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Kristoffer Gildenlöw picture
Kristoffer Gildenlöw biography
Kristoffer GILDENLÖW is best known at ProgArchives as the bassist for PAIN OF SALVATION from 1995 until 2006. Upon leaving that band, he moved to the Netherlands, and began working on his first solo album. During that time he also toured with artists such as Lana LANE, Neal MORSE, Damian WILSON, as well as his own project DIAL (with Liselotte HEGT and Rommert van der MEER).

His first album, Rust was released on vinyl in 2012, and CD in 2013. It featured performances by musicians that had worked with PAIN OF SALVATION, Neal MORSE, AYREON, and others. His second album, The Rain, was released in 2016.

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KRISTOFFER GILDENLÖW top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.97 | 30 ratings
3.77 | 111 ratings
The Rain
3.65 | 20 ratings
3.92 | 31 ratings
Let Me Be a Ghost

KRISTOFFER GILDENLÖW Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)


KRISTOFFER GILDENLÖW Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

KRISTOFFER GILDENLÖW Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.50 | 2 ratings
Pass the Torch


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Homebound by GILDENLÖW, KRISTOFFER album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.65 | 20 ratings

Kristoffer Gildenlöw Crossover Prog

Review by Gallifrey

3 stars Listening diary 19th March, 2021: Kristoffer Gildenl'w - Homebound (acoustic rock, 2020)

It's not much, but I did find myself enjoying this album a bit. The only real connections here to Kristoffer's former band are some moments where he sounds a bit like his brother on vocals, but otherwise it's a nice, pastoral acoustic folk rock album, with even touches of country and the artier side of rock music. There's nothing to write home about, but given acoustic records from established names in heavier music are often quite uninspired, I'm impressed at how well he manages to sound like a native playing folk music.

5.9 (1st listen)

Part of my listening diary from my facebook music blog -

 Let Me Be a Ghost by GILDENLÖW, KRISTOFFER album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.92 | 31 ratings

Let Me Be a Ghost
Kristoffer Gildenlöw Crossover Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Deep Dive into the Dark Night of the Soul

PAIN OF SALVATION founder and leader is back with another solo release--this reaching really deep into his psyche.

1. "Let Me Be a Ghost - Pt. I" (3:39) spacious, tension-filled computer arpeggi over which Daniel sings in a plaintive voice--a voice that sounds as if he's at wit's end. The final minute is filled with what sounds like cave sounds and whisperings. Wow. What are we in for? (9/10)

2. "The Wind" (4:46) piano arpeggi joined by slower electric piano arpeggi. Daniel's voice joins in at 0:45--and then is seconded by himself before being joined by the ethereal, ghost-like voices of Ronja Gildenlöw and some computer-treated vocal tracks. Back to bare-bones piano and elec. piano at the end of the third minute for about 20 seconds before a full rock band and the full vocal ensemble kick in--sounding quite a lot like RESONAXIS's church-oriented prog. (8.5/10)

3. "Blame It All on Me" (4:57) sound very much like a classic LEONARD COHEN song--even down to the smokey café/lounge vocals and acoustic guitar. Part of me wants to laugh, part wants to take it like a Jacques Brel video from the 1975 film, Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris, only this is depressing. Daniel has done an admirable job catching a mood--a "period piece"--obviously intended to express the great mood of sarcasm of those European coffeehouse-style singers of the 50s and 60s. (8.5/10)

4. "Falling Floating Sinking" (5:02) opens with some ambient eerie electronica similar to those used by Mariusz Duda on his LUNATIC SOUL albums. When the vocal finally begins--deep into the second minute--it also sounds similar to a Mariusz--even into the chorus. At 3:28 the precarious quiet is broken wide open by some abrasive full-rock band chord play (with a bit of a Led Zeppelin feel to it), but everything calms back down for the final 25 seconds. (8.5/10)

5. "Fleeting Thought" (4:27) opens with some very familiar guitar chords/sounds from some of Daniel's classic Pain of Salvation albums of the early 21st Century. The multi-voice vocal development is also a bit reminiscent of some of those PoS songs. The bluesy chord progression and lead guitar play are, again, quite similar to 1970s LED ZEPPELIN (until Marcel Singor begins showing his modern prowess). Other than that, there is really very little development in this song. I don't like the sound effects used to create space on this one. (8.75/10)

6. "Fade Away" (5:31) Spanish guitar opens with electric and tuned percussion before another Leonard Cohen-like vocal enters. After the vocals finish around 1:30, a bluesy guitar solo ensues. There's quite a little PINK FLOYD The Wall feeling to this one. Nice tune. (8.75/10)

7. "Don't" (2:55) nylon string acoustic guitar picked and strummed over which Daniel sings in another raspy, whispery LEONARD COHEN/TOM WAITS-like performance. I really like the guitar sound and work here. I'm not sure this vocal styling has quite the effect that Daniel intends--whether or not his attempt to display his "Latin passion" is believable. Still, nice song. (8.75/10)

8. "Lean on Me" (5:09) Now here is something that sounds original! A little attempt at a Layne Staley vocal over some pizzicato-sounding solo bass picking. Nice vocal performances on the background vocal tracks by Daniel and Erna auf der Haar. A top three song for me. (9/10)

9. "Let Me Be a Ghost - Pt. II (3:43) cool instrumental that is atmospherics for the first half followed by piano arpeggi with heavy (and, later, light) electric guitar soloing over the top. Nice. (8.75/10)

10. "Still Enough" (5:16) electric piano MIDIed with tuned percussion lays down a poignant, almost eery child's lullaby over which Daniel eventually adds his deeply emotional whisper-vocal. Can a human bare his soul any more than this? Another top three song. Wow; devastatingly powerful. (9.25/10)

11. "Where I Ought to Be" (5:13) Spanish guitar and spacious background synth washes support Kristoffer's multi-track Mariusz Duda-like singing. There is, however, far more time dedicated to instrumental play here than singing; the singing just sets the scene for Kristoffer's emotion-packed expression through his multiple guitar and keyboard play. Drums join in for the final 90 seconds. Great song. Musically, probably my favorite on the album. (9.5/10)

12. "Let Me Be a Ghost - Pt. III" (3:31) the third revisitation to this plea for letting go. The spacious opening two minutes are affecting, but the full-band ramp up is really powerful. Another favorite. (9.25/10)

13. "Look at Me Now" (4:02) celestial sounds slowly moving through the soundscape, like clouds, for the first 1:25 before Kristoffer's scratchy, far-forward voice enters singing like with the poignancy and force of Leonard Cohen. (9/10)

Total Time 58:11

And incredibly deep, emotive, and stark journey into the dark night of the soul. Kristoffer's musical journey that Kristoffer takes me on reminds me of listening to cross between Leonard Cohen's deeper darkest music and Mariusz Duda's LUNATIC SOUL. The compositional and personal maturity exhibited here is extraordinary--with minimal layering or fills, a lot of stark arrangements with more tracks given to vocals than instrumentation--thus rendering greater the effectiveness on the listener's journey into darkness as despair.

B+/4.5 stars; a wonderfully emotional trip into the depths of human darkness that should be a welcome addition to any prog lover's music collection.

 Let Me Be a Ghost by GILDENLÖW, KRISTOFFER album cover Studio Album, 2021
3.92 | 31 ratings

Let Me Be a Ghost
Kristoffer Gildenlöw Crossover Prog

Review by alainPP

5 stars KRISTOFFER GILDENLÖW, known with 'The Rain' and his cold, morbid, melancholy sensibility. He is known as the bassist of PAIN OF SALVATION, musician of DIAL and finally of KAYAK. He is a multi-instrumentalist who allows himself to send you with this 4th opus in cold universes where art-rock is king; psyche, dark crossover, indie pop, avant-garde and retro folk, all mixed up to make one think of SOLSTAFIR, JAPAN, Roger WATERS, BLACKFIELD and especially Leonard COHEN. Dark, melancholic atmospheres, filled with hope and musical freshness. An intimate record to listen to at nightfall to wash away the current sinister global atmosphere.

"Let Me Be a Ghost Pt. I" start soft, cold, deep, icy, minimalist; the dark, slow voice of Kristoffer. Dark whispers then a captivating intimate final climb to freeze you. "The Wind" on icy piano keys, vocal chord with Ronja to give warmth to this melancholy monolithic track up to the joyful drums-guitar sound explosion, the spleen seems to freeze the atmosphere and this piano which leaves in ether at the end! "Blame It All on Me" on an acoustic guitar basis, reminding me of his last album where I spoke of the late Leonard COHEN whose aura seems to me to hover here; a characteristic phrasing that allows you to dive into a melancholy rhyme of great beauty, an austere instrumental finale to finish.

"Falling, Floating, Sinking" and this startling spleen intro; icy but delicate, dark but filled with hope; Kristoffer uses his voice as an additional plaintive instrument to give more intensity to this morose title; the second hard part, heavy, unhealthy, refers to the shameful pleasure of associating the slowness of doom with progressive sidereal beauty; immense dreamlike title with its tribal percussion. "Fleeting Thought" with a crystalline riff giving in the wanderings of the PAIN OF SALVATION, search for simple and brutal emotion; a waltzing tune between the voice and the banjo guitar which also recalls ANATHEMA; plaintive, emotional, musical abyss with a high-end guitar solo by Marcel de KAYAK; title on mental distress magnified, enlivened; final in decrescendo as if to bring you to your senses and not to get lost.

"Fade Away" with a new shade of COHEN, a title where the voice is magnified by the basic guitar, or vice versa; it is vibrant, sumptuous, always bordering on imposing and important distress; keyboard tempo and voice. Here, I really have the impression of hearing a meow, keep the air on a cheerful note; almost paradoxical vis-ŕ-vis the start, final which stretches again with some divine piano notes. "Don't" and its acoustic guitar, a title flayed as an extension, a surprising dark Andalusian atmosphere, background backing vocals and applause from the hands!

"Lean on Me" on a sound reminiscent of COHEN, ANATHEMA and PAIN OF SALVATION before exploding, a dark title that fills the air; warm choirs with the voice of Erna capsize you; Kristoffer uses his voice intensely, accompanied by an aerial guitar. "Let Me Be a Ghost Pt. II" for the vibrant instrumental remake, where the atmosphere refers for a time to the notes of 'The Wall', then the piano, a distant rolling reminiscent of an intro of TANGERINE DREAM, the guitar adds pleasant melancholy to capsize our senses; it's beautiful and dark, almost unreal. "Still Enough" for the most basic and moving title can be, voice scratched on an air of languid funeral march; the spleen is at this price, be careful remember to take a box of tissues.

"Where I Ought to Be" and the rising acoustic guitar, go the spaghetti western is not far; folk, country, emotionality, musical invitation to travel beyond borders, the most cheerful monolithic title. "Let Me Be a Ghost Pt. III" heady cover, softer here, as if to rest from this long journey; sudden atmosphere of the end of the world, it cracks, the piano, the guitar rather remind me of this brightening of the renewal of the World, the ANATHEMAs will love if they go through it, it's intense and torrid at the same time. "Look at Me Now" final lament, serenity, ethereal atmosphere of beauty, a little WATERS in the background, sometimes it does not take much to have the best!

Kristoffer therefore sends us to austere and luxuriant lands, dark, icy and filled with emotion; he does not content himself with spitting notes, he throws them in your face so that you breathe them and that they are incorporated into your gray substance; the minimalist side makes you think even more and participate in this musical maelstrom in which you will not return safe; an album bordering on concept for the musical darkness generated, an intimate and magnificent opus to listen to with headphones, strong on the system. To listen imperatively. Each listening may amaze you. Personally, it is even better than its predecessor and the rating may be higher for you depending on your current condition.

 Homebound by GILDENLÖW, KRISTOFFER album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.65 | 20 ratings

Kristoffer Gildenlöw Crossover Prog

Review by alainPP

4 stars KRISTOFFER GILDENLÖW is a Swedish artist best known as a bassist in PAIN OF SALVATION, he is also a musician who worked within KAYAK and especially on his DIAL project in which he explored atmospheric sounds. He's releasing his 3rd personal album here and reminds me a lot of the RIVERSIDE front-man side- project on LUNATIC SOUL, which is to say a much more ambient band than he can do with the original band. Here, pure emotion, you can also think a little bit about CARPTREE, David GILMOUR, Jeff BUCKLEY and Leonard COHEN for a cover. An initiatory, progressive and sophisticated journey where melancholy can reveal cold beauty on an acoustic variation, masterfully completed by warm synths.

"Eternal" with Anne BAKKER on violin and Maaike PETERSE on cello for a soft, ethereal and ambient intro, introspective (well I put it on loop ten times before continuing already!), Like a solemn hymn in front of a field of battle, just the perfect piece to announce "Holy Ground" in chains and with a haunting theme, melancholy limit all on a repetitive acoustic guitar base; my feelings share on the intimate melodies of ANATHEMA 2nd version, on the titles of Jeff BUCKLEY, on the melodic and acoustic escapades of the great PAIN OF SALVATION; moment of serenity, introspection, intimate journey. In fact, this album will be on the same line with a few variations. "Like Father, Like Son" acoustic composition which increases in power in terms of voice and instrumentation over the listening, unstoppable melody that reminds me a little of what KWOON, this small group from Ile-de-France also did not exist. that long; Paul's guitar solo is just divine, too much guitar kills the guitar but a little guitar glorifies it. "Infected" with a very strong track that reminds me of ASIA's "Aqua" intro with Steve HOWE and his legendary guitar; good a reminder on confused and foggy memories but a moving reminder; a piece where each instrument has its place, Ola on brass and Kristoffer on mandolin are overwhelming as Dirk and Jeroen send the percussions back to each other. "Snow" already announces the middle of the album, yes the titles are very short despite the emotion they give off; here a soaring, ethereal and cottony atmosphere which sends me back to the best ANATHEMA just for the crystalline and repetitive synth, to NO-MAN or to PAIN OF SALVATION in acoustics, be careful, in my opinion, the most beautiful piece is the most beautiful piece, the notes fall like snowflakes, we don't know how long the title lasts, maybe 20 minutes!

"Our Home" continues in the same niche, don't expect any musical development within each track, the track itself is one: again reminiscences of KWOON and PINK FLOYD or a bit of the BLACKFIELD, a still very beautiful moment just with a melody that comes out of nowhere all enhanced here by the voice of Erna. "I Cried Today" on a captivating title and chorus, the beautiful part of Maaike's cello just before one of the rare phonic explosions followed by a final with backing vocals; it's the oxymoron that I love, soft and strong, the arpeggios are overwhelmingly simple; to note the calm voice of Kristoffer which can make shudder as loud as that of his brother. "Chelsea Hotel # 2" from whom you know for a cover so sensitive, so emotional, so sensitive which reminds us that we are indeed on a ground that the late Leonard COHEN would surely have been happy to hear, well I think so, to hear his meeting with the other great diva of the voice that was Janis JOPLIN. "You Need No Stay (Away)" concludes the album with a voice and piano duo, a simple title again but with a different melody which provides a melancholy enjoyable moment. Well, a bonus track "Never Changed" extends the atmosphere with an air that reminds me of "Une Fille Aux Yeux Clairs" by Michel SARDOU, known locally; be careful, I'm talking about a fleeting memory of one or two notes but this is strong enough for me to state it; good here Kristoffer uses his voice in phrasing, a bit like in the musical wanderings of Roger WATERS.

That's it, it's over! What can we say except that it was beautiful, intimate, dark, filled with nostalgia, that the tracks were all bathed in a musical atmosphere overflowing with spleen. What if this album is not progressive but bathed in post-progressive sounds? What if it is not that these small tracks are linked over the listening to deliver a delicate restful soundscape, if each piece takes so far without having to play on an exuberant technique? A word comes back to me at this moment nudity or music stripped bare.

To finish, an album without big flights, without big pieces but an album just and simply perfect. An album that is also difficult to rate because everything is just perfect but also just disarmingly simple.

 Homebound by GILDENLÖW, KRISTOFFER album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.65 | 20 ratings

Kristoffer Gildenlöw Crossover Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars I first came across Kristoffer Gildenlöw back in the Nineties when he was with his brother Daniel in Pain of Salvation. Since leaving that band he has been know for working in multiple others, including of course Kayak, as well as having a solo career. This album was originally destined to be an EP to keep fans going until 'Empty' came out, but it was decided there were so many songs available which worked together as a set that if some more material was recorded then here was another valid album. All the songs also have videos, so this has been made available as a CD/DVD set, but what I have is the release as part of the True Music Guide series. For those who have yet to come across these wonderful sets, they include the CD and a large booklet which contains an interview with the artist, lots of background information, photos etc and are a real delight. The album was originally released by Kristoffer on his own New Joke Label on April 18th, and I am somewhat surprised not to have come across more reviews.

Although Gildenlöw will often be thought of as being a progressive rock artist due to his musical history, this is a very different album indeed which has far more in common with acoustic rock and folk. The most important instrument on the album is undoubtedly acoustic guitars, and it is the use of these which provides the platform for his emotional and often dark-sounding vocals. One of the most interesting songs on the album, which fits in perfectly with his own material, is a cover version of Leonard Cohen's "Chelsea Hotel #2" which was originally released on his 1974 album 'New Skin for the Old Ceremony'. That Gildenlöw feels so perfectly at home with this song, and it does not sound at all out of place, is a good exemplar for the rest of the album. Acoustic guitar, delicate bass, organ and his vocals, the song needs nothing else adding to it, as he treats it with reverence and respect.

The album often feels as if he is in a darkened room, sat on a stool with his eyes closed, with everyone else in the background and just a single spotlight on him. This is strong and powerful music from a great songwriter and performer: just do not expect to hear loud guitars and driving riffs, as this is all about emotion and vocals. Wonderful.

 The Rain by GILDENLÖW, KRISTOFFER album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.77 | 111 ratings

The Rain
Kristoffer Gildenlöw Crossover Prog

Review by Angelo
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin

5 stars When I interviewed Kristoffer Gildenlöw last year, he told me that his debut album Rust was inspired by a dark period in his life. A period that he needed to come to terms with. His next album, the one I'm listening to for the umpteenth now, would be less dark he expected. To some extend he was right, but The Rain is far from party music. The concept album tells the story of a man fighting his oncoming dementia, giving in only shortly before dying. A theme that is all to common, in a world where we are still dealing with Alzheimer. From that perspective, giving some tracks of the album their first airplay during Rock against Dementia on March 19th of this year was a logical thing to do.therain

After the sounds of rain, the first violin notes of After the Rain Part II (Part I is on the 200 copies limited edition bonus EP) make clear that this album is full of emotion and melancholy. Kristoffer's voice carries the melancholy, which is joined by Paul Coenradie's equally emotional guitar to set the stage for the rest of the album.

On Holding On Pt. I Kristoffers voice is joined by that of violinist Anne Bakker, resulting in a duet full of questions and despair. The effect of the vocals, and the use of vocals as another instrument becomes even stronger on Seeking The Sun Pt. I, where a complete choir (Popkoor Zuilen) joins in with the other two voices to create an intricate and touching layering of melodies. This matches perfectly with the piano and guitar melodies in the instrumental The Sun Pt II. [acfw id=2]

The short piano (Fredrik Hermansson) and male vocal piece Worthy found me staring out the window into the dark of the night, 'waking up' to the slightly faster violin (and cello?) of Holding On Pt II. This leads up to the slow See it All, which starts with dark drums and then a piano to accompany Kristoffer's low voice, again joined by the choir - putting down the emotions of the dementing man wanting to see it all once more. The cello (Maaike Peters) and violin on Peripheral Memory, accompanied by a low guitar riff and almost haunting drums (by Gazpacho's Lars Erik Asp) lead to the soft, slow Breath In, Breath Out. Here, the man gives in, knowing the end is near. The piano and Kristoffer's voice give me shivers, reminding me of family members who died, no longrer aware of who they themselves and those around them were.

With The Evening, which starts small and ends big, and the acoustic It was me, the album works it's way into the haunting Drizzle. This song starts with a very low voice (Norman Ebecilio) and the sound of chains and cart wheels and develops into something that is not a blues but certainly has the feel of one. A very dark one that ends in the sound of rain.

The complicated melody of the instrumental second half of She is one of the highlights of the album for me - with a lead role for the alt violin. After this, three short tracks All for You, and The Funeral Pt I and II remain, reflecting the sad ending to a sad story - with the piano and the sound of rain and distant church bells ending the album.

An intricate composition, where lyrics, vocals melodies and instruments work together as an orchestra to convey a story. Production of the album is crystal clear, making all the layers of the music shine through. Highly recommended, but requires attentive listening.

This review is dedicated to my uncle Josef (Sjef) Hulshout, who recently went through the final stages of his earthly life - no longer aware of who he has been and how he has lived.

Also published on my blog

Thanks to evolver for the artist addition.

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