Review | For All We Know – By Design Or By Disaster

Construction Records

For All We Know is Ruud Jolie’s (Within Temptation) project displaying the guitarist’s creative abilities exploring the sonic boundaries. Following 2011’s self-titled debut, ‘Take Me Home’ already revealed his wide scope and keen ear. The new album `By Design Or By Disaster’ picks up where he left off in 2017, delving deeper than ever and yielding memorable music.

Unexpected from a ‘project’, For All We Know sees a stable line up of world class musicians introduced on the self-titled record. Maintaining his cooperation with charismatic Dutch vocalist Wudstik intensifies the band’s energetic thrive, benefitting the outcome. With bass player Kristoffer Gildenlöw (solo artist and former POS, Kayak a.o.) and drummer Léo Margarit (Pain of Salvation) the band’s music gets injected an insanely deep groove with rich progressive prowess, while both are also known for their great vocal interaction adding to the thriving harmonies present. Deepening the sonics is former Cloudmachine piano player Marco Kuypers bringing forward intense interaction with Jolie’s guitars and keys. The potion swirls and whirls constantly, touching a wide array of styles meandering into one fluid musical concoction that is highly recognizable.


The songs are all crafted around a lyrical theme of self-reflectance, retrogressing on choices building relationships throughout life. Not conceptual the music is weld onto the deeper impact of decision making and reflects intricate emotions. Breaking heavy ,,Forced to be Free” is a neo progressive discharge of power, larded with breaks and hooks, revering momentum. The rich orchestration is perfectly matching Wudstik’s charismatic vocal exercises with Jolie laying down impressive colorful guitar explorations. Jazzy licks atop brisk riffs and melodies, the song enrolls drama. Gildenlöw’s bass roars droning low while Margarit switches tempo. His double bass and floor dynamics touch with Phillips’ floor work. The song touches the progressive palate of Kansas (Livgren era) while the neo classical elements slowly vaporize into the colorful heavy’d up King Crimson structures of the song. Gems like this reveal Ruud’s impressive skills creating magic.

Songs like the Hammond pumped and riff driven ,,The Future that Came too Soon”, ,,Remind Me to Forget You” with its wailing guitar -synth interaction and Wudstik’s soothing vocal works, and the Floydian subtle ,,Ghost of Summer’s Past” all pack insane musical interaction and hybrid progressive pieces stoked with momentum. The guitar and vocal melodies injected are constantly nesting, shifting shape and morphing conform its lyrical content. Meandering into geared back brisk and glorious moments, all song’s are captivating in beauty and emotional offload.


This rich tapestry spits flames on ,,Lifeline” with its insane tribal drum dynamics. Modern synths and angelic chants briefly bring an epic tone, with the song’s chorus scaling up to pop before jagged riff salvos weld onto the drum dynamics pitch higher. Piano strokes in the whirling prog turmoil increase its discourse with Wudstik belting his most melodic vocals. His versatility is impressive. Especially when he delves into his most emotive and withering range, like on the wonderful ,,This Hell We Know”, with its meandering melodies and rattling drums amid the synthetic synth fabric. Powering up on guitar and keys, the song blossoms frequently and Kuypers’ piano is exquisite.


,,Guide Me in Getting Lost” fires on different cylinders, without straying from the elemental appeal of the project. Its vocal diversity is strikingly beautiful, while the atmospheric musical carvings set tone in melancholy and agony, without revering from its frail call to action as Wudstik rouses loud. This rollercoaster of emotions is well captured in the overall pour of the record with energy emitted.

Emitting energy the meandering ,,All We did was Hide” is cinematic and captivating, with Wudstik in oozing tone. Drums scaled back in the mix, more focused on its subtlety, add to the low echoing bass and wailing guitar melody pulling forward in ebbing pitches. The vocal interaction is timid but starts to build as the song intensifies briefly. Followed by the short semi-instrumental ,,Hush” with its plaintive stirring vocals, the track carves a different structure, reverting in the opening of ,,Flaws” that explodes unexpectedly with scatting raw bass growls and roaring guitars.

The dismay radiated is matched by Wudstik’s deep vocals, and the song starts to build with insane melodic vocal harmonies before delving deep into the chorus. Drums rolls with stagnant breaks and narrative vocals take over when the insane basslines of Kris take the helm. Alternating melodies and heaviness the song leans strongly on its mood variances and emotions. There’s a commercial prog hinge making the (vocal) harmonies rotate with high density, adding to the symphonic momentum.


When Jolie goes this deep, he cooks up cinematic and memorable tracks, rich in structure, discharging intricate hooks and breaks, high on insanely melodic appeal. ,,Guide Me in getting Lost” accumulates all of the previous ingredients, fused onto the musical mood swings of tracks. Much like summarizing the captivating reflections of futures gone past, wandering blindfolded in the field of emotions, the agonizing desolation grips. Keys are gloomy, riffs toned low with the bass in fine alignment. Drums are downright powerful, and the groove is tremendous, amassing the desolation brought forward by Wudstik’s empathizing lyrical toil.

Everything builds towards the finale ,,Goodbye” with its swirling piano and keys and low resonating bass. Epic in its pretentions, the song packs a serenity of reverting shadows raising the melancholic pattern, laureled by the wonderful guitar-solo and melodies. Drums subtle, the song breathes glorious momentum, making the album go out on a positive high.


‘By Design or By Disaster’ is an album covering life cycles and self-discovery by self-reflectance. Captured in oozing emotional ebbing, the songs are all perfectly rounded progressive tracks, held together by top shelf marksmanship, carrying across the blisses of emotion, with Wudstik displaying his most versatile of ranges. He embodies the emotional journey like none other and manages to inject the right amount of dismay and agony, melancholy and stride.

The cover art topping off the release is astounding, fusing the band’s previous releases with its art, while also capturing the visuals of the presented music. This album is a grower, and most certainly one to play with headphones, making you part of the journey.

The album also comes in 2LP vinyl release, adding even more luster to the presentation. The strictly limited in blueberry or strawberry pastel colored vinyl is in line with the album’s art. On top Jolie and his team have also made available the band’s previous records on vinyl. Colorful adding to the record’s artwork the debut is released on marbled gold with ‘Take Me Home’ released in deep red marbled color.

Release date: 22 March 2024



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