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Rakrakan Festival ’14: Volume I (Album Review)

While foreign music seems to be ruling the local airwaves, some would say that OPM is starting to lose its impact. In fact, some even already declared it dead. These people are already missing out by believing that absurd notion. But try asking those who have rocked ‘til they dropped at last year’s Rakrakan Festival. They definitely know how our local artists can make a crowd mosh, move, and groove.

To re-amplify memories from last year’s event, Rakrakan Festival, in cooperation with 12 Stone Records, has finally released their debut compilation album entitled “Rakrakan Festival ’14: Volume I”. Featuring 18 tracks from chosen Rakrakan Festival ’14 artists, the compilation also aims to promote these underrated gems both locally and internationally, as well as spoil their listeners with an eclectic range of OPM: from mosh-worthy riffs and heavy breakdowns; to energetic beats and ear-friendly tunes; and to slow, groovy rhythms, and deep bass lines.

The compilation opens with Drive Me To Juliet’s feels-inducing single, “Absence of Understanding”, warming up our ears before they plunge into the unpredictable sequence. Oozing with deep passion is the feel-good, beach track “Pag-Asa, Pag-ibig, Paglaya” from urban reggae band Kartel At Lion and the Scouts. Bringing you to the rock side of reggae is “Irie” by The Chongkeys. Maybe Thursday’s “After Effects” gives off that Math the Band vibe with their distinct synth-punk sound while Mr. Bones and the Boneyard Circus’ “Crooked Faces” pulls off their unique horror rock music. Getting your bones ready for slamming are hardhearted-riffed songs from Days of January, Lostthreads, Imbue No Kudos, and Diachroma.

Satisfying your craving for feminine screams is Even’s “Flight”. Saydie’s latest single “Onyx” deviates from what we usually hear from their previous releases: less heavy breakdowns and sweet clean vocals all throughout. Representing the pop-punk department are Save Me Hollywood, Absolute Play, Neverending Weekend, Faintlight, and Jejaview. Maryzark’s “Andromeda” gives you your dose of hugot with its heart-piercing lyrics. Ending the ride is Tricia Rivka Garcia’s sexy-sounding, soul-filled “Fat Lady” – a standout among the compilation’s few slow jams.

Despite the various sounds and stylings, the tracks have a few things in common: memorable hooks unhindered by intricate arrangements, potentially nostalgic textures, and that Filipino pride radiating as bright as the country’s summer sun, whether the lyrics are in English or Filipino.

In a nutshell, “Rakrakan Festival ‘14: Volume I” is more than a “tangible memento” to relive the Rakrakan Festival experience. It’s a beautiful mishmash of rock and soul that vivifies the fact that OPM continues to thrive and evolve. In truth, it’s the perfect middle finger for those who are saying that OPM is dead. Alive and kicking is an understatement. OPM is better classified as “immortal”. This collection definitely deserves a spot in your CD racks.