Then Comes Silence
Metropolis Records/Oblivion

Machine is the fifth album from Swedish rockers Then Comes Silence, and it certainly feels like an album made by a band who have put in the time figuring out their sound. Earlier releases often sounded like they were trapped between the band’s heavier tendencies and their penchant for post-punk structures and moods. Where Machine succeeds is in getting the balance between those two modes just so. The results are a solid record of goth rock numbers that don’t skimp on riffs or danceable rhythms.

Opener “We Lose the Night” should give you a pretty solid idea of what to expect from Then Comes Silence. Big chorused guitar leads and rhythm parts, Joy Division-esque shuffle from the drums and deep crooning bass vocals from Alex Svenson. It’s nothing especially new but it is notable how well the band work the sound on each track; “Apocalypse Flare”, “Glass”, “Devil” are all cut from similar cloth, but stand out thanks to their memorable hooks.

The record’s major variations are also notable for some interesting ideas they work into the sound of the surrounding tracks. “I Gave You Everything” runs a very sinister verse, stripped down to one simple descending guitar riff, some tremolo filigree and simple 4 on the floor kicks, lending its big chorus some extra juice when it breaks out. “Kill It” is one of the least dark tracks, instead working in some psychedelic touches that bring vintage Tear Garden to mind. I’m also a big fan of closer “Cuts Inside”, where the band finally go full second-wave, allowing the background synths to shine a little brigter in the mix for extra spooky atmospheres.

Machine feels like the work of a proper rock band in pretty much every respect, with production and a mix that emphasizes the song’s strengths. Then Comes Silence don’t break much in the way of new ground – and to be honest there are certainly moments that crib directly from some of their influences – but they know their way around a hook and a chorus and have the good sense to just keep things moving from track to track. If you’re looking for a solid modern goth rock record, Machine should fit the bill.

Buy it.