Various Artists

Alaysa Kabataan, Dodong Cruz & Friends

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1997's Alay Sa Kabataan, Dodong Cruz & Friends (For the Youth, Dodong Cruz & Friends) compiles 24 songs recorded by different 18 rock bands. The star attraction is the talented Dodong Cruz, who contributed two songs and produced the entire set as well. The songs were recorded specifically for this album and cannot be found elsewhere. The other 17 rock bands are not widely known, if at all. In fact, a number of vocals on various songs sound suspiciously like Dodong Cruz himself, who has a distinctive low croon. It's possible he did more than produce this album, but only he and the record label, which is now defunct, know the answer to that. Regardless, the music is mostly of a high quality. The album starts on Dodong Cruz's "Alay Sa Kabataan" (For the Youth), which features his incisive, penetrating vocals and an alluring chord progression played on reverb-tinged, 12-string guitar. Another highlight is "Babae Sa Dilim" (Girl in the Dark), listed as recorded by Clio, which floats atop a rollicking chord progression tinged by an almost campy, 1950's-styled ambience. "Claustrophobia," listed as recorded by Grape Gum, features a delightful new wave tone and contains a strong, stinging guitar solo. Many tracks on the album contain strong, fiery guitar solos (it should be pointed out that Dodong Cruz is also an excellent guitarist). Although some songs are superfluous, including "Virginity," "Kaibigan" (Friend), and "The Final Hour," overall the album is a worthy effort.