I’m super fucking excited to see Katatonia tomorrow night in Denver so I thought I’d take the opportunity to delve into a Katatonia album I’ve not heard before: Viva Emptiness.
In the history of Katatonia you’d be hard pressed to find an album that is their stand out classic. That’s not a condemnation of their music, it’s a compliment as the band puts out nothing but quality releases with each new album. Sure, the first two albums are generally held up as classics of the early death/doom sound (and since they later were signed to Peaceville, should probably still have been part of the “Peaceville Three”) their catalog is so solid you cannot find a clunker in the bunch. I’d not even heard this album until today and I knew that it would be good. It’s Katatonia. They don’t make band music.
Now sure, they’ve changed their sound over the years and continue to change it with each release. They’re now closer to dark rock, or post rock than where they started or even on this album. Viva Emptiness is firmly in their more depressive, post, progressive style that holds more in common with their current sound, but it’s a heavier album from their discography. Like a perfect middle ground. The guitars are still heavy and there’s some moments that are damn close to death metal. Maybe you like your Katatonia heavier, then airier. If so this one is for you. like I stated above, I don’t think this band has ever taken a misstep and while it’s getting hard to classify them as a metal band anymore, this one is still fully metal, but with all the emotional quality and impact Katatonia is known to deliver.