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Control All Delete

Ván (2015)
Rating: 8/10

Not to be confused with the British band of exactly the same moniker, this particular Wardenclyffe is from Sweden and likes to dabble in death-drenched doooooom metal!

In 2012, the band released its demo entitled Ordo ab Chao. It was something I enjoyed immensely, and so it’s great that two of the three tracks which appeared on that demo have found their way to this seven-track debut full-length release.

However, firstly I’d like to introduce you to the embers which construct this monolith. There’s Jacob Nordangård on vocals / guitar, Emil Åström plays bass, Ola Blomkvist also plays guitar and Micael Zetterberg handles drums. Meanwhile, since the album was recorded there’s been the further addition to of Misericordia guitarist Robert Karlsson. Wardenclyffe was formed in 2011 by Nordangård, Blomkvist and Zetterberg and it’s only natural that any doom band which emerges from Sweden is always going to suffer comparisons with Candlemass, even if they sound nothing alike.

Control All Delete is a morose slab of a record – as expected – that deals with classic doom metal nuances for the most part. Slow, aching rhythms tease themselves out of the equally creaky eaves and are laced with Nordangård’s clear funereal bellows. Okay, so it’s nothing new in any way shape or form, but it’s nice to hear a few bands on the scene nowadays reverting back to traditional sombreness rather than leaning towards that horrid stoner fuzz.

With Control All Delete we are treated to slow-moving objects in the form of ‘Orcadian Dream’, ‘Everlearning – Neverknowing’, ‘Merchants Of Doom’, ‘Macroshift’, ‘A Journey Through The Major Aracana’ and ‘Externalization Of The Hierachy’. All delivered with shades of impending dread, the best of these is the oaken might of ‘Macroshift’ where Nordangård’s vocals drift nicely into deathlier growls as the riffs lumber behind him with the grace of a drunken elephant. Although there’s no real variety within the structures of each song, the harrowing drum slogs and eerie melancholic whines of the guitar provide enough rainy atmospherics to capture the listener and enshroud them in a feeling akin of standing by a rain-soaked grave.

I’m thankful that the songs are not too long, most of them clocking in around the six or seven minute mark. The riffs rarely labour, and as modern doom metal outings go this is one of the most genuinely stark that I’ve heard. So, hats off to Nordangård and company for carving out a very good composition of woe. I’m of the opinion that too many doom bands are incapable of providing such spooky dramatics, but through the simplicity of tracks such as ‘Everlearning – Neverknowing’, Wardenclyffe maintains a feeling of folkloric horror which is encapsulated within those sorrowful chimes and despondent narrations – only in their case, the hymns of greed, angst and pain are served up as dire warnings we should all take note of.

This is a very good doom metal record that takes me back to the early 90s when music of this stature, weight and darkness was a common element in extreme metal, and yet today it seems such a rare thing.

Neil Arnold

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