ending the band. Woods of Ypres' fifth and final studio album, Woods 5: Grey Skies & Electric Light, was released on February 27, 2012 in Europe, with the North American release coming two months later. The band received a posthumous Juno nomination in the Metal/Hard Music Album of the Year category for Woods V in February 2013, and won the award in April.
Official tribute concerts in Toronto and Sault Ste. Marie were held in April 2012 in Gold's memory, featuring bands like Kittie and Novembers Doom on the bill. The former served as the CD release party for Woods 5, while the latter saw Woods of Ypres alums Joel Violette, Bryan Belleau, and Rae Amitay play an acoustic tribute set of Woods of Ypres material. A Woods of Ypres tribute album has been released, while the surviving members of Woods of Ypres' final lineup have since joined forces in the New Brunswick-based black metal band Thrawsunblat.
- Against the Seasons: Cold Winter Songs from the Dead Summer Heat (2002, Krankenhaus Records, Night Birds Records)
- Pursuit of the Sun & Allure of the Earth (2004, Krankenhaus Records)
- Woods III: The Deepest Roots and Darkest Blues (2008, Krankenhaus Records)
- Woods IV: The Green Album (2009, Practical Art Records, Earache Records)
- Woods 5: Grey Skies & Electric Light (2012, Earache Records)
- Independent Nature 2002-2007 – compilation (2009, Krankenhaus Records)
- Allure of the Earth – vinyl single (2009, Krankenhaus Records)
- Home – vinyl single (2011, Practical Art Records)
- Chen, D. (April 6, 2008). "Fricker personifies persistence", Windsor Star. Retrieved April 24, 2010.
- "Woods of Ypres", Straight.com. Retrieved April 24, 2010.
- "Woods of Ypres on Allmusic". Retrieved October 11, 2013.
- "The Seasons: Cold Winter Songs From The Dead Summer Heat overall more black metal". Retrieved August 9, 2016.
- Wiebe Taylor, Laura (March 2008). "Woods Of Ypres: Deepest Roots and Darkest Blues", Exclaim!. Retrieved April 24, 2010.
- Wiebe Taylor, Laura (February 2009). "Concert reviews: Woods of Ypres / Musk Ox / Eclipse Eternal / Piledriver / Detsorgsekalf / Endorphins / Into The Void", Exclaim!. Retrieved April 24, 2010.
- Taylor, Laura (February 2010). "Woods Of Ypres: Woods 4: The Green Album", Exclaim!. Retrieved April 24, 2010.
- "Sault musician dies in collision: David Gold was 31".
- Chicago Daily Herald, 18 December 2008, "Sonic wonders of 08" by Jeff Pizek