Kristoffer Gildenlöw - 'Rust'

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Kristoffer Gildenlöw - 'Rust'

Listen and let 'Rust' surround you in its beauty.

Since leaving the progressive metal beast Pain Of Salvation some seven years ago, Swedish multi-instrumentalist Kristoffer Gildenlöw has been undertaking session and touring duties with the likes of ex-Spock's Beard mainman Neal Morse, among others.

It's patently clear listening to 'Rust', his debut solo album, that this time "away" from the music limelight has been used to a remarkably strong effect. Primarily the bassist in PoS, it would have been easy for Gildenlöw to write a pounding metal album notable for its exceptional rhythm section. Drawing on past glories, it was a path so easy to follow. This notion, however, was ripped up before it gained any traction.

What Gildenlöw has created is almost impossible to define. Part progressive rock, part pop, part trip hop, part accapella, part acoustic – it's an exquisite mixture of stunning vocals and carefully constructed stripped-down layers. Most certainly not to everyone's taste, and fans of his previous work should approach with caution, but you cannot ignore the results.

The outrageously beautiful opening track 'Callout' sets the pace with its bare drums and striking vocals – at times mid-tempo, at others snail like – and from here on in it's almost impossible to tear yourself away. The haunting piano-led 'Desire' could almost be from Tool's repertoire such is the melancholia surrounding it. 'Save My Soul' is a desperately poignant and dark vocal showcase over another simple piano lead. The guitars are few and far between, but when called upon deliver perfectly timed release.

The closing double of 'Story Ends' and 'Living Soil' envelope you in simple melodic lines and Gildenlöw's pleading calls before leaving you, blinking and suddenly aware of your own breathing before joining the world again.

Forget about pigeonholing it: listen and let 'Rust' surround you in its beauty.

Dan Bond

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