Ruud Jolie, the well-known guitarist of Within Temptation, Damian Wilson Band, Agua De Annique and the project The Maiden United, finally released his first solo album under the name For All We Know. Jolie gathered a band to perform the music he has been writing for the last couple of years. Being a guitarist, the obvious thing to do is recording an instrumental album showing ones technical skills. However, being a modest man as well Jolie wanted to stress on the compositions, on real songs played by great musicians. This album contains plenty of great guitar playing, but the main focus is on the great variety in the songs.
After listening to the eponymous album without checking the information on the internet or the CD-booklet, I thought I noticed a number of different guest vocalists. And indeed, Damian Wilson (Threshold, Landmarq), Daniel Gildenl÷w (Pain Of Salvation) and Sharon Den Adel (Within Temptation) are just a few names of guest singers. So it seemed that I was right, however...all these well-known names participate only on the two-minute canon Keep Breathing, so who's the vocalist on the other songs then? Well, his name is Wudstik and searching a bit deeper, it appears to be Jermain van der Bogt, originally a rapper! Jolie met him during the recordings for the Ayreon-album 01011001. I think Wudstik is one of the unexpected highlights of this album. He has such a different approach to each individual song that you get the idea that you're listening to several vocalists! Wudstik turns out to be a great singer who uses his voice to match the specific atmosphere of a song: from the almost alternative sounding vocals in When Angels Refuse To Fly - which by the way has a fantastic combination of heavy guitar and a mellow section - to the highly sensitive ballad Out Of Reach! Beside Wudstik, the band consist of bass player Kristoffer Gildenl÷w (ex-Pain Of Salvation), Leo Margarit (Pain Of Salvation) and the two keyboard players Thijs Schrijnemakers and Marco Kuypers.
On Busy Being Somebody Else we hear a nice guitar solo played by guest musician Richie Faulkner (Lauren Harris Band) forming a fine contrast with Jolie's style of playing. Another guest musician is John Wesley, who plays a guitar solo on I Lost Myself Today. I don't know whether it is Wesley's input that provides the song with a touch of Porcupine Tree, but it's all the same an outstanding track. Another highlight is Tired And Ashamed blending progressive rock and a kind of alternative rock music. In this piece the keyboards work perfectly with the vocals and the guitar. Violinist Camilla van der Kooij leads us into the final song Nothing More..., the last chance to get impressed by the wonderful voice of Wudstik.
For All We Know is an impressive album that truly shows the talents of Ruud Jolie and his ability to get the right musicians for the right songs. He delivered a fantastic progressive rock album with hints of alternative rock. I think people who like music in the vein of Porcupine Tree and Pain Of Salvation will be pleased by the debut album of For All We Know.
****+ Pedro Bekkers (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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