It seems so many years ago now my first introduction to Woods of Ypres. Ever mining the latest Knuckletracks compilation from Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles I happened upon some promising looking CanCon for Kill Eat Exploit the Weak. Was it "Crossing the 45th Parallel"? I think so, but in no time at all I sought out the EP the song belonged to - Against the Seasons - and was playing every track on my show (though I admit, "A Meeting Place and Time" got a little extra attention).
The band's live line-up wasn't the most stable, especially in those years, so my efforts to get them to play live on air never panned out. But I began my own small campaign of support nonetheless, starting with my reviews of Against the Seasons for a metal webzine called Urkraft and for Exclaim. And after corresponding with Dave Gold for a while, I saw Woods perform and met the man behind the band for the first time - at the inaugural Northern Lights fest in Toronto. Dave gave me a Woods shirt and asked me to wear it on my upcoming European metal adventure and I did. In fact, Mark Coatsworth and I showed up at Summer Breeze 2003 in Germany with matching Woods of Ypres logos plastered across our chests.
Oddly the band seemed to be there for some of my most memorable metal moments, from the celebratory to the indescribably sad - their live performances at Day of the Equinox (2005) and the memorial to Adrian Bromley (2009) representing two of the most momentous of such momentous occasions.
I saw them live several times, mostly in Toronto but once in glorious close-up and Ontario camaraderie at Heathen Crusade in Minnesota (2008). I reviewed their albums repeatedly and played them on air as long as I had air time to offer. And I even discussed them in a recent IASPM-Canada conference paper. Strangely I only interviewed Dave Gold once, and that only by email. But he was a meticulous and eloquent correspondent, giving me lots of moving material to work with.
By now a longtime fan of the band's work, I was looking forward to getting better acquainted with Woods 5. And I still will. But sadly, it's the last full Woods of Ypres album I'll ever get to know.
RIP David Gold (1980-2011) and Woods of Ypres (2002-2011)