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Katatonia Viva Emptiness album cover
4.21 | 90 ratings | 2 reviews | 41% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2003

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Ghost of the Sun (4:11)
2. Sleeper (4:12)
3. Criminals (3:51)
4. A Premonition (3:37)
5. Will I Arrive (4:13)
6. Burn the Remembrance (5:26)
7. Wealth (4:27)
8. One Year From Now (4:06)
9. Walking by a Wire (3:37)
10. Complicity (4:05)
11. Evidence (4:40)
12. Omerta (2:58)
13. Inside the City of Glass (4:07)

Total Time: 53:34

Bonus track on 2013 reissues:
14. Wait Outside (3:39)

Line-up / Musicians

- Jonas Renkse / vocals, guitar, programming
- Anders "Blackheim" Nyström / guitar, keyboards, programming
- Fredrik Norrman / guitar
- Mattias Norrman / bass, slide guitar (8)
- Daniel Liljekvist / drums, percussion, backing vocals (1)

Releases information

Artwork: Travis Smith

CD Peaceville ‎- CDVILEF103 (2003, UK)
CD Peaceville ‎- CDVILED484X (2013, UK) Fully revamped, remixed / remastered w/ bonus track + additional vocals & keyboard passages

LP Infinite Vinyl Series ‎- IVS 003 (2003, US)
LP Peaceville ‎- VILELP103 (2011, Europe)
2xLP Peaceville ‎- VILELP484 (2013, UK) Fully revamped, remixed / remastered w/ bonus track + additional vocals & keyboard passages

Thanks to Prog Sothoth for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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KATATONIA Viva Emptiness ratings distribution

(90 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(41%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(36%)
Good, but non-essential (17%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

KATATONIA Viva Emptiness reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars They've increased the heaviness and intensity quite a bit on this 2003 release, in fact I'd call it their heaviest record. Lots of riffs as well as once again like on "Last Fair Deal Gone Down" they contrast the mellow with the intense sections throughout. Travis Smith is back and did an amazing job not only with the cover art but with the pictures in the liner notes. Jonas and Anders both use programming this time around and we get some rare slide guitar on one track.

"Ghost Of The Sun" opens with a riff I've heard countless times as this was the cd I used for my alarm to wake me up in the morning for work. No I thought I'd hate it too but I don't(haha). Plenty of riffs and heaviness as the vocals join in. Check out the intensity 1 1/2 minutes in including the screams. So good! This is back again at 3 1/2 minutes and we do get some keys when it settles and also some cool atmosphere when it settles again later before 3 minutes. "Sleeper" has strummed guitar, vocals and atmosphere but it turns powerful each time the chorus arrives. Atmosphere and picked guitar 2 1/2 minutes in then the vocals also join in as this continues to the end.

"Criminals" is a top five. I really like the lyrics and sound to this one and the contrasts are well done once again. "A Premonition" is another top five for me. I especially enjoy the melancholic synth-like sounds. It's intense 1 1/2 minutes in with passionate vocals. "Will I Arrive" is one I'm just not that into. It's heavy from the start, really heavy until the vocals arrive when it settles back as contrasts continue.

"Burn The Remembrance" has lots of heaviness and guitar but it calms right down when the vocals come in before a minute. Contrasts continue and I do like the guitar in this one a lot. "Wealth" is heavy and intense to say the least until it calms down before a minute with vocals. Contrasts continue. "One Year From Now" is different, almost waltz-like with the piano and synth-like sounds. Some slide guitar as well. It kicks in hard after 2 minutes which lasts until the 3 minute mark. It's okay. "Walking By A Wire" features some melancholic sounds that I really like. The heaviness comes and goes as themes are repeated. Good song. "Complicity" is just outside my top five. I especially like the more laid back sections with the drums, bass and depth. Pounding drums and grinding guitars stand out during the heavy sections.

"Evidence" is one of my favourites, in fact a top five. It all works for me including the lyrics and mood. Again the heavy and relaxed sections are contrasted. "Omerta" is a feel good track where the vocals and strummed guitar shine. A top five. "Inside The City Of Glass" is the closing instrumental and part of the title "city of glass" is mentioned in the lyrics of the first track called "Ghost Of The Sun". How abut the mellotron-like sounds during the atmospheric sections and the grinding guitars on the heavy passages. A great way to end it and possibly my favourite tune on here and yes a top five.

I'd rate "Discouraged Ones" and "Last Fair Deal Gone Down" ahead of this one up to this point in their careers. I'm looking forward to giving my thoughts on the albums to follow. 4 stars!

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars "Viva Emptiness" is the 6th full-length studio album by Swedish alternative/doom/progressive rock/metal act Katatonia. The album was released through Peaceville Records in April 2003. Itīs the successor to "Last Fair Deal Gone Down" from 2001 and features the same five-piece lineup who recorded the predecessor. It was the first time in Katatoniaīs history (up until then) that they had the same lineup on two consecutive album releases. 15 tracks were written and recorded during the sessions, and 13 tracks made the album. "Wait Outside" did not appear on the original version of the album, but appears on later reissues, and was first made available on the 2005 "The Black Sessions" compilation album. "Consternation", which ended up being re-recorded and released on "The Great Cold Distance (2006)", didnīt make the cut for "Viva Emptiness" either.

The 13 tracks which did make the cut for the album, are a very interesting and quite different listen from the material on "Last Fair Deal Gone Down (2001)". While the band did come into their own on the predecessor they werenīt completely done developing their sound, and while "Viva Emptiness" overall continues the alternative rock/metal style with a melancholic atmosphere of "Last Fair Deal Gone Down (2001)", itīs generally a darker, heavier, and more gritty release. Keyboards have a more central place in the soundscape along with heavy guitars, powerful drumming, and Jonas Renkseīs soft voice and melancholic lyrics and delivery. The music is very dynamic though and the band still perfectly master the contrasts of light/dark and heavy/mellow.

"Viva Emptiness" opens with the strong trio of tracks "Ghost of the Sun", "Sleeper", and "Criminals" and the high quality generally continues on the remaining tracks of the album (a few tracks are slightly sup par to the best material on the album, but itīs a minor issue). Other highlights include "Burn the Remembrance", "Evidence", and the beautiful melancholic "Omerta". The instrumental "Inside the City of Glass" closes the album on a highly atmospheric note, and it appears a bit strange to me, that the band would chose to add vocals/lyrics to that particular track (which is perfect as it is) on the 10th anniversary version of the album. Truth be told I havenīt heard the version with vocals yet though, so it may be great, and Iīm just complaining because Iīm a grumpy old man...

"Viva Emptiness" features a dark, gritty, and relatively raw sounding production, although everything is audible in the mix. Itīs just compared to the last couple of releases, the volume has definitely been dialed to 11 and sometimes the loud distorted parts are pretty noisy. Personally I enjoy the heaviness of the sound and the attitude Katatonia display on "Viva Emptiness", but itīs a bit less subtle than what is generally heard on the direct predecessor. "Viva Emptiness" marks the end of what I consider the mark II era of Katatonia, as they would change their sound again on "The Great Cold Distance (2006)". In that respect "Viva Emptiness" is a playful transition release, which shows Katatonia toying with time signatures, new timbres and dynamics, keyboards/synths/programming, and overall adventurous songwriting. This is anything but formulaic and itīs one of the more demanding, intriguing, and eclectic releases in the bandīs discography. To my ears itīs their magnum opus. A 5 star (100%) rating is deserved.

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives)

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