Based on its name, one might expect Gothenburg, Sweden to be the most goth-friendly city in the world. Think drinking establishments drenched in darkness and blasting the Sisters of Mercy, a statue of Robert Smith in the main square, and coffee only served black. Research proves this idea unfortunately wrong: Gothenburg is instead best known for its family-friendly amusement park, Liseberg. This doesn’t mean, however, that the city is devoid of bands creating dark rock music for the more monochromatic of us to enjoy.
One of these groups is IBEN, which released its second single, “Silence the Killer,” back in December. The track begins with a simple, Peter Hook-esque bass line, dark and treble-free, over pounding, anxious tom and snare hits. Soon, lead singer Gabrielle Baker’s voice fills the void between; her ominous, witchy tremble slightly resembles Wax Idols’ Hether Fortune. IBEN draws out the slow burn before reverb-drenched guitars and odd drum patterns lead to an angular post-punk attack.
IBEN’s Facebook describes “Silence the Killer” as being “about the killing silence when a person you love suddenly disappears out of your life.” Indeed, the group deftly uses silence and minimalism throughout the track, creating the impression that this post-punk ritual is happening in a cavern very much lacking light. Vocal harmonies emerge during the second verse courtesy of bassist Niki Yrla, but don’t weaken the track’s jet-black feel. Across “Silence the Killer,” IBEN sounds like the perfect long-lost opening act for the Swedish date of a Bauhaus, Siouxsie and the Banshees, or Danse Society tour.
“Silence the Killer” comes released as an EP together with remixes from ANNELIE, Högt I Tak, and more. Let’s all hope IBEN keeps doing its part to make Gothenburg just a little bit more goth.
Editor’s note/correction, Feb 1 2019, 10:37am EST: All guitars heard on “Silence the Killer” are actually synths.