Woods of Ypres - IV The Green Album [Earache - 2011]Canadian project Woods of Ypres is one of those bands that have been on the radar since 2002. It’s a band that we’ve all heard about in hushed tones for years; are they as good as the reviews they receive? Are they Black Metal, Doom Metal, Experimental? Luckily we have the proof in our hands (and ears).
Woods of Ypres is a bit confusing as the press I’ve heard always has had them pegged in the Black Metal category (with avant garde flourishes). So it’s a bit confusing after hearing IV The Green Album. First impressions were this must be a Type O Negative/My Dying Bride/Candlemass tribute. It was for certain that no Black Metal was heard; other than the occasional death rasp vocal or tremolo guitar riff. So what exactly can we find here?
What we find is musically some of the most well played and composed music. That said, vocally and lyrically it all gets a bit monotonous. Vocals that we hear are layers of lush clean vocals intermixed with gravelly rasped guttural vocals too. Out of the sixteen (!) songs here three stand out above the rest: “By The Time You Read This (I Will Already Be Dead) is depressive metal with a perfect mix of clean and raspy vocals. The riffs are sludgy, heavy and perfect. “Don’t Open The Wounds/Skywide Armspread” is so musically beautiful and heartfelt it makes the rest of the cd bearable. To start it makes all these depressive lyrics believable, you can feel the emotion here, not plodding but inspiring. “Natural Technologies” is a change of direction fast, heavy and riffy. Blast beast, rough vocals and lots of passion, kissed with an amazing guitar solo.
For the rest of the song it’s a toss-up; very heavy on the Type O Negative influence (unfortunately without the self depreciating humor) and a bit tedious. There are moments of sweet acoustic guitars and somber piano movements and they certainly create a dour mood. Lyrically it falls into the gothically melancholic category (think Forgotten Tomb without the aching emptiness or My Dying Bride/Paradise Lost without the gothic settings.) It seems the somewhat popular opinion maybe this is genius, but it feels a bit regurgitated. It might be because of the monotonous vocals but at the end it could be because except for a few moments it really lacks passion. They hit it on a few songs but unfortunately it’s fleeting.Viktorya Kaufholz