According to their website, the Long Island-based Indus Valley Kings “are a heavy stoner-metal trio born from the earliest days of the planet’s existence to bring forth their down-tuned music to a yearning, modern civilization.”
The band was formed in 2018 by guitarist/vocalist Billy Fridrich and drummer Danny Lofaro and was joined by bassist/vocalist Jonathan Habers the following year. The band released their debut self-titled album in 2021, and their sophomore album, Origin, was released on June 8th, 2022, and it will be the focus of today’s discussion.
Before we get going, I would like to point out that New York is full of great bands, from today’s focus on Indus Valley Kings to Clouds Taste Satanic and from All Out War to Life of Agony, this state repeatedly delivers excellent music from many assorted genres.
I think what I find most interesting is that Origin was recorded live in Beneath the Sun Studios, located in Hicksville, NY. I usually find myself to be slightly hesitant about albums that have been recorded in this way, usually without cause, and with this album, that hesitation really seems quite silly, as the music contained therein is beautifully performed and is full of stoner riffs, bluesy sections, and even some psychedelic vibes. So I asked them what their thoughts were on their sophomore release and was told:
“Our songwriting has grown, and many of the songs grew out of spontaneous jams during rehearsal (Dark Side of the Sun, A Cold Wind, for example). We knew what tones we wanted when we headed into the studio (Mick James at Beneath the Sun Studios really captured our sound), and like our first album, we recorded the album live – we didn’t ‘track’ each instrument separately. So what you hear on ‘Origin’ is Indus Valley Kings – live!”
The first song I felt really had each of the elements I mentioned is named “A Cold Wind.”
The intro has wind blowing beneath the guitar part, a guitar part that is the root of the main riff, minus the fuzz that kicks in shortly before the first verse. The first 3+ minutes of the song are solid stoner with some underlying psych vibes, but the psych becomes more apparent after that. The lead guitar pieces are bluesy, eventually evolving into an incredible solo section that evokes a little Stevie Ray Vaughn at times. The riff that kicks in after this section is the perfect way to follow it up, too, galloping but not super-fast, just fast enough.
Next is “Hell to Pay”, and this song starts with a 30-second drum and bass section reminiscent of something Chad Smith and Flea might do. I really locked in once the riff kicked in and the vocals started, as there is a Queens of the Stone Age vibe going on that is super catchy. The bass is very prominent in the mix, the drums sound massive, the guitars have a really nice fuzz tone, and I love the vocal approach and tone throughout.
Another standout is “Mohenjo Daro”, a track with no vocals and a band that is locked in with each other. I’ve been a big fan of instrumental music since I first heard Clouds Taste Satanic, and “Mohenjo Daro” only solidifies my love of it.
The last song I’d like to bring up is actually the first one on Origin and my favorite as well.
“Clown” is an incredibly cool-sounding song with Queens of the Stone Age style riffs and much more. As I was listening, I could hear a few time signature changes that added a slight sense of controlled chaos, so I sent the band a message asking if I was correct, this is what they said:
“There are several different time signatures in Clown. Originally, the song was fast paced throughout, but Danny and Jonathan came up with the groovy half-time verse section a few weeks before we were scheduled to record. It sounded so great and really gave the song a darker edge that we kept it!”
If you haven’t heard the music of Indus Valley Kings yet, I suggest you do so, starting with Origin first; it is a nice step forward from their debut, which was quite a good album in its own right. I do feel that they have stepped up to the plate in terms of songwriting, and I definitely prefer the vocals on Origin. I think that Indus Valley Kings will keep progressing with each new release, releases that I am very much looking forward to!
This review was written by Tom Hanno, who has been writing reviews for the last 7 years but has been sharing his love of music for the majority of his life. Originally starting out at the now defunct Chimera Magazine, he is currently contributing to Doomed and Stoned, The Sleeping Shaman, The Doom Charts, Tom’s Reviews, and The Third Eye. Read more of Tom’s reviews by checking out his Linktree.