Katatonia
Viva Emptiness


4.5
superb

Review

by Jorn van Schaïk USER (172 Reviews)
May 2nd, 2007 | 90 replies | 25,881 views


Release Date: 2003 | Tracklist


15 of 15 thought this review was well written

Imagine you are in a different world. A world where colour has not yet been invented, and everything you see is in shades of gray, black and white. Rain is pouring down from the clouds above and suddenly you have gone back in life, and maybe even switched gender. You are walking down a badly lit road with some of the only things you possess in your hands. If you know where you've ended up right now, please raise your hand.

No? You don't?

Well, you've just ended up on the front cover of Katatonia's Viva Emptiness album. And sure enough you remember the days of misery and depression that beset you at some period in your life. The days when nothing felt good anymore. Nothing seemed to be good. Every thing you did seemed like it had no purpose. Every move you made seemed to be the wrong one. Every bridge you saw prompted you to look over the edge to check out just how deep the fall was. Every crevice and overhanging protruding rock you walked under, hoping that it would collapse on you and take you out and away from the pain inside your heart.

If you've ever felt like that, the cover of the album, and in fact the album itself, are going to appeal to you to no end. The gloomy atmospheres, the melodic, whining vocals, the terrifying lyrics, it's all on this record. I will admit that this has a bit more edge and grit than Last Fair Deal Gone Down, but nevertheless that atmosphere is the one the album conveys, and it does a great job. Perhaps the best evidence of the atmosphere is the closing track, Inside The City Of Glass, a genuinely terrifying instrumental that puts the chills on you from beginning to end. This melancholy song may not rank among the death/doom favourites of "True Doom", and Katatonia have moved away into a more alternative direction, but nevertheless the gloom and melancholy surrounding the music creates here is worthy of the doom metal tag.

"Ghost of the Sun" is the opening rocker, however, and it basically sums up the whole record. Gritty, yet downcast and moody, it sets the tone for the rest of the album in a grandiose way that will leave you shattered for the remainder of the record. The lyrics are a little more profane than we are accustomed to from Mr Renkse, but perhaps it just serves to enhance the feeling, and lyrics like the following excerpt just hit home on all counts.

"I trusted you, you lied, it's all I hear, a ***ing lie
Don't give a ***, it's over now, it's all I know, you broke the vow"


"Sleeper" is another standout track, providing the listener with yet another dose of heavy guitars, biting vocals, and lyrics that will haunt your brains for days to come. Every track is in a similar vein, changing tempos from slow to slower, and shifting the guitars from electric to acoustic, but never does the band stop pelting you with their nigh-on fifty-three minute long slab of dense, layered, depressing music. Every song is another part of the fragmented soul of Mr Renkse, and every track seems to underline another aspect of the dark side of the mind. It may get slightly repetitive at times, and a certain mindset is indeed required to appreciate the album fully.

But if you are into this style of music, Katatonia gives you what you ask for, and a great deal more. This album is the best of their discography, and will pay an insane amount of repeat listens for the ones who are willing to invest in it. So put on this disc and be led into a world where grace is impossible, love is an illusion and every sense of redemption is the utter definition of a fata morgana. Highly recommended.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
kalkal50
May 2nd 2007



2386 Comments


Great review dude, I'm gonna have to vote. What genre is this, because it sounds a bit emo O.o

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
May 2nd 2007



16264 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Old Katatonia used to be doom/melodic death metal, but then the vocals I believe lost his ability to scream. Now its more of a hard rock type thing. This is a great album though.

Digging: Ulver - Bergtatt

Altmer
May 2nd 2007



5652 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah, it's weird doom/alterna/goth rock/metal thingy.

Fucking kickass though.

Kage
May 2nd 2007



1173 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Love this album. It's all depressed and dark and haunting and rainy and what have you, but it never stops being fun to listen to and the sound is very sincere.This Message Edited On 05.02.07

Doppelganger
May 2nd 2007



3124 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I'm going to have to give this album another try. Great review.

Cravinov13
May 2nd 2007



3854 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Katatonia kinda got old to me. Still a good CD though.

Meelk
May 2nd 2007



126 Comments


Katatonia simply aren't very good. their music contains absolutely no subversive elements; all their songs are in the same vein and conveys the same type of messages and feelings. the good production helps them, but it's pretty much generic poppy gothic metal in my opinion.

the2stranger
May 3rd 2007



130 Comments


This isprobably my favorite katatonia release.
Thisalbumis so good, I love how the shoegaze songwriting blends in with the sometimes psychedlic sounding guitars.
Jonas Renske has the perfect voice for this kind of music, full of emotion, and fragile.
A Premonition and Omerta are probably my favorites.

Tarantino's Tarantulas
May 3rd 2007



819 Comments


I've heard 5 songs off this - I didn't particularly like Evidence and Criminals but Ghost of the Sun, Burn the Remembrance and Complicity were awesome. I might get a Katatonia album at some point in the future, although they are behind quite a bit of other stuff on my wanted list.

Oh and (has to be done) Satan, 666!!!

As you can see I'm highly mature.

Altmer
May 3rd 2007



5652 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Criminals and Evidence are two of my favourites. :/

Confessed2005
May 3rd 2007



3314 Comments


I have heard so many great things about this band but I have never really checked them out.

Great review - this albums sounds like it is worth a listen.

Tarantino's Tarantulas
May 3rd 2007



819 Comments


Criminals and Evidence are two of my favourites. :/
Criminals is a bit dull and I really don't like the chorus of Evidence, it just irritates me for some reason.


Stalusk
May 4th 2007



90 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Interesting, I find the chorus to the opening track very annoying. Wealth and Evidence are the standouts for me. The rest of the songs range from good to fair. It is very dark and gloomy that's for sure.

Kage
May 4th 2007



1173 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I am the evidence you passed the test and thats so good for you, hold on, will you read the letters i will send to you
Will i come along, will they let me out to take the test
hold on, will i score enough for me to pass the test


Best part of the entire record.

FR33L0RD
May 4th 2007



1461 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good album

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
August 25th 2007



16264 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is one of my favorite albums without screamed vocals, it so somber and calm, I love this CD.

BallsToTheWall
August 25th 2007



44164 Comments


Is this almost as good as Brave Murder Day. Ive only heard that and The Great Cold Distance.

BallsToTheWall
August 25th 2007



44164 Comments


Ive heard two tracks of this.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
August 25th 2007



16264 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I like it a lot better than Brave Murder Day. This is my favorite Katatonia album by far.

Jim
December 10th 2007



5110 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

default review please



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