Kekal is an extreme, avant-garde, and progressive/experimental heavy metal band from Jakarta, Indonesia. Throughout their career, they have incorporated such diverse styles as black metal, progressive metal, electronica, jazz, trip-hop, industrial, and tribal.
They started in 1995 as a more straightforward extreme metal band. Kekal were one of the first heavy metal bands from Indonesia to make international inroads. It was also one of the first black metal bands to profess Christian beliefs.
Throughout the first 5 years, they developed their 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 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 which led to their first mini-European tour. Not long after a successful mini-European Tour in 2004, they were back to the studio to record their 5th album Acidity, which was released in 2005. They made even further experiments on their sixth album, The Habit of Fire, which found the band decreasing their early metal sound to give more room for jazz, avant-garde and electronic elements; hence the term 'post-metal' is brought to describe the music.
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 rumours 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 two 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 as 2 versions: A free download version and a limited edition CD version with total 11 songs including an A-ha cover song.
On August 12, 2009, Jeff announced that he left Kekal, and that the name would continue but without active members. He said that, as well as unspecified personal reasons, he decided to leave the band because, after being closer to nature and in a less densely populated city in Canada, he felt more at peace, and that he was unable to continue to make dark and angry metal music which he did in the past with Kekal. Shortly after, Kekal started to offer 3 albums for free download, including their most-selling 2003 album 1000 Thoughts of Violence. All 3 albums are available on their official website.
Many of their fans perceived that Kekal has technically split-up/disbanded at the moment band leader Jeff announced his departure from the band, despite the fact that Kekal as an institution still exists and the institution itself is not affected by any founding member leaving. To end the confusions among their fans, the band issued a statement posted on their official Facebook Page: "KEKAL IS NOT DEAD!!!! When Jeff left Kekal it doesn't mean the band is dead!". The band's MySpace and Facebook Pages are still active and currently being managed by volunteers from the band's Street Team members.
In early 2010, it was announced that Kekal was working on a new album, despite the fact that there are no active members. Instead, in a truly boundary-pushing fashion, three of the former members, Jeff Arwadi, Azhar Levi Sianturi, and Leo Setiawan, contributed to the new album.
On June 19th, Kekal announced a sneak peek at information about the album, few days before the official date posted on their website. This is the eighth studio the band has made. The new album is appropriately titled 8.
On August 15th, 2010, the band announced that a re-mastered, limited edition version of Embrace the Dead is available for free download on their Bandcamp.com site, for up to a 1000 downloads.
The album was set to be released by Whirlwind Records during December, 2010, on CD and as a digital download, and on December 22, 2010, the album was made available for pre-order, which included an offer of free shipping within Europe up to December 24.