There is a certain vibe surrounding the music of those who follow the right hand path, that those who prefer gazing into the abyss rather than the sky lack. Not cheeriness or joy necessarily, but a hopefullness and belief in some greater good, an altruism that is very refreshing when mostly dealing with the most negative music available. When the light at the tunnel’s end is no train but an exit and solution draped in shining white.
Indonesia’s Kekal is one of those. Not pious or preaching, but simply sharing their hope in a better, kinder society. And this light is shining through their music, especially on this their fifth (and from what I’ve heard, their best) album. Gathering former members around the core of Jeff Arwadi and Azharlevi Sianturi, Kekal bursts forth some purely marvellous avantgarde metal on Acidity. Many of their symphonic black metal roots are present, owing a lot to Emperor – especially the high-pitched screams and the incessant but not unnecessary use of strings – but that does not hinder Kekal at all to pull as many genre-gears as possible. Of course, most AGM band are ecclectic to the max, it comes with the tag, but few use as diverse elements with such taste as Kekal, without loosing consistency. Whether grinding away in blackest Scandinavian fashion, pacing through some crazy heavy metal licks or pulling off surprising stunts like the strange choral part in “The Way Of Thinking Beyond Comprehension” (think Mike Patton-strange), it all comes out natural, it sounds so authentic! For example, the electronic industrial body of the otherwise rather cheesy ballad “Broken” could just as easy have been played by a bunch of muscular Germans as the Berlin Wall came down. Were Emperor and Mr. Bungle in the studio? Or Massive Attack and Rush perhaps? It sure sounds so.
And always the hope, the strength and the love, soaring high with some of the fanciest guitarlicks this side of the first Winds EP. Who can be miserable when listening to a song like “A Dream For A Moment”? Sure, the clean vocals can at times seem to nasal for some, and the melodies to cheesy (they are, sometimes). But if that is your only reason for avoiding Kekal, you’re just daft. ‘Cause if this isn’t great avantgarde metal from the genre’s most underrated and neglected bands (they have released as many album as Solefald, goddamnit!), then I’m Ingmar Bergman (rest in peace, man).
02. Strength In My Weakness
03. Thy Neighbor’s Morality
04. A Dream For A Moment
06. Envy And Its Manifesto
07. The Way Of Thinking Beyond Comprehension
08. Romantika Destruksi
09. Blessing In Disguise
10. Empty Space