Awit at Pag-Ibig

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In 2001, Philippine female-dominated band Aegis released Awit at Pag-ibig (Song and Love). The band contains six members: two female vocalists, a female keyboardist, a female bassist, a female drummer, and a male guitarist/vocalist. On Aegis' first album, 1998's Halik (Kiss), the band's sound was highlighted by intense, gritty vocals that often sounded like Rod Stewart or Bonnie Tyler, heard on songs that built dramatically to a strong, grand conclusion. The gritty aspect of the singing was lessened on the band's second album, Mahal Na Mahal Kita (I Love You Very Much), and the songs weren't as intense (the band has also recorded a Christmas album). 2001's Awit at Pag-ibig draws from the sound of both their previous albums. The fine title song "Awit at Pag-ibig" (Song and Love) is a blending of intensity and tenderness, while "Araw-Araw Na Lang" (Every Day) is intense throughout, and the singing is rough-edged and gritty. Other songs, such as "Sa 'Yo Lamang" (To You Alone) and "Asul" (Blue) are less intense, but still emote passion. The songs on Awit at Pag-ibig are substantive and enjoyable. On Aegis' first two albums, all of the songwriting was done by someone outside the group, Celso Abenoja. This time, Celso Abenoja wrote ten of the album's 13 songs, and Aegis as a unit wrote two songs: "Paano Ba" and "Bakit." Another song, "Sa 'Yo Lamang," is a religious song often heard in church services. Aegis is an expert, passionate interpreter, and the Celso Abenoja-dominated songwriting suits the band well. There isn't a bad song or performance on the album. "Bakit" (Why) is an emotive ballad, as is the beautiful "Asul," while "Ilog" (River) is a penetrating, rock-styled tune. There is even some diversity, as "Para Kay Aileen" (For Aileen) and "Babae Sa Bintana" (Girl in the Window) are lighthearted, bouncy tunes. This is a fine Philippine album.

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