Review: “Wardance” by Stheno

Unleashing Hell from Greece since 2013 with a trio of split EPs with Grassroll, World Downfall and Facada as well as an EP in 2014’s “Damnation Is Forever” and album in 2016’s “Liberty Crawls In Waste” of their own, Blackened Grindcore collective Stheno have cut a path across Germany, Switzerland and France before preparing to strike again. New album “Wardance” marks the bands first with new vocalist Christian Chaco, frontman of like minded German death-grinders Keitzer and was produced by Stelios “Stelth” Koslidis, as a full on assault of a war-themed concept record…

…For those that don’t know their Greek mythology, Stheno, from which the band take their name is one of three sisters, the eldest of the Gorgons born in the caverns beneath Mount Olympus. Each one of those sisters being a vicious female monster with brass hands, sharp fangs and hair made of living venomous snakes, the other two being Euryale and Medusa. What set Stheno apart from the others was her blood thirsty reputation as she was known to be the most independent and ferocious of the trio, having killed more men than both of her sisters combined…

…A Blackened, Death Metal infused Grindcore collective is always going to bring short, sharp cuts of blistering energy that threaten the very existence of fretboard, drum skin and ear drum alike and with “Wardance“, Stheno do not disappoint in that regard. They’ve packed eight  years for frustration brought about from false dawns, line up changes and the current state of World address into this incendiary record and simply let it all out like a black plague wind that sweeps the land, destroying everything in its path. Opening cut “Bestial Battalion” is the call to arms that every War themed album needs, sirens signalling the oncoming onslaught before Blackened riffage and an artillery shelling of blast beats reign terror on your ear drums. That blood and thunder beginning is followed up by “RPG” and “Deadly Camouflage“, a pair of cuts that only serve to increase the intensity while having some clear Slayer influences in the riffs and guitar tones. A momentary respite in the restless and relentless blasting is provided by a sample at the beginning of “Fire!” as the white knuckle hell ride continues at a breakneck pace as drummer Vaggelis gets a full on work out with plenty of variety in this percussive attack. “Snake Eater” and “Zulu Time” flow into each other like a river into the sea and surpass the six minute mark between them, something unheard of in this genre. How they’re going to keep up the high octane adrenaline pumping energy of these cuts in the live arena is a mystery because there is no moment of rest for the band here. It’s all just head down, bull in a China shop charging through brick wall after brick wall, leaving a trail of destruction in their wake and the bands flagrant disregard for life or limb is a joy to behold. No half measures. Go hard or go home. The scalding hot riffs of “Dishonored Bodybag” make it an immediate stand out as it’s pretty much all lead before the rampaging cyclone of “Military Discharge” hits like a tornado full of sharks. Christian Chaco could be Max Cavalera on “Bite The Bullet“, the similarities between the two voices giving cause for some to turn heads as if the Soulfly man is making a guest appearance and then comes the oddity of the record as finale “Bellum Internecinum” hits. A strange industrial tingled programmed and orchestrated piece that sounds like some kind of demonic Imperial March feels like being broadsided by a Juggernaut as you simply don’t see it coming. Had it been the introduction piece it would have worked better but at the tail end of this otherwise brutal and fiendishly frenetic album it feels nauseatingly awkward. None the less, this is still a War that Stheno have won [7.5/10]

Track listing

  1. Bestial Battalion
  2. RPG
  3. Deadly Camouflage
  4. Fire!
  5. Snake Eater
  6. Zulu Time
  7. Snafu (This time… we die!!)
  8. Dishonored Bodybag
  9. Military Discharge
  10. Bite the Bullet
  11. Bellum Internecinum

Wardance” by Stheno is out 8th October 2021 via 7 Degrees Records / Chaos & Hell Productions and is available for pre-order over at bandcamp

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