Doom metal, stoner rock outfit Indus Valley Kings have come out with a successful sophomore album in Origin, an album that deals with dark themes—like nuclear fallout, drowning, cold, and demons—and which finds them as musically adventurous as can be. To set the stage, they open with a song about John Wayne Gacy, called simply “Clown.” “Searching for the perfect / Victim of his dreams / Hoping for the chance to / Break skulls at the seams.” It shows their vivid and gruesome imagination and the whole album deals in the murkier parts of humanity, and their sludgy guitar-heavy music is just as murky.
“And The Dead Shall Rise” is something right out of the Black Sabbath song book, both vocally and instrumentally. At a whopping seven minutes (there are three of nine songs over the seven minute mark on this album, something I was not excited about, until I was taken on their wonderful sonic journey and found myself transported by their intricate and inspiring instrumentation), it is a trip much like a Black Sabbath song as well. It is about a zombie uprising after nuclear fallout, and has an entertaining video to accompany it, with footage from black and white zombie films. The titular phrase is a play on the biblical concept of rising from the dead, but with humor and intelligence, they turn it on its head to make it about zombies rising instead of saints. “And the dead shall rise / It’s Man’s demise / And the dead shall rise / Hear the anguished cries.”
They’re experts, in fact, at turning things on their heads and challenging their listener to go a bit deeper than the surface. Like their answer to Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon,” with the cheeky sci-fi number “Dark Side of the Sun.” “Everyone must learn / Our skin is born to burn / Forever meant to run / On the dark side of the sun.” The almost nine minute track proves that they can go interesting and compelling places with their music, and keep your attention rapt throughout.
Billy Fridich, guitarist and lead vocalist, shows a bit more range vocally on this album. And for variation’s sake, it was a good move, I think, to allow bassist, Jonathan Habers, to sing on a couple songs, “Hell to Pay” and “Demon Beast.” In fact, I’d venture to say that this album is altogether a step forward for the band, with even more guitar euphoria than their last record. The lyric from second to last song, “Drowned,” captures their philosophy well. “Dam of emotions / Bursts, releasing pain / Freedom comes at a heavy price / Agony’s constrained.”
They are a band that deals in the heavier parts of life. Imagining humanity at its worst and giving voice to our darkest imaginations. The last song is a bit of light, “Sky King / Heaven Sings,” but ends with them singing, “I am the darkness, I extinguished your day / I carry the weight of the night and its pain / Worship what I am and all I will be / Bow down in reverence to the blackness in me.” If you resonate with (or at least are intrigued by) the darkness, Indus Valley Kings aim to please, and swing for a homerun, on their second doom metal album. To some listeners, I would think, they definitely succeed in hitting it out of the park.