Katatonia - Viva Emptiness review



Reviewer:
9.0

744 users:
8.61
Band: Katatonia
Album: Viva Emptiness
Release date: March 2003


01. Ghost Of The Sun
02. Sleeper
03. Criminals
04. A Premonition
05. Will I Arrive
06. Burn The Remembrance
07. Wealth
08. One Year From Now
09. Walking By A Wire
10. Complicity
11. Evidence
12. Omerta
13. Inside The City Of Glass


Katatonia's third album Discouraged Ones was a brave turning point for the band. It distanced the band from the black metal tag that shackled them, and allowed some more subtle influences to creep into the mix. Both 2000's Tonight's Decision and 2001's Last Fair Deal Gone Down seemed to build upon their strengths as musicians and the fine art of crafting songs, and clearly showed the bands growing skills in both atmospherics and the ability to project the depths of human despair without losing hope.
Both Jonas Renkse [vocals, guitars and programming] and Anders Nystrom [guitars, keyboards and programming] spent the early part of last year with their other project Bloodbath [Resurrection Through Carnage] before reconvening in their hometown of Stockholm with fellow Katatonia members Fred Norrman [guitars], Mattias Norrman [bass] and Daniel Liljekvist [drums and percussion] to begin work on the Sweden's sixth studio album.

Katatonia themselves claimed that Viva Emptiness would take on a harder edge than their previous few efforts, and opener ?Ghost Of The Sun? proves that they weren's leading fans astray with false hope. The guitars are certainly a dominant feature, while Renkse's melodies and vocals are as tortured and mesmerising as they ever were. The back up screaming through the chorus and the female chant around the halfway mark are both stunning effects. ?Sleeper?, ?Will I Arrive? and ?Wealth? are all surprisingly heavy solid upbeat guitar driven numbers, and provide an ingredient that has been missing on the last couple of releases. But for all the number of tracks that show the band is still capable of creating heavy music, there's the trademark depressing anthems of emotional suffering. The best examples are clearly audible through ?A Premonition? and ?One Year From Now?. The percussive brilliance featured on ?Burn The Remembrance? is impressive, while the acoustic tinged aggression of ?Omerta? was not what I was expecting from them. The Nick Drake/Jeff Buckley influences are still imbedded within Renkse's songs, but perhaps not as obvious as previous releases.

Viva Emptiness is one of Katatonia's strongest releases to date. The combination of the album title, songs, atmosphere and cover [from the legendary Travis Smith] makes this the perfect Katatonia release.

Written by Justin | 18.09.2003


 


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This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.


Comments page 2 / 2

Comments: 41   Visited by: 203 users
23.02.2011 - 00:02
InnerSelf
proofread free
Written by Mr. Doctor on 22.02.2011 at 16:03

Written by InnerSelf on 20.02.2011 at 13:46

I think their worst is Tonight's Decision the vocals were horrible and the music was very boring , but the latest two were pretty solid especially The Great Cold Distance


Holy shit someone thinks like I do!
Well.. I haven't heard their latest yet so I can't talk about that one but I find Tonight's Decision to be very boring with just a few tracks that are worth it to call the album "good" but it's a very "meh" kind of good if you know what I mean. And yes... I find "The Great Cold Distance" to be better than TD
And I ALSO agree with what you wrote about the vocals. I absolutely LOVE Discouraged Ones, it's in my top 3 easily from their discography and I think the vocals were perfect there... So I don't understand why I think the vocals sucked in TD (although I do think they were good again in LFDGD.


I totaly understand wht you're talking about , it is "good" just because it is Katatonia I think a sort of fanboysim from our side
LFDGD has some of Katatonia's greatest songs but also has some strange not-so-good moments. and the thing that makes me say that Viva is their best work from the new era is that it had much of the old elements "in terms of song writing" plus the new elements making it a masterpiece.

@J.O.O.E : Agreed and Agreed
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He who is not bold enough
to be stared at from across the abyss
is not bold enough
to stare into it himself.
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10.05.2011 - 02:29
saw_you_drown
With a few minor changes and rearrangements this would be my favorite Katatonia album -- and that is saying a lot!
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In the water I saw you drown...
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10.05.2011 - 02:35
saw_you_drown
Written by Guest on 21.02.2011 at 15:49

Yeah I've listened to Tonight's Decision and Last Fair deal a lot over the years and I've never really been all that into them, they are quite clumsy in terms of songwriting and the Renkse's vocals are seriously undeveloped. Though I didn't like the last two albums very much for a long time I've learned to see that they're actually pretty good records and it may or may not be the result of studio tweaking and polish but the vocals are much improved.


Ok, Katatonia is responsible for writing "We Must Bury You," an obvious misstep in composing and an unfair test and failure of Jonas' vocal range. Other than that, Katatonia are without question among the premier songwriters in hard rock/metal. These guys find more talent and soul under their couches than 10 Children of Bodoms combined.
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In the water I saw you drown...
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10.05.2011 - 02:56
!J.O.O.E.!
Account deleted
Written by saw_you_drown on 10.05.2011 at 02:35

Ok, Katatonia is responsible for writing "We Must Bury You," an obvious misstep in composing and an unfair test and failure of Jonas' vocal range. Other than that, Katatonia are without question among the premier songwriters in hard rock/metal. These guys find more talent and soul under their couches than 10 Children of Bodoms combined.

...That's not the most pertinent of examples though is it really?
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14.05.2011 - 10:12
saw_you_drown
Written by Guest on 10.05.2011 at 02:56

Written by saw_you_drown on 10.05.2011 at 02:35

Ok, Katatonia is responsible for writing "We Must Bury You," an obvious misstep in composing and an unfair test and failure of Jonas' vocal range. Other than that, Katatonia are without question among the premier songwriters in hard rock/metal. These guys find more talent and soul under their couches than 10 Children of Bodoms combined.

...That's not the most pertinent of examples though is it really?

That was in fact the most pertinent example. You challenged both vocals and songwriting, and I searched my itunes (where i have every track they have ever released), and found exactly one example that supported your claim.
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In the water I saw you drown...
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14.05.2011 - 12:36
!J.O.O.E.!
Account deleted
Quote:
Written by saw_you_drown on 14.05.2011 at 10:12

...That's not the most pertinent of examples though is it really?

That was in fact the most pertinent example. You challenged both vocals and songwriting, and I searched my itunes (where i have every track they have ever released), and found exactly one example that supported your claim.

Regardless, CoB is an extremely random choice as they're nothing like Katatonia, even if you were just exercising hyperbole. I love Katatonia but I don't agree they're premier songwriters, almost all of their albums are prone to a number of weak filler tracks, they're far from infallible. I've learned to appreciate their past couple of records but that's mostly as an appreciation of their sound and improved vocal tone and performance, rather than songwriting.
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29.07.2011 - 01:55
BeastOfMetal456
Account deleted
I'm surprised Criminals got no mention here... D:
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29.07.2011 - 13:39
!J.O.O.E.!
Account deleted
Written by Guest on 29.07.2011 at 01:55

I'm surprised Criminals got no mention here... D:

Damn straight. Probably my fave Katatonia song.
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29.07.2011 - 17:08
Slayer666
Written by Guest on 29.07.2011 at 01:55

I'm surprised Criminals got no mention here... D:

Me too. IMO, only the first 3 songs + Evidence and Omerta are worth something on this album. The rest is a yawnfest.
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30.07.2011 - 01:23
Mr. Doctor
Skandino
Criminals is indeed one of their bests ong. The chorus is so fucking catchy is ridiculous.
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Written by BloodTears on 19.08.2011 at 18:29
Like you could kiss my ass
Written by Milena on 20.06.2012 at 10:49
Rod, let me love you.
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30.07.2011 - 01:40
BeastOfMetal456
Account deleted
Written by Slayer666 on 29.07.2011 at 17:08

Written by Guest on 29.07.2011 at 01:55

I'm surprised Criminals got no mention here... D:

Me too. IMO, only the first 3 songs + Evidence and Omerta are worth something on this album. The rest is a yawnfest.

Haven't heard all of them really. Only Criminals. Probably my best song of the week.
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