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KEKAL

Experimental/Post Metal • Indonesia


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Kekal biography
Hailing from Jakarta, Indonesia, KEKAL formed back in August 1995 as an extreme metal band born from the local underground metal scene. Three months later they had a chance to record a 4-song demo to be spawned in the local tape trading circuit.

In June 1996 they remixed their first demo and with some new material they released "Contra spiritualia Nequitiae", their first actual/official demo release. The demo itself has got a good response from the underground as it contains totally extreme and unique musical structures that have become influential.

Some changes in line-up appeared. With Harry on Vocals, Leo on Guitar, Jeff on Guitar/Vocals, and Azhar on Bass/Vocals, Kekal continued to write new material. Early in 1998, the first full-length album entitled "Beyond The Glimpse of Dreams" was recorded and licensed to various labels. First is just on cassette format by a small Indonesian label THT Productions, and later being re-released on both CD and cassette formats by Singaporean independent label Sonic Wave. "Beyond The Glimpse of Dreams" has got very good reviews from publications around the world and being considered as one of the best extreme metal albums ever coming from Asian bands. The response has also been very good since it has been sold for almost 5000 copies independently without an aid of any major distribution.

At the end of 1998 Harry left the band due to other commitments outside music. Kekal remains as a three-piece band with Jeff and Azhar handle all the vocal duties. Their 2nd full-length album called "Embrace The Dead" was finally recorded independently again and is being released on August 30, 1999 by THT productions, which without a doubt shows every extreme metal lover once again, about the strength and uniqueness of Kekal's music.
Early 2001 Kekal entered the studio to record songs for 3rd full-length project entitled "The Painful Experience", their finest material with better production. "The Painful Experience" marks as their first encounter in the progressive/avantgarde metal territory with its unique and original style, combining dark electronica and ambient elements into their jazz and classical-influenced heavy metal music. Guitarist Leo left the band shortly after recording "The Painful Experience" and moved to Australia. Kekal remained 2-piece with only Jeff (guitars/vocals/programming) and Azhar (bass/programming) as the only members left.

Year 2002 shows everyone another surprising outp...
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Kekal official website

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KEKAL Videos (YouTube and more)


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Buy KEKAL Music


Embrace the DeadEmbrace the Dead
Flesh Walker Records
Audio CD$10.87 (used)
AcidityAcidity
Import
Fear Dark
Audio CD$6.99
$61.21 (used)
The Habit of FireThe Habit of Fire
Import
Open Grave Records 2007
Audio CD$1.23
$1.23 (used)
1000 Thoughts of Violence1000 Thoughts of Violence
Import
Fear Dark
Audio CD$7.94
$5.75 (used)
Chaos & Warfare (split cd)Chaos & Warfare (split cd)
Import
Fear Dark
Audio CD$29.98 (used)
Beyond the Glimpse of DreamsBeyond the Glimpse of Dreams
Import
Candlelight Productions
Audio CD$49.99 (used)
88
Musea 2009
Audio CD$305.50
The Painful ExperienceThe Painful Experience
Original recording
Clenchedfist Records
Audio CD$21.98 (used)
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KEKAL shows & tickets


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KEKAL discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

KEKAL top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.67 | 3 ratings
Beyond The Glimpse of Dreams
1998
3.42 | 6 ratings
Embrace The Dead
1999
3.92 | 4 ratings
The Painful Experience
2001
3.69 | 11 ratings
1000 Thoughts of Violence
2003
4.00 | 9 ratings
Acidity
2005
4.25 | 13 ratings
The Habit of Fire
2007
2.25 | 5 ratings
Audible Minority
2008
4.00 | 1 ratings
8
2010
3.00 | 2 ratings
Autonomy
2012

KEKAL Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

KEKAL Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

KEKAL Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

KEKAL Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Futuride EP
2011
1.32 | 3 ratings
Unsung Division
2013

KEKAL Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Autonomy by KEKAL album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.00 | 2 ratings

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Autonomy
Kekal Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Morsenator

3 stars Kekal's 2012 release Autonomy is a mixture of post-metal and modern avant-gardeish electronic music, a concept I can't say I'm too familiar with. The tracks are mostly enjoyable, especially when they stick to the heavier side of things like on the opening "Rare Earth Elements" and on "Disposable Man". Sometimes the focus is lost for a while, mainly on more electronic oriented interlude parts such as "iComa". When it returns, the band shows themselves being capable of constructing strong riffs and compositions with enough experimental attitude to keep things interesting. Those who like their metal served with some less generic influences may find Autonomy quite worth checking out. So, not exactly my cup of tea but a good album nevertheless.

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 Unsung Division by KEKAL album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2013
1.32 | 3 ratings

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Unsung Division
Kekal Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Morsenator

2 stars This EP might not exactly be the best introduction to the Indonesian band/project Kekal, but as it's their latest one I decided to tackle it first. The first song "Dividend In Division" is from the new album that is scheduled for release in 2015, and it is a solid track with interesting riffs and nice lyrical output. The next three tracks are best not mentioned much, as they don't seem to be much more than boring, even irritating electronic noodling. In the last song "The God Particle" Kekal gets back on track, and there are some quite nice bubbling motions and experimental sounds which create an interesting atmosphere. 2 stars seems quite fitting for this release.

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 Unsung Division by KEKAL album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2013
1.32 | 3 ratings

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Unsung Division
Kekal Experimental/Post Metal

Review by aapatsos
Special Collaborator Prog Metal and Heavy Prog Teams

1 stars It is quite evident from a first listen what the case is here: a "single"-type release with one track from Kekal's forthcoming release and four electronic-music tracks that only serve as fillers in order to give this release some existence.

'Dividend in Division' opens the EP and is the only track worth of further analysis. It begins with a "techno" sounding keyboard but soon the heavy guitars take over on an experimental/punky riffology on a rather annoying drum-programming sound. However, the vocal melody is fairly decent and saves it from disaster. The techno vibes continue throughout even when a strong (but short) guitar solo kicks in and another proggier section leads it to its conclusion. Although not a complete composition, it entails a couple of interesting ideas.

Tracks 2 to 5 represent what I would call a pointless electronica experimentation with atonal passages and pure programming - even the addition of (any) keyboards would help give this some life. The only exception appears at a couple of minutes in the closing track where a layered guitar melody and a dreamy vocal section accompany the beat with some success. The joy lasts for about only 60 seconds or so...

With a single experimental/electronic-metal track there is not much here to recommend. Conclusion: Avoid or give it a go if you are a fan of such music as the EP is (still) free to download.

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 Audible Minority by KEKAL album cover Studio Album, 2008
2.25 | 5 ratings

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Audible Minority
Kekal Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Negoba
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Indonesian Electronic Metal Mishmash

Kekal is an Indonesian Experimental Metal Band that has slowly hemorrhaged members since its beginnings in 1995 up to this 2008 album where the band consisted of two members, each contributing vocals, guitars, and programming. Programming should be emphasized for this album is primarily an experiment in the use of samplers and overdubs. While the band still injects metal elements into the music, the electronics often overwhelm the sound with mixed results. AUDIBLE MINORITY was available for free download, so I decided to give it a try. The album certainly has some interesting moments, but when I read that it was spawned from some "underground" I translate "basement." This is somewhat unfair, but there is a sense of amateurism to this collection of songs.

The music itself is pretty eclectic. There are sections that could be considered avant-garde, acid jazz, new wave, psychedelic, and even dance music, but most of it is electronic post- metal. Weighty guitars over looped beats create dark soundscapes a bit like the new Isis. But where Isis remains rooted, Kekal is all over the place. Armed with samplers and synthesizers, the two guitarists seem like two kids who just opened a neighbor's toy box for the first time. As a result, we definitely get some excitement, but the result is also quite rough around the edges.

Thankfully there are limited vocals for the two singers have quite limited skills. At their best, they sound like Midnight Oil or a poor man's Mars Volta, at their worst a distorted wash. The sampled sounds are sometimes interesting, sometimes annoying. The band succumbs to excessive repetition on more than one occasion, and loses the sense of interest they've generated at least in this listener.

Overall, this is completely non-essential, but the price was right. I got to hear a few interesting ideas, and as I don't have a lot of other records with a similar sound, I still pull it up once in a long while. Sample it first, you can decide if it deserves space in your player.

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 1000 Thoughts of Violence by KEKAL album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.69 | 11 ratings

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1000 Thoughts of Violence
Kekal Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Big Ears

3 stars When my sister and I were children, our parents would take us for weekend walks in nearby woodland. We would stroll through dells lined with bluebells, around natural orchards of crab apple trees and across cuckoo haunted meadows. When we came to a fork or a crossroad in the path, my dad would flip a coin to help decide which way to go next. Eventually though, we would always come back along the same path without ever seeming to get lost. Listening to Kekal's album is a bit like my childhood memories of these walks. With Kekal we encounter a variety of light, bright jazzy areas, compelling soundscapes and surprising time signatures, but we know that we will usually return to the familiar section of thrash metal with repetitive guitar and Scott Travis-style drums.

Kekal use a combination of aggressive vocals with the aforementioned thrash metal devices and melodic voices with equally melodious rock guitar. In jazz mode they remind me of Black Sabbath on Planet Caravan and, at times, the vocals sound like Russell Mael of Sparks. On other occasions the group echo the more contemporary Cave-In. The drummer is no fool and is capable of interesting drum-parts. But, whereas Faith No More and Dream Theater hit the mark with this fusing of thrash and melody, Kekal on 1000 Thoughts of Violence do not quite succeed. The reason is because, to a traditional progressive rock fan like me, they fall uncomfortably between the two camps - erring too much on the thrash metal side which is disproportionately the larger and inferior. Taking into account the light and shade aspect, the thrash is still in need of severe editing, while the progressive, 'conventional' heavy rock and experimentation needs expanding.

Kekal are to be commended for their willingness to experiment and to merge a delicate jazz playing with heavy rock. Like my mother and father many years ago, they took me on a fascinating journey with many memorable experiences. Just one last thing though gentlemen ? May I suggest that you change the album title to 1000 Thoughts of Tranquillity.

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 Embrace The Dead by KEKAL album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.42 | 6 ratings

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Embrace The Dead
Kekal Experimental/Post Metal

Review by FathomlessMetro

4 stars If you want to hear the Prog side of Kekal, skip this album and listen to 1000 Thoughts of Violence, their 4th album. Their 2nd album, Embrace The Dead, isn't part of their later days avant prog outputs. While this album has all the 'proggy' elements like epic long songs who don't always follow verse-chorus-verse structure, tempo & key changes, sub-sections, etc. This is much comparable to the song structure made famous by Iron Maiden, mixed with symphonic gothic metal and melodic scandinavian-styled black metal. More metal than prog, but a solid album with traditional metal elements.

7.5/10

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 The Painful Experience by KEKAL album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.92 | 4 ratings

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The Painful Experience
Kekal Experimental/Post Metal

Review by FathomlessMetro

4 stars While The Painful Experience is probably not being considered among Kekal's best albums to date, it is interesting to see the band's brave maneuvers from their straight forward extreme metal of first 2 albums to the far more progressive and avantgarde of later efforts.

Recorded in late 2000 and early 2001 (and released later in October 2001), I've heard Kekal made their decision upon the change of millennium and change of century. The Painful Experience is the bridge into digital era of Kekal, their first album being fully composed and recorded to the hard disk using DAW, as opposed to analog tape of their previous 2 albums Beyond The Glimpse of Dreams (1998) and Embrace The Dead (1999). It turned out to be somewhat confusing for their longtime fans who already familiar with the band's first 2 albums. Kekal changed at that point and no one can stop the band from making such a brave decision, risking thousands of their old fans leaving the band just because of the drastic change alone.

While the approach of production and songwriting might be drastically changed, musically The Painful Experience still has the traces of Kekal. They still retain their own trademark Iron Maiden-sque guitar melody layers and the energy and the groove are still present. The major drawbacks are on the vocal department and the using of 'borrowed' riffs from Iron Maiden. There are over 10 different vocal styles on the album, from the death metal growls, black metal evil screams, operatic tenor, hardcore punk shouts and many more including the most irritating high-pitch vocals that the vocalist Jeff tried to mimic all the highs of King Diamond, Rob Halford (Judas Priest) and Geddy Lee (Rush) together without realizing that he went over his comfort zone, like he would lose his vocal cord at times. I wished that they gave these high lines to guest female vocalist like they used to do on their previous 2 albums, instead being sung by Jeff himself.

However, the songs are very strong and some of them like Mean Attraction and the title track are being considered as the best songs from Kekal ever, and remain classic to the fans.

7.2/10

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 The Habit of Fire by KEKAL album cover Studio Album, 2007
4.25 | 13 ratings

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The Habit of Fire
Kekal Experimental/Post Metal

Review by FathomlessMetro

5 stars When listening to Kekal, nothing else comes to mind except they always put lots of new things to every new album they made. The Habit of Fire is not the exception. Their sixth album delivers new ideas of what progressive metal should be: innovative.

Everyone knows that the progressive metal scene is getting stagnant nowadays, with no new and interesting things offered by the genre's most popular bands, and most of these bands just play highly-skilled instrumental-ability as a show-off factor, combined with boring songwriting and typical high-pitched vocals. But Kekal leaves lots of interesting things to be desired. They could make complex time-signature acrobats and fast technical guitar solos, but they chose to stick with the flowing songwriting, and focus on the genre cross-overs (jazz fusion, trip-hop, ambient, industrial, etc......) with a strong fixation towards electronic music.

There is a growing and demanding movement called 'avantgarde metal', to refer to metal bands that are progressive but not stagnant. Kekal may be fall under this new and hot movement, but Kekal will still be Kekal. Maybe in next couple albums they would become some sort of an electronic band rather than metal. It's a big question but I don't care, as long as they will still deliver high quality music. "The Habit of Fire" is an amazing album despite of its weirdness and eclecticism that made the band being tremendously underrated and overlooked everywhere. Essential to everyone that is looking for something fresh and unique.

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 The Habit of Fire by KEKAL album cover Studio Album, 2007
4.25 | 13 ratings

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The Habit of Fire
Kekal Experimental/Post Metal

Review by doronogr

4 stars Kekal has been around for a long time, over 10 years in fact. And they like to experiment and incorporate fresh new elements into their music. So when I first listened to "Habit of Fire", their debut release with Open Grave Records, I was not surprised to discover that they did not disappoint. The album incorporates many genres of music such as progressive metal, psychedelic rock, and even trip-hop. Starting out as more of a straightforward extreme metal band, they have taken something that might have grown stagnant and implemented a fresh new twist. Synthesizers and electronics are included liberally throughout the mix, but they don't overwhelm the songs, and the guitar sounds range from buzz-saw timbres to clean tones. The vocals are mainly clean, with just enough black metal style screaming to remind you that Kekal is a heavy band. And while being extremely experimental, the album stays accessible, with highlights like "Isolated I" and "The Gathering of Ants" being catchy enough for a wide range of audiences, but avant-garde enough to stop the most jaded of metal lovers in their tracks. In conclusion, Kekal is a band that is destined to stay fresh for a long time to come, if "Habit of Fire" is any example of the direction they are heading in.

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 The Habit of Fire by KEKAL album cover Studio Album, 2007
4.25 | 13 ratings

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The Habit of Fire
Kekal Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Wutchanas

4 stars I have been listening to Kekal since their early, black/death metal days, and watch their 'progression' of style and musicianship from album to album. "The Habit of Fire" is their 6th full-length CD and they have been around for about 12 years, but yet there is still a long way for these guys to get the amount of attention they deserve, at least to worldwide prog-rock fans. Luckily, "The Habit of Fire" is their first album which gets the 'mainstream' distribution in North America (and better distribution in Europe as well), and thus the way to get better attention is bigger than their previous albums (which only available through independent metal music stores & mail-orders).

Musically, "The Habit of Fire" is simply displaying their own 'trend' of natural progression, which is more experimental and crazier than their previous one. I do have a hard time to classify this album into one sub-genre. The record labels (one in USA and one in Germany) tag it as 'Urban Avantgarde Metal'. But I'm not even sure that even term 'urban' and 'avant-garde' are the best way to describe the music on the album. The only way to know is by listening it by yourself!

"The Habit of Fire" is a 70 minute concept album that has 11 tracks, from a weird feedback-loop noise intro to the amazingly complex and progressive 15-minute epic song "Escapism". The songs are still connected with metal music at many points, but they also put every music style possible into the songs: danceable electronic beats, noisy industrial drones and harshness in the vein of Whitehouse and Einzurstende Neubauten, King Crimson-esque guitar chords and time-signature weirdedness, early Pink Floyd's soundscapes, jazz-fusion parts, and much much more, including hip-hop and death metal blast-beats drumming! Oh, not to mention the psychotic psychedelic parts that pop up here and there by surprise. But before you start to think that Kekal is just a mere knock-off of Mr Bungle and Fantomas (with all the 'throw everything in' trend), I have to say that it is not the case. Kekal has a certain amount of depth and flowing melodies put into their songs, which makes the cohesiveness and links between the mixed-up styles. Despite the complexity of the arrangements, super-detailed production, and the overly long playing time which make it extra hard to completely digest and understand at the first listen, this album has the kind of 'persona' which compels the listeners to listen to it over and over again without getting bored. And once you get hooked with it, you're gonna love this forever. Definitely progressive without being over-acting or comical. An essential release for avant-prog fans.

Kekal can be reached at www.myspace.com/kekal

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