Ophelia by indignuRelease date: October 31, 2016
Barcelos is a small city located in the North of Portugal and has been home for some great bands such as Black Bombaim, Okkur, Aspen, The Glockenwise and La La La Ressonance and a brilliant alternative/indie music and arts festival called Milhões de Festa.
Indignu are one of the bands who came out of this local scene. In fact, they are already 10 years old and a band with international experience and exposure. Their previous album “Odyssea” gave them that exposure and put their name out there. They have, since then, established themselves as one of the best instrumental rock bands in Portugal alongside Riding Pânico, Katabatic, The Allstar Project and Catacombe.
“Ophelia” is a confirmation of all their talent. They have definitely taken not one, but several steps in the right direction with this release. As they say, the album “has 2 sides, 2 covers and 2 souls” and it is very true.
The first part, cover and soul of the album is composed by “Mar do Norte”, “Jerusalém” and “Adeus, Clarabóia”. These first three tracks are the “mellow” side and have something quite “Portuguese” about them: they carry all the intensity and melancholy of the country’s typical music, Fado. Not only this but also quite introspective and tracks have plenty of space to breathe.
The second half is a bit darker. There are some tinges of Progressive and Psychedelic rock even. “Montanha Negra” is such a great example of this. Heavy atmosphere, great guitars and most of all the structure of the song is seemless and takes the listener on a turbulent and dark journey (almost resembling hiking up a mountain). “Tâmaras ao Vento” starts with a short guitar intro which in a way resembles a bit of Fado but quickly turns into a nice progressive and laid back track, with all the instruments taking over and submerging you into a dream like state. All of a sudden the track stops and we are presented with a beautifully delicate guitar melody. The doomy intro to last track “Santhiago do Schiele” is sublime and ends with the guitars slowly shreaking and squeaking away.
I love the overall vibes of “Ophelia” and, in a way, it reminds me very much of home. The guitars sound so Portuguese and melancholic. The arrangements are exquisite and, as I said at the beginning of the review, it is even several steps ahead of what I thought were two great releases (“Odyssea” and “Fetus in Fetu”). Anyone who loves this album should (or must!) check out their back catalog. Believe me, it’s worth your time! One of my contenders for album of the year