On the week before Christmas the metal world lost one of the brightest up and coming talents that it had to offer. Founder, vocalist and guitarist/multi-instrumentalist David Gold of Woods Of Ypres was taken from us at the age of 31. Details of the accident are still unclear aside from it involved a car and a pedestrian according to the Barrie Examiner. The Canadian doom metal outfit had just signed to Earache records in 2010 and was starting to gain the recognition it deserved with much bigger things on the horizon with the release of Woods 5: Grey Skies & Electric Light. David was a man with big dreams and an even bigger heart and this tragedy leaves a giant void in the lives of anyone who has ever known him or even felt a connection to his music.
It’s been over a week since I first heard the news and I still haven’t come to terms with the loss. One of the first things that I do when I get to work every morning is open my laptop and check on music news so that I’m in the loop. When I saw it first reported by the guys at Metal Underground last Friday I had initially hoped it was a Peter Steele-esque hoax before getting choked up and realizing that it was indeed a reality. While death is always going to be a tragedy, senseless and self-inflicted deaths don’t seem to tug at your heartstrings quite like unexpected, undeserving deaths always will. David was way too young and way too good of a person to leave us without going out on his own terms. He is also the first musician who I have personally had the honor of being acquainted with to pass away which makes it a bit harder for me to grasp.
David was a role model for how aspiring musicians need to handle their bands. While being the driving force behind such a wonderful band as Woods Of Ypres, he was also their best promoter and PR guy. Instead of leaving things to a record label, the radio, or fate, David interacted with anybody who would reach out to him both in person and online creating an even stronger bond with those in the metal community. He had a dream that he stood behind through thick and thin and he never lost faith in his music or his fans.
I had the honor of meeting David through Braingell this past March after reviewing the rerelease of Woods 4: The Green Album. Being the go getter for his band that he was, he retweeted anything Woods of Ypres related on Twitter and posted album reviews to the band Facebook page in an attempt to spread the word. After his kind words about my positive review we stayed in touch via email and Facebook every so often and he couldn’t be any nicer. When I went to Toronto for Heavy T.O., I met a guy in the media tent with a full beard and a bright green Woods Of Ypres shirt. After complementing him and starting conversation with him I said to him, “Wait, you’re not David right?” making sure he wasn’t a master of disguise from the pictures I had seen of him online. He assured me that he wasn’t David but he was out there and I could find him wearing a “middle eastern looking thing” on his head. So I began my quest with my friend Jason to track this man down amongst tens of thousands of metalheads. After about thirty minutes of searching we found him with Morgan Lander of Kittie trying to stay cool on the side of the sound tent. I only spent ten or fifteen minutes with them, but he was as genuine of a person as I had ever met. He knew who I was as soon as I introduced myself which was a nice feeling of not being just one of the many anonymous faces on the internet hoping a musician would remember every single one of their fans. The last time I got to speak to him was briefly the week before his passing and he was beyond stoked about the new album coming out at the end of January. Over the past week I have been able to find some solace on his personal Facebook page and on various blogs by seeing how many of his fans just like me out there he went out of his way for. He didn’t do it for the fame or the money; he did it because that’s the person that he was.
David Gold, on behalf of myself and all of those who have ever known you, you will be dearly missed. Thank you for leaving us with great memories and four albums and an EP of wonderful music. You left us on top of your game and the world is in for an absolute treat when more people get to hear the release of Woods 5. In summary, I think that you once said it best:
For modern music is self-indulgent, we have always done it for ourselves.
For it is not a matter of life and death, but life only and itself.
To live is to light a torch and carry it as far as you can go,
Before the winds blow so hard, the flame goes out,
As you fall crashing down, to the snow.
Knowing at least that when you fail,
Someone could relight that torch,
And carry it the rest of the way, someday,
In honor of you and who you were to them.