Sandata is a interesting specimen of a band – they’re a group that clearly has one foot firmly placed in the realm of classic rock, thus making their sound oddly familiar and instantly recognizable in the current scene. The other foot is clearly one that takes things one step further – to a sound that updates classic rock and roll that was so prevalent in the local scene in the 1990s to a the next logical evolution of the music.
The band released their five-song EP The Light back in 2009 and the record continues to be one of the best rock releases in recent memory. Almost two years to the day of this launch, the band once again comes out strong; this time with a full-length album for their fans and followers to gobble up.
The eponymous album contains four songs from The Light as well as tracks that were written in the past two years. The old songs were also re-recorded and remastered just to give it that extra kick.
The band has certainly mastered a larger than life sound that almost evokes anthemic qualities due to the effective guitar riff intros and gripping lyrics. This is very evident in the standout track ” Luha” where the band pulls back from going heavy for most of the song. Writing emotional and yet thematically-sophisticated songs have always been tricky in the vernacular but for some reason, vocalist and chief lyrics writer Aldrich Policarpio seems to have this down pat.
Chris Caldoza’s guitar parts for ‘Unos’ was also altered slightly to improve an already awesome track. If you’ve never heard of Sandata, ‘Unos’ would be the best introduction. It combines the band’s obvious technical skill as well as the Policarpio’s penchant for doing challenging vocal arrangement for the singing parts. An old arrangement of the song is actually available on Splintr – you may compare the nuances in the changes in the arrangement and harmonics once you grab a hold of the album.
‘Bangaw’ takes the band to a very different direction as the tempo favors a more constant marching pace as opposed to the commonly dynamic arrangement featured in Sandata songs. The blues and classic rock influence is definitely more evident in this track compared to the other tracks – and to a certain extent, Policarpio’s singing is definitely different. Instead of holding high notes like in other songs, the Sandata frontman resorts to a different tool from his arsenal – his ability to change up the tempo and hit precise notes at very fast intervals.
Another obvious strength that the band explored repeatedly in the album is their penchant for changing up the mood and feel of the music within song. It was very easy for Sandata to shift gears from angry battle cry-esque proclamations to very gentle verses like in ‘Gods, Kings and the Unforgotten’.
Policarpio, Caldoza, along with bassist Mario Consunji and drummer Myles Guillermo have definitely delivered one of the best sounding records of the past few years. It will be exciting to see how Sandata’s music will continue to develop and evolve in the coming years but for now, this new album is certainly making a good case on how promising the band’s career can potentially be.