Katatonia - Viva Emptiness Review

Jump to: navigation, search
Katatonia - Viva Emptiness
Katatonia - Viva Emptiness


General Information

Original Author: Owen

Artist: Katatonia

Album: Viva Emptiness

Genre: Depressive Rock, Doom Metal


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


I cant really criticize the morbid tones on Katatonia's Viva Emptiness album for several reasons : - it is without a shadow of a doubt one of the most utterly depressing album's I think I have ever heard in my life, both musically and lyrically, it is also very well produced, the sound is utter perfection, its use of different effects and styles etc is not overworked and it is evident that great care has been in honing this album to the level of quality it deserves. This means, and I really don't like to admit something to have been dead on, but this album is exactly how it should have been done, I couldn't mention anything worth changing even if I were to exert my utmost levels of pedantry.


At times magnificently carved, the lyrics are very expressive of the author's feelings and state of emotion at the time of writing. Straight from the word go we are shown the author - Jonas Renkse' feelings of isolation and solitude.

The thin darkness here
Not strong enough to make you appear
I once changed my style
When they said hello I said goodbye
I once played a role
I was out there marketing my soul

He expresses here how his life has become so convoluted, how he had to pretend he was something he is indeed not and this sets the tone for the rest of the album. Occasionally, Renkse employs an entirely different medium to get his point across lyrically, using strong, powerful wording to express his anger:

I trusted you you lied
It's all I hear a fucking lie
I don't give a shit it's over now
It's all I know you broke the vow

This may look at first like a rant, but the way it is incorporated into the music is truly delicate, a clean sorrowful and rising vocal line saying something so aggressive in such an innocent fashion is a brilliant contrast and this is just the opening track.

Throughout the album Renkse drop's a chorus or a verse with a very simplistic rhyming style as shown by the chorus below:

Defy only if you have a way to resist the lies
Decline only if you have the intention of taking this advice
Apply only if you're not afraid to see your spirit die
Retreat only if you dare not hear yourself say goodbye

The simple repeating elegance and fluidity of the above shows the fact that making something so simple come across so well is indeed one of Renkse' trademarks and whilst his lyrics could well be misinterpreted due to abundance of metaphors and very little straight thoughts or great backbone they fit well with his vocal line.


As I've mentioned before this point Renkse does have a very soulful voice and it expresses his points beautifully, however after a series of prolonged listening some people may find his style very monotonous, this however should not take away from the fact that he fits as part of the music impeccably well and he never at any point overdoes or butchers a lyrical piece.

Guitar Work

Theres some lovely fingerpicking and riffing stuff thrown in there, but at times it becomes fairly unnoticeable amongst a tangle of effects and keyboard stuff, appears to drift along with the music and theres no soloing, which I think is fine as any such thing similar to one would completely ruin the ambiance that Katatonia's music holds. Not overstated but well thought out and no doubt more technical than it first appears.

Overall Impression

It's a musical style that may take a while to appreciate, I had to listen to it about 5 or so times before I realized how catchy this album was and how much of an impression it had made upon me, there are moments in amongst all the chaos of the multiple instruments where if you just sit down with a beer and have a listen it will make you feel so sad and pitiful, it really drives your emotional state to complete sorrow, whether you are prepared to listen to this sort of thing at the end of the day is down to you but fans of bands like Opeth should enjoy it immensely.

Recommended tracks for listening :
01. Ghost Of The Sun
04. A Premonition
05. Will I Arrive
09. Walking by a Wire
11. Evidence