As you most likely already know, Woods of Ypres frontman David Gold was killed in a car accident a few days before Christmas. I'd just like to say a few things.
I only became aware of Woods of Ypres last year. I listened to Woods 4: The Green Album and became and instant fan. Later than day, I tweeted a couple thoughts about the album and before the screen had faded on my phone, David had responded to my thoughts. We had a little back and forth that day and that was it. That one brief conversation with him was the only time we ever "spoke" but it left a mark. See, I didn't initiate contact. He did. He was actively seeking out comments about Woods of Ypres and willfully interacting with the fans. I said to myself, "Wow. That's cool." This is but one small example of the dedication David had for his band and its fans.
I enjoyed following the progress of the making of Woods 5: Grey Skies and Electric Light. I was very excited to see how it turned out. I wasn't the only one. The buzz surrounding the band seemed to be growing. It was looking like 2012 was going to be big for Woods of Ypres. Then the hammer blow.
I was on break in the middle of a night shift when I heard. I was stunned. My eyes grew big as saucers and my jaw hit the floor. I didn't believe it at first. I didn't want to believe it. I wanted to find out it was a hoax. Soon enough it became apparent that wasn't the case. In the words of Gold himself, "Only death is real." I can't say I was 100% surprised that Gold met his end before his time. He didn't appear to be a happy man. Optimists and happy-go-lucky souls don't write that many songs about death. But with all the recognition and what not the band was getting, I had hoped that other kind of tragedy would be a non-issue. If you take my meaning. Although, if he believed what he sang about in "Death is Not an Exit", he realized that suicide is never the solution. It's a very small consolation that this was an accident, but nevertheless, a tremendous talent was taken away far too early.
Earache Records released a digital promo of Woods 5 shortly after Gold's death. Whenever I listen to it, I feel like it's being sung by a ghost. As if the album wasn't haunting enough. I was singing along to it on my drive to work this morning and I could hardly see for the tears. It doesn't make any sense why I should grieve so much for a man I didn't even know. I've been more upset these past few weeks about Gold's passing that I have been for some extended family members. Perhaps the tragic nature and the age of the deceased played a part. More than likely, my grief is born of selfishness. Woods 5 will be the last WoY album. I will never meet David. I'll never get to see him perform live. All those things are now denied to me. Of course, I also have the deepest compassion for his family, close friends and most rabid fans. The road to enlightenment is paved with compassion, and as a Buddhist practitioner, that's my ultimate goal. So deep down, most of those tears are shed for them.
I didn't feel this bad about any of the metal figures that have passed recently. Not for Dio, nor Cory Smoot, nor Paul Gray, nor Peter Steele. All in bands with bigger profiles than WoY. Bands I've been fans of for years. I don't even think I felt this genuinely sad for Cobain. And I was a huge Nirvana fan. (I was more angry than anything.) Even though I've only been a Woods of Ypres fan less than a year, this hurts more than any of those. So much potential, lost in the blink of an eye.
I will leave you with a chilling thought. In the song "Alternate Ending" on Woods 5, there are the lyrics "Back on the highway, under the moon. My final moments, still wondering about you." It's like he knew.
Return In Peace, David. May your next life bring you happiness.