Kekal is an avant-garde metal band originated from Jakarta, Indonesia. The band consists of no official member since 2009, but it remains active and have since released two albums entitled 8 in 2010 and Autonomy in 2012, with 3 former key members have contributed in making it.
3 former key members are Jeff Arwadi (guitars, vocals, programming, drums), Azhar Levi Sianturi (bass, vocals), and Leo Setiawan (guitars), all have left the band in 2009.
They started in 1995 as a more straightforward black metal band. Throughout the first 5 years, they developed their own style by incorporating many diverse elements from outside metal. This distinct style become most prominent in the third album "The Painful Experience", which marked as a starting point for the band to step more and more into the progressive metal and avant-garde metal and made further experiments with their music.
In 2003, they released "1000 Thoughts of Violence" and received positive media reviews. This led to their first European mini-tour in 2004, playing a string of shows in countries such as Germany, Netherlands, and Sweden. After that tour, they released their 5th album, "Acidity", in 2005. They made even further experiments on their 6th album, "The Habit of Fire", which found the band decreasing their early metal sound to give more room for jazz, avantgarde and electronic elements.
In 2006, right after the recording of "The Habit of Fire", founding member Jeff Arwadi moved to Canada while the rest of the members are in Indonesia, leaving the band unable to play shows and do touring. At the same time they left their longtime record label Fear Dark and status of the band was in question. After few months of uncertainty and rumors of break-up went around among their fans, they all decided to remain together and to keep the band only as a studio project. They quickly signed licensing deals with 2 record labels to release "The Habit of Fire" in 2007. The album received very well and it was nominated as The Best Avantgarde Metal Album in 2007 by Metal Storm, as well as CD of The Month by UK’s music technology magazine Sound on Sound.
Later in 2007, Jeff announced on the band’s Blog that the new Kekal album is on the way, which he has been working it all by himself. It was revealed later on, that the new album is entitled "Audible Minority", and it was released officially in December 25, 2008 with a total of 11 songs including an A-ha cover song.
On August 12th, 2009, Jeff decided to leave Kekal, citing a plethora of reasons including but not limited to lack of inspiration. As Leo has also agreed to leave if Jeff leaves, and that Levi has already left earlier, Kekal effectively has no members remaining. The band, however, will continue to “exist” as an institution, albeit with no active members.
In January 2010, Jeff announced that he has been working on a new material with a possibility to be released under the Kekal name. It came to surface shortly after, that all 3 former members have also contributed in working the new album titled 8, officially released in December 2010. But however, there is no sign that they will rejoin the band as members, leaving Kekal as a zero-member band.
With no official members, Kekal is still active to this date, limited only to make and release new studio material (albums, EPs). In 2012 another full-length album entitled Autonomy was released on CD as well as free digital download, followed by a 5-track EP called Unsung Division EP.
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