In 1996, Philippine rock band Sphnix released its debut album, the self-titled Sphinx. The band consists of a vocalist, lead guitarist, rhythm guitarist, bassist and drummmer.
While not a fully accomplished set, Sphinx has many worthwhile moments and shows much promise for the future. "Hawla" is a rollicking number featuring hard-driving electric rhythm guitar as well as searing guitar fills. The singing is passionate and tuneful.
The band displays diversity on the album, and "Gaano" (trans: How Much) is a slow-paced number featuring a calvalcade of hard-edged lead and rhythm guitar. The song's refrain, which repeats the title, "Gaano," is tuneful and catchy.
"Bolero" (trans: Blabbermouth) has a folkish, almost polka-like ambience to it, and once again incorporates searing guitar fills, which by now has become a band trademark. The vocalist, Vencie Labayne, chooses to exaggerate the gruffness in his voice on "Bolero," which makes the singing somewhat overbearing.
Labayne is surely capable of tender and ungruff-like singing, as shown on "Hawla Unplugged" (trans: Birdcage Unplugged), a touching acoustic reworking of "Hawla" (trans: Birdcage). However, it does seem Labayne is searching for his range and style, representative, perhaps, of the band's own search for its groove.
"Walang Lihim" (trans: No Secret) opens on a charming, raw-edged power chord progression, and the song contains a degree of alluring melody as well. Though the band is still looking for its groove and the album sounds a bit amateurish in parts, the band's enthusiasm shines through, and Sphinx deserves to record another album.