Katatonia – Viva Emptiness ~ Me Myself And My Music

Imagine yourself in an environment where colours have been banned. The entire world is just monochrome – black, white and different shades of grey.
Imagine dark clouds at the sky and rain is pouring down on you.
Imagine you are walking on a deserted little path. You feel alone. You feel left out.

Album facts:

  • Release: April 2003
  • Tracks:
    • 1. Ghost of the Sun
    • 2. Sleeper
    • 3. Criminals
    • 4. A Premonition
    • 5. Will I Arrive
    • 6. Burn the Remembrance
    • 7. Wealth
    • 8. One Year from Now
    • 9. Walking by a Wire
    • 10. Complicity
    • 11. Evidence
    • 12. Omerta
    • 13. Inside the City of Glass (instrumental)

This above described image depicts the feeling I get when I either see the cover of the album Viva Emptiness or listen to it.

Such a strong feeling arising solely from listening to music can only be created by a very good metal band.

Katatonia is a Swedish band that underwent several changes in their music genre. They have started in the year 1991 with a rather “extreme” metal style, went through a gothic-metal and doom-metal phase and the album Viva Emptiness, released in 2003, is more on the rock side of music but with a very strong influence of melodic doom metal. It contains also some parts of progressive rock, which probably is the reason why I, as a not genuine metal listener, enjoy this album very much.

Ghost of the Sun is a really “opening rocker”, although it has some softer parts, it belongs to the more rocking tracks. It is, on the one hand, fervid due to the fast beat and energetic guitars but, on the other hand, it is still crestfallen, depressing and moody. This feeling actually sums up in a way the entire album. The songs are always like a battle of powerful guitar melodies, aggressive lyrics and doleful vocals combined with downcasted tunes. Like Ghost of the Sun, the second track on the album Sleeper shows this battle very clearly as well. Both songs are quite similar, as they also have harsh and rough lyrics.

I trusted you, you lied
It’s all I hear a fucking lie
Don’t give a shit it’s over now
It’s all I know you broke the vow
[Ghost of the Sun]

Oh my, fever’s high
I laid my hands upon you
Oh my, haven’t you heard
The truth is untrue
[Sleeper]

These songs have, among others, the theme betrayal and this issue is present in almost every other track.

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My absolute favourite song from this album is Evidence. I really enjoy the soft and calm beginning. It starts with a rather slow rhythm until after one minute into the song. There the song gets really powerful and energetic, but only for a few seconds before it gets calm and steady again. Something which creates a very special atmosphere is that the voice of the singer is solid and confident although, the lyrics, if you listen carefully to them, are very upsetting and to the utmost disturbing.

I hold my breath and check the time
One minute no collapse
If you only knew what I would do for you
….
Be still for a moment
Everything depends upon you
If you die I will die too

Probably somebody who enjoys rock more than metal will eventually like this song as it has no obvious metal parts in it, except the lyrics which indicate doom-metal.

Omerta is a track on this album which is very similar to Evidence, but it even has in some parts an uplifting melody which obviously is a bit unusual. Only the ending of the song gives away the hint of being a doom-metal band. And I bet that this very abrupt ending will scare you a little bit – it does startle me every time I listen to it.

This album is great to listen in those times when the weather is miserable, cold and unwelcome. The gloomy atmosphere, the perturbing lyrics and the sometimes whining vocals will definitely ensure for a chill.

If you enjoy this kind of music, than Katatonia is the perfect band for you. The tracks have certain themes – sadness, failure, betrayal, hate – which you will find in every song but as the titles have a good variation, playing it repetitively, will not get boring at all.
Listening to this album will take you into a world where love, gratitude and happiness have no space.

My rating: 10/10

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