Indonesia-based experimental metal/rock band KEKAL recently recently released their latest video, “Zoe”, the first of the series of music videos to highlight the central theme of their upcoming full-length album “Quantum Resolution”; a diverse and multi-textural concept-album which will be released independently this coming August. To celebrate this interesting offering, we have teamed up with the band’s guitarist and vocalist Jeff Arwadi to give you the full backstory of this interesting project, as well as its take on the current happening around the world, including COVID-19 and anti-racist protests following the tragic death of George Floyd.
Formed in 1995 in Jakarta, Indonesia, Kekal has now over 10 albums in their discography. According to AllMusic, Kekal was one of the first heavy metal bands from Indonesia to make international inroads, and according to sociologist of heavy metal, Keith Kahn-Harris, was one of the few extreme metal bands from Southeast Asia to ever make more than a minimal impression on the global scene. Kekal is known as the first band from Indonesia who toured Europe back in 2004. Since 2009, Kekal has become a band without official members, with former members and other musicians voluntarily contributing together in collaboration to make new albums up to this date. Most of the band’s music are now released to public through Creative Commons licence, and 4 albums are also available for free download including the critically-acclaimed “1000 Thoughts of Violence” (2003) and “The Habit of Fire” (2007).
Kekal plays a very diverse range of music styles within the frame of metal and rock, incorporating many other music genres such as ambient, electronic, jazz fusion, and progressive rock.
𝑇ℎ𝑒 𝑠𝑡𝑜𝑟𝑦 𝑜𝑓 𝐾𝐸𝐾𝐴𝐿, 𝑏𝑦 𝐽𝑒𝑓𝑓 𝐴𝑟𝑤𝑎𝑑𝑖
Since 2009 Kekal has no official members, and it only works with voluntary contribution from individuals in a collaborative way, and most of the time anonymously especially when it comes to the music. None of the musicians or songwriters hold the copyright of the songs once they are released under the name Kekal, and most of the band’s albums right now are licenced through Creative Commons for free distribution.
Kekal was formed in 1995, so this year the band is celebrating its 25th Anniversary. Kekal has practiced a strict “do-it-yourself ethic” since the very beginning. The recording masters have never been property of any record labels but the band, and when the band decides to release a new album through one or more record labels, everything is done only through licencing. All the recording production, album covers, photography, artwork, music videos, etc. are done in-house by everyone connected to the band as contributors.
Kekal has released 11 full-length studio albums so far since the debut album in 1998, and soon will be 12 with the new one called “Quantum Resolution” (coming in August). The band doesn’t recognize itself based on one music genre, let alone sub-genres, so it basically roams free in crossing-over various music styles while being recognizable as Kekal. I think that in the beginning, Kekal took the energies of 80s punk music and then presented them with the body of extreme metal while adding some elements from other music. And then as it began to develop its music after releasing 3 albums or so, the band then explored further by taking elements from much broader musical influences, many times without reservation, while still maintaining the roots.
I can’t really tell what kind of music Kekal plays to be honest, which is good because people can’t draw similarities with any other existing bands, but at the same time not good because people can’t really find the band within the “boxes” of classifications, because it has been labelled with so many different genres and sub-genres.
“𝑄𝑢𝑎𝑛𝑡𝑢𝑚 𝑅𝑒𝑠𝑜𝑙𝑢𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛” 𝑖𝑠 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑡𝑖𝑡𝑙𝑒 𝑜𝑓 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑛𝑒𝑤 𝑎𝑙𝑏𝑢𝑚 𝑤ℎ𝑖𝑐ℎ 𝑖𝑠 𝑎 𝑐𝑜𝑛𝑐𝑒𝑝𝑡-𝑎𝑙𝑏𝑢𝑚 𝑤𝑖𝑡ℎ 𝑎𝑙𝑙 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑠𝑜𝑛𝑔𝑠 𝑟𝑒𝑙𝑎𝑡𝑒𝑑 𝑡𝑜 𝑒𝑎𝑐ℎ 𝑜𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑟 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑚𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑐𝑎𝑙𝑙𝑦.
“And as I wrote these lyrics, they are based on my personal revelations during the spiritual journey of awakening since a few years ago. There’s the name for that, and I just realized it later, it’s called “Gnosis” meaning “revealed knowledge”. The lyrics explain much about it, and there’s in-depth discussion-style Q&As for those who are interested to dig deeper into the topics. Basically it tells about knowing who we really are and where we are going. They explain a bit regarding our dark history from a distant past, and also dig into our present time and future as well: what is our role here on Earth, and how do we deal with all the deceptions that are so rampant and very structural encompassing every aspect of life, as we are closing the chapter of our present Age.
I believe that we are now at the end of the Age, and many events all around the world have started to happen as we can now see and feel, and will further escalate exponentially to the point of what I call it as “the cosmic reset” in the quantum level. It will be very long to explain everything here, but if anyone interested please visit this location.”
𝑇ℎ𝑒 𝑙𝑦𝑟𝑖𝑐𝑠 𝑡𝑜𝑢𝑐ℎ 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑠𝑢𝑏𝑗𝑒𝑐𝑡 𝑚𝑎𝑡𝑡𝑒𝑟𝑠 𝑖𝑛 𝑞𝑢𝑎𝑛𝑡𝑢𝑚 𝑓𝑖𝑒𝑙𝑑 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑜𝑟𝑦 𝑟𝑒𝑔𝑎𝑟𝑑𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑡ℎ𝑒 ℎ𝑜𝑙𝑜𝑔𝑟𝑎𝑝ℎ𝑖𝑐 𝑛𝑎𝑡𝑢𝑟𝑒 𝑜𝑓 𝑜𝑢𝑟 𝑢𝑛𝑖𝑣𝑒𝑟𝑠𝑒 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑤𝑜𝑟𝑙𝑑 𝑎𝑠 𝑎 𝑠𝑖𝑚𝑢𝑙𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛, 𝑖𝑛 𝑐𝑜𝑚𝑝𝑎𝑟𝑖𝑠𝑜𝑛 𝑡𝑜 𝑠𝑝𝑖𝑟𝑖𝑡𝑢𝑎𝑙𝑖𝑡𝑦, 𝑝𝑠𝑦𝑐ℎ𝑜𝑙𝑜𝑔𝑦, 𝑛𝑒𝑎𝑟-𝑑𝑒𝑎𝑡ℎ 𝑒𝑥𝑝𝑒𝑟𝑖𝑒𝑛𝑐𝑒 𝑎𝑐𝑐𝑜𝑢𝑛𝑡𝑠, 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑠𝑢𝑝𝑝𝑟𝑒𝑠𝑠𝑒𝑑 ℎ𝑖𝑠𝑡𝑜𝑟𝑦 𝑜𝑓 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑤𝑜𝑟𝑙𝑑 𝑒𝑠𝑝𝑒𝑐𝑖𝑎𝑙𝑙𝑦 𝑟𝑒𝑔𝑎𝑟𝑑𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑜𝑢𝑟 𝑠𝑝𝑒𝑐𝑖𝑒𝑠 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑎𝑙𝑠𝑜 𝑤ℎ𝑦 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑤𝑜𝑟𝑙𝑑 𝑖𝑠 𝑟𝑢𝑙𝑒𝑑 𝑏𝑦 𝑒𝑣𝑖𝑙 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑏𝑖𝑟𝑡ℎ 𝑜𝑓 𝑐𝑖𝑣𝑖𝑙𝑖𝑧𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛𝑠.
“The music itself was recorded right after finishing the last album, 2018 “Deeper Underground”. It took over a year in production, 15 months or so to complete the whole album, and some songs have already been released individually as digital singles since 2019, just to cater those who prefer listening mix songs under playlists instead of per-album basis.”
The new album “Quantum Resolution” will be released this August, in both digital and physical formats. The digital album will be accessible for download through Bandcamp, as well as streaming on various platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, etc. The physical format of the album will be released as a limited-edition CD through a record label Eastbreath Records, and it will have only a limited distribution, mostly through online orders. There will be some more music videos and possibly lyric videos coming. There’s no plan to do any live performance in the near future, as Kekal is now a member-less band and hasn’t played any shows since a long time ago.
𝑇ℎ𝑜𝑢𝑔ℎ𝑡𝑠 𝑜𝑛 𝐺𝑒𝑜𝑟𝑔𝑒 𝐹𝑙𝑜𝑦𝑑 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑟𝑎𝑐𝑖𝑎𝑙-𝑗𝑢𝑠𝑡𝑖𝑐𝑒 𝑝𝑟𝑜𝑡𝑒𝑠𝑡𝑠
“Here I express thoughts and opinions that are mine, and not representing the band’s. What I observe and learn from my own personal research, the issues of racism and law-enforcement brutality in the States have existed since the very beginning, because the U.S. is the nation-empire which bears the characteristics or traits of a typical empire. These two are only a few of so many other overlooked, unrecognized, and normalized symptoms of the same disease.
But the symptoms are not the disease itself. In this case, the disease is much deeper and much more sinister and evil than what most people realize. As one may follow down the “rabbit hole” from examining the roots of these symptoms in order to find the core of the disease, one also may find out that everything leads to something spiritual and of “non-human” origin dating back many thousands of years ago when the entire system of “advanced civilizations” appeared so sudden (called “neolithic revolution”), where slavery, monetary/financial system of debt, establishment of monarchy, political structures, military, and wars, etc. became apparent and used to feed the “physical development” of such civilization. It is the base or foundation of the whole system we live in, part of the “structural design” in order for this type of “civilization” to sustain itself and then transforming to become an “empire” through conquest and expansion by stealing other lands and resources, of course at the expense of all the sacred lives of Earth Mother and her inhabitants. This means certain elements in the society, mostly those at the “bottom of the pyramid”, are “sacrificed” so that the system can grow or develop. The sickness lies in the foundation and is embedded in the psyche of the nation or empire as it spreads to the entire elements of society.”
“Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., which many of us recognize in his “I have a dream” speech, also later on came up with the less-popular term, “Triple Evils”, in identifying the sickness within the society that is tied in the system itself. These are Racism, Militarism (leading to violence, wars, war-crimes & genocides), and Economic Exploitation (leading to extreme poverty). According to Dr. King, these triple evils are inter-connected and can’t be fought separately on its own. They are visible within all dominating empires of the world from many thousands of years ago.
When a society is fighting racism, it is beneficial only to all the individuals who sincerely fight it (many doing it just for opportunity), because that would make them to reflect upon themselves and correct the moral course in seeing and treating fellow humans, and that is definitely good for their consciousness to grow in a positive way. Same with those who oppose police brutality, violence and oppression. Upon reflection, those who fight it may realize that violence and oppression will not serve any society, other than the ones who benefit from it (namely, those at the “top of the hierarchy”: the oligarchs, the ruling elite), so they may embody the opposite traits upon themselves and become better persons within society as they themselves will oppose the use of violence and brute force to oppress others. The benefit is for human consciousness. But as for the system itself, it can never be fixed by fighting the symptoms separately, as it has never been “fixed” since the advent of civilization a long time ago. History will repeat itself as it has repeated itself many times. All empires are doomed to collapse as they can never sustain themselves that way, and we will see another one coming very soon.”
𝑇ℎ𝑒 𝑤𝑒𝑖𝑟𝑑 𝑠𝑚𝑒𝑙𝑙 𝑜𝑓 𝑝𝑎𝑛𝑑𝑒𝑚𝑖𝑐
“Again this is my personal opinion: I smell something fishy about this so-called “pandemic”, it stinks so bad. I did some research on my own, not just accepting false narratives from the so-called “mainstream media”, and I found there are many inconsistencies and half-baked theories regarding when the virus first spread, and where, and also whether its origin was “natural” or “by design”. One thing that’s certain, is that there was a simulation of the pandemic held in New York, called “Event 201”. That was in October 2019, before the news broke out even in Wuhan. Also many people have had unanswered questions regarding what actually happened at Fort Detrick bio-lab back in July 2019 when it was shut-down, and then soon after, leading to the multiple reported deaths from lung disease around the area, in which the authorities blamed vaping as the cause. But whether or not this pandemic was of natural origin or not, it doesn’t matter especially to those who always suffer, because the “official” narrative (that may become “official” history) is always written by those who dominate to benefit them in the first place, and to those who challenge that narrative, good luck, they will meet suppression and even persecution.
The bottom line, so much suffering occurs as the result of this pandemic, and it affects the arts scene and independent music industry really badly as well. Lots of independent concert venues may have to close their businesses if things can’t get back to what it used to be in due time, especially with all the “social-distancing” regulations.”
In closing, I’d like to share 2 quotes from Plato that resonate in me:
“𝑊𝑖𝑠𝑒 𝑝𝑒𝑜𝑝𝑙𝑒 𝑠𝑝𝑒𝑎𝑘 𝑏𝑒𝑐𝑎𝑢𝑠𝑒 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑦 ℎ𝑎𝑣𝑒 𝑠𝑜𝑚𝑒𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑡𝑜 𝑠𝑎𝑦; 𝑓𝑜𝑜𝑙𝑠 𝑠𝑝𝑒𝑎𝑘 𝑏𝑒𝑐𝑎𝑢𝑠𝑒 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑦 ℎ𝑎𝑣𝑒 𝑡𝑜 𝑠𝑎𝑦 𝑠𝑜𝑚𝑒𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑛𝑔.”
“𝑊𝑒 𝑐𝑎𝑛 𝑒𝑎𝑠𝑖𝑙𝑦 𝑓𝑜𝑟𝑔𝑖𝑣𝑒 𝑎 𝑐ℎ𝑖𝑙𝑑 𝑤ℎ𝑜 𝑖𝑠 𝑎𝑓𝑟𝑎𝑖𝑑 𝑜𝑓 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑑𝑎𝑟𝑘; 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑟𝑒𝑎𝑙 𝑡𝑟𝑎𝑔𝑒𝑑𝑦 𝑜𝑓 𝑙𝑖𝑓𝑒 𝑖𝑠 𝑤ℎ𝑒𝑛 𝑝𝑒𝑜𝑝𝑙𝑒 𝑎𝑟𝑒 𝑎𝑓𝑟𝑎𝑖𝑑 𝑜𝑓 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑙𝑖𝑔ℎ𝑡.”
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