Katatonia - _Viva Emptiness_
(Peaceville, 2003)
by: Pedro Azevedo (8 out of 10)
Present day Katatonia is clearly a more evolved musical entity than a few years ago. Where _Viva Emptiness_ has a crunchy, polished production, an older album, say _Brave Murder Day_, had a relatively weak one with artificial-sounding drums. _Viva Emptiness_ presents multiple musical approaches, much more varied than, for instance, _Discouraged Ones_. Furthermore, Jonas Renkse sings with a seemingly ever-improving voice, and the band's instrumental quality seems to have equally improved. The point I'm trying to make is that _VE_ has all that, but a lot of the time it fails to convey as much feeling to me as Katatonia's previous releases. This is not to say _Viva Emptiness_ is a mediocre or sterile album, or that I can't stand the more radio-friendly path Katatonia have taken -- see my 9 out of 10 review of its predecessor _Last Fair Deal Gone Down_ for proof. If anything, _Viva Emptiness_ actually sounds heavier than _LFDGD_ overall, although usually in a rather mainstream-ish way. The main problem on _Viva Emptiness_ is that in exploring new rhythms and string work, Katatonia have forsaken most of their trademark emotional guitar style. They have sought other means to express the emotion that has always been part of their music, and on some occasions they succeed brilliantly: the final sections of "A Premonition" and "Evidence", the chorus of "Walking by a Wire" and the Dolorian-like closer "Inside the City of Glass". Most of the time, however, _Viva Emptiness_ fails to make the kind of impact I hoped for, though it may be a consistently great album from a musical point of view with all its clever tricks and varied time signatures. "Omerta" and most of "One Year From Now" are downright annoying, and there are more average tracks leaving me indifferent than on previous albums of Katatonia's clean vocal era. Overall, _Viva Emptiness_ is still definitely worth your money if you liked _Last Fair Deal Gone Down_, but I can't help feeling mildly disappointed. On a side note, if the mainstream somehow ever noticed Katatonia, these guys really could become huge.

Contact: http://www.katatonia.com

(article published 4/16/2003)


CHATS
8/12/2001 D Rocher /
P Azevedo /
A Bromley
Katatonia: Songs of Quintessential Sorrow
ALBUMS
11/4/2012 A El Naby 4.5 Katatonia - Dead End Kings
2/14/2010 P Azevedo 8.5 Katatonia - Night Is the New Day
6/23/2007 P Azevedo 9 Katatonia - Live Consternation
2/17/2006 P Azevedo 9.5 Katatonia - The Great Cold Distance
3/13/2001 P Azevedo 9 Katatonia - Last Fair Deal Gone Down
8/12/1999 P Azevedo 8 Katatonia - Tonight's Decision
6/7/1998 P Azevedo 9 Katatonia - Discouraged Ones
2/5/1997 P Azevedo 10 Katatonia - Sounds of Decay
GIGS
4/22/2007 P Azevedo Katatonia / Process of Guilt Conquering the Distance
8/12/2001 P Azevedo Katatonia / Akercocke / Gandalf Brave Redrum Night
3/13/2001 V Anderson My Dying Bride / Katatonia / Soundisciples / Beyond Dawn / Thine The Snow in Their Hearts
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