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Stheno – Wardance

by Justin Joseph at 07 October 2021, 11:15 PM

Imagine a bullet travelling at high velocity that bores the cranium, fragmenting the skull as it tears through the tissues of the brain releasing a discharge of cerebrospinal fluid as it frees itself, piercing through the opposite end of the entry wound, if the experience can be deconstructed into that of the essence of sound it would be Greek Grindcore outfit STHENO’s recent and second release, “Wardance”.
Now from the description crafted above, it is meant not to reflect poorly upon the band’s offering, quite the contrary as it is an album that was thoroughly enjoyed for its visceral output, but most importantly it’s the harnessing of the harsh elements and morphing it into a linear path where the malevolence can be channelled forth…so with that brief analysis of the album, let’s get into it!
The album clocks in around 24 minutes comprising of eleven tracks (you can do the math to figure out the average duration of each song), the first notable positive that the album gifts the listener is the replay value, due to the short run time and the succinct tracks, the overall musical quality contains a rabid persona towards it due to the vortex of chaos each track evokes. Songs such as, “Dishonored Bodybag” and “Fire” emanate a raw-like ambience where it can be compared to unbridled aggression that exits not with any tools or devices to fuel its need, to put it another way, the belligerence that radiates forth is not crafted from supplementary sounds to give a false identity, instead its primary weapon is the tones discharged by solely the drums and guitars.
This carries us to the next positive of this album, the instrumental components…musically “Wardance” relies not upon the intricacies woven in complex patterns to expel any array of dissonance towards the listener, instead while there exists some variation, it is birthed from the unrelenting speed created from the cohesiveness of the percussions and strings. The playing invoked upon the album releases a vibe that paints the prowess as dexterous in nature, as the drums and guitars feels like different appendages belonging to one body, where each arm moves in different shapes but together they forge a unity under one central mind. “RPG”,”Snake Eater” and “Deadly Camouflage” showcases the dual solidarity with the up-tempo riffing and blast beats, however, one should not think that the album offers mindless carnage, as it may seem simple to cram fragmented sounds that seem obtuse, but where STHENO thrives is the feral-like nature that is conjured instead of coming across as artificial just to sound obscure.
If sounds of chaos are unleashed, therefore a voice must command the elements to ensnare the vehemence to flow to his will, and such is the vocals which resonate on “Wardance”. The register utilized here feels as it comes from the same breath of Sven (vocalist of ABORTED) in terms of the enunciation of the verses, however, coupled with musical components, the dominance displayed by the vocals are integrated seamlessly into the mix.
Does the album offer new qualities to be relished and revered? No , but this should not disconnect one from perceiving the album as being formulaic, as yes, countless albums have existed before, and countless more will continue to, however, if you relish the sounds of Blackened Grindcore, then this would be the morsel for you, but do not venture into the album with a close minded approach of wanting something more than a primal spirit translated into sound, for it is the very soil in which this album’s root is imbedded in, point being, do not expect an eagle to tread the waters when it is meant to soar upon the open skies.
That being said, I would still recommend this album to fans of Extreme Metal and even the newcomers who wish to explore the different shades of extremity.      
Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 7

4 Star Rating

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
Record Label: Chaos & Hell Productions


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