‘The Hunger’ is a Tony Scott directed cult underground vampire flick from the eighties starring Catherine Deneuve, David Bowie, and Susan Sarandon with a plotline centred around the seduction of a doctor who specializes in sleep and aging research (Sarandon) by a vampire couple (Deneuve and Bowie). I reference this simply because, this, the sixth album from Swedish postpunk doomsters Then Comes Silence, could very easily have not only fallen out of that same era but also provided the perfect soundtrack for said film, weaving as it does a darkly erotic web of intrigue within its eleven tracks.
Since the heady days of Uber Rock (through which I first discovered the band via their album ‘NYCTOPHILIAN’) I’ve had nothing but absolute admiration for what Alex Svenson and his bandmates do in the name of goth, and most recently back in 2020 (right here on RPM) I rather cheekily stated that their ‘Machine’ album track ‘Apocalypse Flare’ was possibly the best Mission song The Mission have never actually written. Fast forward to 2022 then, and it’s not just me singing those praises, because, who else but Mission frontman Wayne Hussey has just popped up on social media to declare his own love for his potential blood brothers by proclaiming Then Comes Silence to be “everything a band should be”.
So, if you’ve still not listened to our rave reviews and still not checked out Then Comes Silence, this really is your best chance to finally set the record straight, as ‘Hunger’ is without doubt the band’s most complete sounding record to date. Granted, its maybe not as immediate as their Nuclear Blast 2017 released ‘Blood’ album, but just like the aforementioned ‘Machine’ record from 2020, what this one does is get under your skin, you just need to let it in…(see what I did there vampire fans?)
Whilst it’s not the first track on the album ‘Rise To The Bait’, the first video from ‘Hunger’, is probably the best place to start with this record if you’ve never heard the band before, as this tune would have been a sure fire hit for the band here in the UK had it been released back in the mid eighties and would have had arms flapping aplenty on the packed dancefloors of the likes of the Batcave.
Then after that when I go back to the gloriously pompous opener ‘Ticket To Funerals’ it’s the slightly more prominent use of keyboards, and an almost Killing Joke circa Night Time chime to Mattias Ruejas Jonson’s guitar, that strikes me first about the band’s 2022 sound.
By track three ‘Cold From Inside’ I’m starting to think just how much this actually reminds me of the latter day Mark Lanegan Band albums in structure and tone, perfectly blending electronica with sombre vocal undertones, and the melody lines cutting through like shards of daylight in an otherwise dimly lit smoke filled room. It’s all VERY atmospheric and dark, but then again, when haven’t Then Comes Silence been either of those things?
The likes of ‘Worm’, ‘Chain’ and ‘Weird Gets Strange’ continue very much in the band’s already established songwriting template, with nods to the Mission meeting up with Nephilim/Cure/LOTNC and The Cult and a subtle hint of Ghost Dance thrown in for good measure. It’s those aforementioned extra added dynamics though, especially in the guitar tone department, that had me checking to see if Youth had actually got a production credit on this record. (He hasn’t, the sonics were captured by Svenson and mixed by Tom Van Heesch).
As with every Then Comes Silence album I own there’s once again strength in depth within the songwriting and if at all possible, this record actually gets better as it progresses with a particular later highlight being ‘Pretty Creatures’, the best Banshees track the Banshees never wrote (sorry, I just couldn’t resist that).
If you like the sound of all of this, then I implore you to check out ‘Hunger’ – it’s an epic celebration of everything great about independent music here in 2022 and whilst it’s steeped in the history of goth (and hence my references above) it also takes the genre off into an all-new glorious dawn (of the undead), and that, boils and ghouls, is what has always excited me most about Then Comes Silence.
‘Hunger’ is a sonic stake through your cold heart, go grab your copy via the links below.
Author: Johnny ‘Nosferatu’ Hayward