“What is the point of writing songs about the apocalypse and the inescapable future that's drenched in darkness, when the media already do it better? Instead, with our new album HUNGER, we give you the light.” (Alex Svenson, Then Comes Silence, 2022)
At a time when tortured artists in their droves release introspective, doom-laden, pandemic-obsessed new material, Swedish gothic post-punk band Then Comes Silence is once again heroically swimming against the tide, with sixth album HUNGER set firmly towards the light at the end of the tunnel.
“We need to oppose and challenge the prevailing mood and find a more positive way of life right now to stay sane,” explains founder member and frontman Alex Svenson. “Suddenly, it seems more important to address those little beams of sunlight slipping through the overwhelming gloom, that new kind of darkness most of us had never experienced before, leading to anxiety, fear and isolation. An involuntary dullness and temperance seem to have numbed many of our creative abilities.
”Not that this was true during the pandemic for Then Comes Silence. Their previous album MACHINE was released on the very day most of the world entered lockdown, but rather than merely bemoaning their fate, licking their wounds and retreating into their Stockholm bunker, the band led the way in online musical innovation in the early months of the coronavirus pandemic, streaming crowd-free gigs ’live’ over the internet and releasing quarantine cover versions on YouTube to universal critical acclaim.
But as the months dragged on, Svenson and the band realised that it was time to move on: “We had hoped to pick MACHINE up as soon as things gradually came back to life again, but some time around the winter of 2020/2021 we realized that we'd have to leave it behind, carry on and start thinking about the next album.
”The band knew that they wanted to do something different from MACHINE. If that album was "ice cold water running through a stainless steel pipe on a November morning" then the next album, HUNGER would be warm like blood... again. Typically, Then Comes Silence approached this new project in their own unique way, resulting in the HORSEMEN project, four EPs of cover versions released in October 2021.
“We did the HORSEMEN cover project as a study for HUNGER,” Svenson explains. “We went back to school to learn from others, but it was also a way to fill the emptiness of a long period without touring and playing live. The last cover version was recorded in February 2021, and the next month we started rehearsing the first new songs.
”As on previous albums, Then Comes Silence drafted in some stellar additional musicians to assist with HUNGER. In addition to goth royalty William Faith (Faith and the Muse, Mephisto Walz, The March Violets) and Swedish alternative scene legends Niklas Rundquist (who worked with Leather Nun in the 1980’s) and Jörgen Wall (known for his work with Whale and Thåström amongst others), there are also contributions from current Scandinavian wave scene stars Gözde Duzer (aux animaux) and Mikkel Borbjerg Jakobsen (The Foreign Resort), whilst Karolina Engdahl (True Moon), who duetted with Svenson on the single Ritual from MACHINE, again provides backing vocals.
At the time of the previous album, Svenson famously stated, “There will not be any new Bowies, McCartneys, Ramones or Lemmys for a long time. We have to be the Rhinemaidens guarding the Rheingold. Become the guardians of the holy grail until the day the new rock prophets are born,” a view he still stands by today. “That’s still relevant. Nothing has changed.”
HUNGER finds Then Comes Silence showing the path to a brighter future rather than revelling in the misery of the global pandemic. As Svenson says, “This album is the one that we will bring with us into the new changed world. We need to bring back the energy and restore the passion, by taking a handful of rock music and throwing it to the world like a lifeline. With HUNGER, we give you the light.”
HUNGER is produced by Alex Svenson and mixed by Tom van Heesch, who produced the album Blood in 2017. It is released on July 1st.
Alex Svenson | vocals, bass, synthesizers
Hugo Zombie | guitars
Jonas Fransson | drums