I don’t think Katatonia’s previous albums are masterworks, but I think this one is. I believe Viva Emptiness consolidates the maturity of their style; a style that evolved after they switched the old vocals for clean ones. In the transition albums, the music was more predictable and the vocals were overly timid. This album shows that Katatonia has grown comfortable in their style, not overdoing the songs, keeping a perfect balance of eclecticism, elegance and aggression, and, finally, singing with conviction.
This is a review that comes years after the release of the album. I believe The Great Cold Distance is equally good to Viva Emptiness if not better. I have not yet made up my mind on Night is the New Day.