Photos by Adam Wills
On Thursday, April 5th, Inertia Entertainment and the Annex Wreckroom hosted a memorial show dedicated to David Gold. The sudden death of Gold, a major player in the Canadian metal scene and main man behind the band Woods of Ypres, was a sobering moment in metal scenes across the country and beyond. The evening’s theme, “love the living while they’re still alive,” a lyrical reference to one of Gold’s last songs, became a mantra repeated several times by Gold’s mother, Esther. It suited the night’s ambiguous mood well. The event was a celebration of Gold’s life and music, a chance to be with old and new friends still here, but the evening could not help but feel bittersweet given the lingering grief of those who were still mourning and missing him.
The evening’s music was broken up into three parts. The first was a series of performances by local and regional bands, each performing two songs (an original and a cover of one of Woods of Ypres songs). The different acts offered a range of styles, with Panzerfaust and Eclipse Eternal in particular bringing an appropriate level of sonic frostiness to their black metal-tinged sets. That this style clashed with other aspects of the evening, including Panzerfaust’s emotional display of camaraderie in pinning a Woods of Ypres/Panzerfaust flyer to the backstage wall, made them even more interesting. Another highlight of the local acts was the performance by Kittie. Despite lead vocalist/guitarist Morgan Lander‘s seeing the need to justify their attendance (for some reason), the band proceeded to bang out crisp renditions of two of their newer songs plus a moving cover of Woods of Ypres’ “Everything I Touch Turns to Gold (Then To Coal).” Nathaniel Larochette and Raphael Weinroth-Browne of neo-folk act Musk Ox played not only a cut from their upcoming material, but also invited Paul Kuhr of headliners November’s Doom to sing the lyrics of “You Are Here With Me,” a song that Musk Ox wrote for Gold’s Woods 4: The Green Album.
After all the Canadian bands were finished, “Mama Gold” returned to the stage to introduce a public playing of Woods 5: Grey Skies & Electric Light. She took the opportunity to elaborate on her earlier words to the crowd, thanking them again for all their support and love since her son’s death. She was also sure to emphasize the community of the metal scene, and warned that “if you love someone and they don’t love you back, move on.” Her words invoked the recurring themes of love and personal loss that are often present in some of Woods of Ypres best work. It was an emotionally poignant way to begin the listening party, and the potency of her words hung in the air while the music played.
Finally, in the wee hours of the morning, Chicago’s November’s Doom took to the stage to play their set. Paul Kuhr and company were in fine form despite the late hour, playing fast and loud and keeping the energy level up. Throughout the set Kuhr mixed humorous commentary (“You guys should tell us when we suck”) with thoughts about Gold’s death (“I cried for weeks”). Though they ran out of time due to the number of minor delays that occurred throughout the night, November’s Doom managed to squeeze in several songs including “Rain,” “Swallowed by The Moon,” “Harvest Scythe,” “Pale Haunt Departure,” and a cover of Woods’ “Wet Leather.” It was a fitting end to the spirit of the evening, and another sign of the ability of the Toronto metal scene to transcend genre preferences and particular scenes to celebrate and say farewell to one of their own.