Good day all,
Unfortunately, due to a crazy week and schedule I have not been able to check out or listen to any new music this week. But fear not, my friends, it just means that this week’s Friday Four Pack will be a little different in the way of “new” releases. What I am going to do today is feature four albums that I really like and have yet been able to talk about. So not being able to keep up this week affords us the opportunity to delve into some releases that I have wanted to talk about for a while as well as at least one from an up and coming band and who knows what else. So please keep your hands and feet in the post at all times and away we go!
Woods of Ypres: Woods V: Grey Skies and Electric Lights
We all have our own beliefs about life and death and that is what makes us who we are as people and individuals. One thing that I am absolutely sure about is that David Gold, the lead singer and brains behind Woods of Ypres understood his mortality probably better than most of us ever will. David Gold died in December of 2011 in an automobile accident in his home country of Canada. In April of 2012 the fifth and final Woods of Ypres album was released “Woods V: Grey Skies and Electric Lights” and its morbid foreshadowing of Mr. Gold’s life and death are both chilling and beautiful. Unlike earlier Woods of Ypres albums this album is dominated by Mr. Gold’s low deliberate baritone taking every word and making it mean something in the song. The album spends a majority of time on the doom side of the metal spectrum but shows glimpses of the blackened death metal that the previous Woods albums have leaned toward. This album however, with the help of keyboards and wood instruments and violins give it a sometimes folksy vibe, and maybe vibe isn’t the word maybe atmosphere is more appropriate. This album is full of atmosphere that lends to David Gold’s sometimes agonizing view into his soul-baring outlook on both life and the environment around him. Whether on a higher tempo gem like “Career Suicide” or a slower paced “Traveling Alone” Woods of Ypres give a glimpse into the struggles and pain that can be felt by a human being walking around in our world. One of the more impressive things about what this band was able to achieve was actually making you feel the emotion that pours out of the speakers. “Traveling Alone” shows how Mr. Gold feels about spirituality and the good it can do in someone’s life, unfortunately not his, he gets it, but doesn’t buy it. It is one of the most intelligent songs I have ever listened to, and I think that is what is so great about the album is that the music, arrangement and lyrical content are so smart and so well thought out that you can’t help but feel and be moved by every word that comes out of David Gold’s mouth.
Because we know the outcome of David Gold’s life it makes listening to this album an even more beautiful experience. It is as if David Gold knew what lie in his future as song titles such as “Finality”, “Kiss My Ashes Goodbye”, “Alternate Ending” all lend a sad foreshadow to the life that was David Gold and a band that was Woods of Ypres. When you listen to this album, listen very closely to the lyrics, not that you have a choice with David Gold’s Pete Steele-esqu voice and delivery, you will get the sense of someone who truly understands their world around them and what it meant to them as a human being and a competitor in the human race. Woods of Ypres ability to translate David Gold’s pain and melancholy so succinctly is a brilliant translation of a life that ended way too early. It is really a shame that Woods of Ypres will not be releasing another album, and I think rightfully so as David Gold was the reason this album is as amazing as it is, that being said I think that David Gold and Woods of Ypres had just found their place in the metal world with this amazing and beautiful album. Although the death of Mr. Gold spelled the death of Woods of Ypres some of the band is moving on with a band called Thrawsunblat which I reviewed a couple of Four Packs back, and they are worth listening to as well as they are carrying the torch that Woods of Ypres lit and carried so well. There are currently four albums vying for the top of my end of the year list and this album is one of them. As I have said before knowing that this album was released after the death of David Gold makes it that much more bittersweet as we as fans really got to see inside the soul of a man who had a strong understanding of where he fit in this world and where he would eventually end up. Godspeed David Gold and thanks for allowing us a glimpse of your soul.
Mammoth Thunderpower: I Am Thunder
Here is an album that was brought to my attention via Ken at METAL BUZZ and boy am I glad he recommended it to me. The band itself compares their music as a collection of heavy equipment working in a slow and deliberate pace and I think that is a good example but for me it reminded me of an old coal train. If you are familiar with the old coal train you know that it starts off in a slow struggle to get the entire train moving and up to speed but there is a long and laborious path for the train before that can happen and that is the sound that Mammoth Thunderpower has in this EP. With the opening track of “Bone Throne” until the crushing end to “I am Thunder” this album is a pummeling non-stop trip on this sludgy, old-school runaway train. Also, much like the old coal train once the band gets up to speed and into that Sabbath groove it is hard to stop, the coal train can take miles before it can efficiently and safely stop and this band runs through the album in the same manner. As you listen you wonder if there will be enough track at the end of the album for them to “stop” without a major wreck and they do it through well thought out songs built on a foundation of succinct and well packaged riffs and rhythms. If these guys were to down tune their instruments any further I am not sure you would be able to escape from the quick sand of these songs. Of course I am not sure that you would want to. Normally when I think of an album that is this heavy and sludgy I would think that the band would come from the dreary Midwest or east coast as opposed to the sunny environs of Costa Mesa, CA but it goes to show that the west coast is probably filled with the attitude you need to make a record of this caliber. Go out and give this album a try, you can stream it at Metal Bandcamp and it is also available as a name your own price download. Check it out here: http://mammoththunderpower.bandcamp.com/
Voice of the Soul: Into Oblivion
Voice of the Soul is an interesting melodic death metal band that uses the technicality of their instruments to craft interesting and sustainable songs. As most who read these reviews know I am not the biggest fan of the growl or scream method of singing but this is another one of those albums, much like the ones above that I can’t stop listening to. The way this band has integrated their guitar solos into the song as opposed to being a stand out section is admirable as it allows the song to flow and there is an ease to the listening experience which is unique to a death metal album. Don’t misunderstand me, this is a hardcore death metal album with all of the appropriate aggression and power, it is just done in a way that makes it more accessible. Once again this album is available via Metal Bandcamp and it is also a name your own price EP and you can get it here: http://voiceofthesoul.bandcamp.com/album/into-oblivion-ep
Autolatry: Of The Land
This album is unique in its concept as well as it place in the metal world. There is not a whole lot I can add to the description of this album that hasn’t already been presented here http://metalbandcamp.com/2012/11/autolatry-of-the-land.html but to say that this is an ambitious concept album from a very talented US metal band that deserves to be listened to. As I have said before, I am a big fan of the concept album and when done right heavy metal music may not get much better and this album is proof of that statement. It is well produced and grimy enough to be associated with some of the better bands in the heavier side of metal. From start to finish this album with its ability to incorporate unique instruments and sounds and beautiful breaks that you wouldn’t normally hear in an “extreme” metal album. This is another album you need to check out and once again it is a name your own price.
So that’s it ladies and gentlemen, I hope you enjoyed the albums this week. I know it was a little different as there really wasn’t anything from this week’s new releases but at least I am giving you music you can afford. An exciting weekend for me, The Sword/Gypsyhawk show is Saturday and hopefully I will be returning with a brand new interview with Gypsyhawk, a great review and maybe some pictures. So until next week,