Dark'n'heavy gem from Swedish gloom merchants

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Katatonia – Viva Emptiness

Spiritual sons of New York’s Life Of Agony and forgotten emocore heroes Fireside, Sweden’s Katatonia combine Sabbath’s cosmic melancholy, Korn’s festering guitars and Jim Steinman’s flair for the melodramatic to forge an impressively doomy, reproachful metal of their own.

Riffs like those of “A Premonition” and “Wealth” don’t so much attack as shift and slide like molten lava over the surefooted rhythm section of Mattias Norrman (bass) and Daniel Liljekvist (drums). The earnestly gloomy lyrics occasionally raise a wry smile, but the tuneful delivery of vocalist/guitarist Jonas Renske is convincingly forlorn, rather like that of a small child trapped inside a pharaoh’s tomb.