Review Summary: The band's best yet...if you can tune out the lyrics.
David Gold could really use a hug. Of course hugs aren’t metal, but as far as I’m concerned, neither is crippling sadness. And listening to Woods IV: The Green Album, crippling sadness is everywhere. At points, Gold is contemplaying suicide; at others, he’s just wishing he never existed in the first place. “I Was Buried in Mount Pleasant Cemetary” actually ends with Gold eulogizing himself.
The catch is that as depressing as its lyrical content may be, The Green Album really nails the musical side of things. Gold especially.
Throughout their career, Woods of Ypres have always been burdened with the distinction of being known as sort of a Canadian Agalloch. The comparison is pretty valid, especially regarding previous albums, but it was never fair. On The Green Album the distinction blurs: the vocals, always the hitch that had pushed people away from their music in the past, have become the obvious highlight.
As their music takes on a gloomier edge, there’s a higher emphasis on the brooding pace of doom metal, but as Gold’s vocal approach has changed to a low, almost spoken baritone, there’s an undeniable nod to Type O’ Negative and Peter Steele. Musically, The Green Album is top notch, if a little (okay, a lot) long---at an hour and 18 minutes, and with every song plodding along at a soppy, wet crawl, the album can feel like it lasts an eternity.
The problem is the lyrics. They’re just…they’re awful. Bad enough to make one turn the album off entirely, if not burst into explicit laughter. Because Gold has adapted such an enunciated vocal style, and because harsh vocals are now used only to emphasize, it’s nary impossible to ignore lyrics as bad as, well, all of “Wet Leather”:
Life is just pain and piss; It's nothing that I will miss
Life is just pain and piss; It's just...temporary
Life is the madness of a drunken city night
With wet leather on your back and rain dripping off your spikes
PAIN! Life is just pain and piss. PISS! It's nothing that I will miss.
PAIN! Life is just pain and piss and everything is a scam
And so it goes.
Still, I really can’t help but recommend The Green Album. In spite of its lyrical guffaws (they’re every where and they’re really awful) it’s the perfect album for a rainy day. Gloomy as fuck
but it wears it well, The Green Album might be their best yet. It’s certainly the funniest, if not intentionally.