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Huldt, John: Rules Do Not Apply

Swedish born musician John Huldt has just come out with his first album Rules Do Not Apply and a good one it is. Before I talk about the music, first a little about the musician. As a teenager in Sweden Huldt played in a variety of black and thrash metal bands before leaning towards jazz, rhythm and blues and funk. Huldt moved to the US in 2006 when success did not come his way in Sweden and attended the L.A. Music Academy, which leads us to the new album.

Huldt lists Malmsteen, Van Halen and Bettencourt as influences and after listening to Rules Do Not Apply it would be hard to argue with that assessment. One could also add Steve Vai, Steve Morris, Al Di Meola and even blues players like Clapton to the list. Huldt is joined by Kal Drakopoulos on drums and Philip Bynoe on bass and fretless bass.

The music of Huldt is a combination of many styles including rock, metal, fusion, jazz, blues and even a touch of southern country. The musicianship displayed is second to none. The fabulous bass of Bynoe, very audible throughout, is outstanding and the drumming of Drakopoulos is also top notch. That being said it is Huldt's guitar work that is the main attraction. One of his strengths is his versatility, as he can play many different styles and does each exceptionally well. Whether delving in bluesy riffs or lightning fast shredding Huldt shows tremendous technique and skill. Better yet, he is able to squeeze emotion out of his instrument like all the best players seem to do. His virtuoso performance does not leave me cold as even his fastest leads never seem excessive or unsubstantial.

"Uncle Bob" is the album's first track and right from the start the band is in full force going from jazzy rhythms to metal riffage to a lilting reggae rhythm in just over three minutes. One might think that a song with so many different styles would sound choppy and disjointed but that is not the case as the transitions are smooth and well executed. Delicate jazzy guitar runs and heavy rock riffs punctuate the tasty fusion of "Someones Looking For Attention" and Huld't shredding guitar lines burn with intensity, just as they do through much of the album. "Run Like A Freak" is another treat for guitar lovers if you can imagine the theme from The Beverly Hillbillies on steroids meeting Gypsy folk music, or something to that effect. Huldt shows his passion for the blues in "The Beauty Of Simplicity" where I was reminded of the guitar bending of Clapton before entering a rock fest of fast tempos and chugging riffs and ending as it began, with a return to the blues. I could go on but I think I will stop there. Trust me, there are no weak songs here.

This is a very good album especially when you consider it is Huldt's first. His future seems bright indeed and if you fancy guitar instrumental music or any of the musicians mentioned you really should give Rules Do Not Apply a listen. You will be glad you did.

Track Listing:
1. Uncle Bob
2. Someones Looking For Attention
3. Run Like A Freak
4. Fly
5. Nebula
6. The Beauty Of Simplicity
7. Sticky Fingers
8. The Sleeping Beauty
9. The Strange Wonders Of Professor Boltzmanns Factory
10. Well This Aint Kansas

Added: April 12th 2010
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Artist's Official Site
Hits: 1741
Language: english

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