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I honestly did not like Viva Emptiness before i heard this album. It took me a while to listen to The Great Cold Distance, because I didn't think there was anything left to get from this band. Viva Emptiness was a just too abrupt and chaotic I felt. I tried to like the album and took it out several times the last years...but I only found a couple of good songs.
When a friend managed to make me listen to TGCD I was shocked that I could have been so wrong about the band (although it took me at least 5 thorough listens before I actually liked it). Songs like Leaders, My Twin, July, In The White, Deliberation etc just sound too good to be true. Leaders may be one o f the best metal songs I've ever heard. The bass and drum work in particular with a fantastic production makes this album just shine.
The weird thing is that it also made a bridge over to the previous album Viva Emptiness. Suddenly the album just worked...it's like TGCD translated the art expression for me (say cheese!;) . The funny thing is also that I've heard others say the exact same thing.
Katatonia actually is one band that makes music into true art, whatever that is...but it feel very right to say so. They are one of the truly unique bands within the dark metal genre. Their short brutal yet beautiful and sometimes groovy expression can't be found anywhere else. Most bands stagnate nowadays or go back to their roots, Katatonia are treading their own path and it's wonderful to follow.
I have only one problem with this album and it's the album artwork. Katatonia have had time after time the best album covers I've seen more or less, but this album just reminds me of a typical cover I've seen a hundred times before. Sad, but heck, it's not really that important. Hope their next album will be a mix between the best of TGCD and VE...or something completely new and equally brilliant.