Aegis

Mahal Na Mahal Kita

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Aegis' second album, Mahal Na Mahal Kita (I Love You Very Much), is less rooted in rock and folk than their previous one and is more a combination of pop, balladry, and easy listening, though given a gritty edge in spots.

Also, where the singing on the first album was often passionately gruff, with a sound resembling that of an overcharged Rod Stewart or Bonnie Tyler, the vocals on Mahal Na Mahal Kita, though still passionate, are toned down and rendered in a more controlled manner.

Five of the six members of Aegis are females, which includes two vocalists, a drummer, bassist, and a keyboardist. The one male group member plays guitar but doesn't handle any vocals as before. The instrumentation is excellent, spiced up by searing lead guitar lines and fills.

The band's first album, 1998's Halik (Kiss), was distinguished by excellent songwriting, all of which was composed by outside writer Celso Abenoja. The songs featured catchy hooks and melodies, brought to life by the gritty, nearly overwrought singing.

Unfortunately, the songwriting on the new album isn't nearly as impressive, and the album suffers as a result. As before, most songs are slow moving and build to a grand climax, as heard on, "Sundot" (Pinch) and "Maniwala Ka" (Believe Me), among others, but the songs do not evoke the same memorable passion.

Two of the best songs are "Nag-iisang Ikaw" (Only You) and the spirited "Gumising Na Tayo" (Let's Wake Up), both of which feature catchy hooks, something sorely missing from the rest of the album.

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