9th Full-length Album (2012)
THT Productions/T.O.P., February 2005 (Cassette, digital)
Fear Dark, March 2005 (CD, digital)
Former members of KEKAL also contribute in the recording, making "Acidity" to be the first official reunion album for Kekal.
"Acidity" is a unique and diverse KEKAL album, with lots of different emotions and thoughts displayed both in the music and lyrics, ranging from fast extreme songs, mid-paced progressive-laden rock/metal, some slower atmospheric symphonic metal, and also some unique experimental pieces. Every individual song cannot represent the whole album, but it stands as a part of the album's general concept.
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. Romanitika Destruksi
09. Blessing in Disguise
10. Empty Space
Total Running Time: 56:06
- Album Line-Up:
- - Jeff Arwadi (vocals/guitars/programming)
- - Azharlevi Sianturi (bass/vocals)
- - Leo Setiawan (guitars)
- - Newin Atmarumeksa (vocals)
- - Didi Priyadi (guitars)
- With special guests:
- - Jason DeRon (guitar)
- - L Rion (drums)
Produced, engineered, and mixed by Jeff Arwadi
Recorded at Vision Studio, Jakarta - Indonesia & Studio Vertigo, Melbourne - Australia
Mixed at Vision Studio
Cover artwork & layout by Soundmind Graphics
Buy Acidity Physical: CD
Official Music Video
Flashback: Talks with Jeff about Acidity
"Acidity" is a very unique guitar oriented album, what was in your mind when starting to write the music for the album, knowing that you must had been 'haunted' by "1000 Thoughts of Violence" as it was your most successful album at that time? Were you afraid that the material would not meet the same level of excellence as the previous album?
I remember telling the guys from Fear Dark label during the European tour, that the next album will not be a part.2 of "1000 Thoughts of Violence".. No matter how successful "1000 Thoughts..." did in album sales at that time, it was just the right album at a right time, and 2005 will not be a right time again.. In other words, I wanted "Acidity" to be different and has its own character, and I hoped people won't expect it to be another "1000 Thoughts of Violence" or compare it to that album.. Many of the songs on "Acidity" are recycled from earlier demo songs, even as early as 1996, because we wanted it to be some sort of a '10th anniversary reunion' album, so it should be a little kaleidoscopic, one song can get you into one era of Kekal and so on.. And all the rhythm guitars were recorded live while standing-up, using monitor speakers with no headphones on and with no overdub or editing at all, even to the sound, to give it more of a live album feel as opposed as the more processed, clinical feel on "1000 Thoughts...".. I was worried a little, yes, because I knew that the record label would set higher expectation for the album after "1000 Thoughts...", and that the album sales might not meet their expectation.. The album isn't selling as good as "1000 Thoughts...", but it gained very positive reviews, so the label was pretty much happy about it..
On track #1, "Characteristicon", there are 2 versions, one with clean vocals on the Indonesian release, and the other one with the harsh, black metal vocals on the international release. Any reason why there are 2 versions of the same song?
Originally, the one with clean vocals was the final mix for all versions, and it was already mastered for the Indonesian release.. But when the guys from Fear Dark (the record label from Holland) listened to it, they didn't quite like it.. They prefer the opening song to have the raspy vocals, as a first impression that "this is still a heavy, extreme metal album with blast beats and all that stuff".. I don't mind with both versions, I agree that "Characteristicon" is a heavy song and perfect for the opening for the album.. So I just re-did the vocals for the Fear Dark version.. The Indonesian version had already been released by the time I was recording the one with raspy vocals..
The following is an excerpt of interview with Jeff about the album Acidity, published on a now defunct Nekroblog
What is the meaning behind the album title "Acidity", if there any?
It is related with "urban stress" created by our urban lifestyles and the way we work everyday.. The term "Acidity" is actually a medical term, and it is a state when your stomach produces acid in an excessive level, when you are in a highly stress level (the stress level which most who live and work in a huge city like Jakarta have), your stomach tends to produce a high amount of acid, that's why you always feel hungry when you're in stress.. Also if you eat fast-food, the chemicals in there can make your stomach to produce an excessive amount of acid.. So the more stress you have and doubling with the heavy consumtion of fast-food can make the acidity level to be very high, even could be deadly.. Ironically, our urban lifestyles leave no other options.. It's killing you softly.. You will face daily job-stress each day, and you only can eat at fast-food stores because you have a short lunch-time and an almost empty pocket..
I've noticed some changes in the production of Acidity, one example the drum sound. The new album has the snare sounds louder and it is set in a higher pitch, also the kick drums lack some accentuation. Is that because you used the real drums, or because you guys decided to make exactly what it is as a part of the album concept?
All of the drum production is intended, as a part of the whole production for the album.. You can hear the different mix in bass and guitars too, right..? If you ask me for the reason.. The main thing is because we wanted to sound more "rock" and "groovy" again.. As you know, in our previous album "1000 Thoughts of Violence" we wanted to get all those dark sounds, so I brought in the kick drums up in the mix until the level that you cannot really feel the groove of the songs.. The bass guitar mixed quite low and distorted a lot in "1000 Thoughts..." because that's the good way to get the eerie feel of the song, I had to make some hollow at the middle-low frequencies, and you can feel the sound reflects the emptiness in your heart.. But in "Acidity" we didn't want to make a whole dark album, so we changed back to the general production like our first album "Beyond The Glimpse of Dreams", while the snare drums should sound more "alive" and the bass-drums kept at the low frequency and aren't very "clicking".. And bass guitar sounds more "in-your-face" as you can hear all the basslines.. This is the ideal "rock" mix I guess, the best way for us to get the good groove..
Now switch to guitar.... You used Floyd Rose or up-down bridge system for your guitars, how do you feel about playing with that kind of bridge? Do you think it is necessary for your type of guitar playing?
I started to play electric guitar in 1989, before I had my own guitar I tried some guitars at the rehearsal studio, from Strat, Telecaster, some Gibsons, but I never thought they were cool enough until I found a "metal" guitar with double humbuckers and Floyd Rose system on it.. I thought just "Wow, it looks great, it looks real metal".. I couldn't play guitar in 1989 so my impression was entirely based on the look rather than sound, you know.. When I got a chance to get my own guitar couple years later, I chose the one with humbucker pickups and Floyd Rose tremolo bridge.. And then I developed my playing from that guitar.. I don't think Floyd Rose system is good enough to maintain the tuning.. If you use it too much, like playing some evil screamin' metal solos, you will need to tune your strings again.. It's not very recommended for live shows unless you bring more than 1 guitar and have your own guitar technician..
You used a lot of guitar solos (played by 4 guitarists) in "Acidity". It will be considered "too much" by modern metal producers and music critics. Do you think that KEKAL will get critisized as "metal band of the past" instead of "metal band of the future" because using so many solo guitars?
We have been criticized by few reviewers for doing everything too much.. You know, too much experiments, too much non-metal elements, too complex, too much electronic sounds, etc.. But, yet people see KEKAL as a unique band because of all of these "too much" aspects in our music.. We never follow trend so when we use something in our music, we never consider using it based on current trend in music.. We just do it because we love to do it.. People can love or hate our music I don't care, they have a lot of things in this world to choose.. Until today I haven't read any review who says that we use "too much" solo guitars on "Acidity".. I'm still waiting to hear all their opinions on the future reviews..
I always see metal music more as "entertainment" rather than "art". People come to metal shows to get themselves headbanged, moshing, slamming, stage-diving, and having fun with their body movements. It is more similar to dance/house/rave music or hip-hop. The presentation of "art" in most metal bands are very different than the presentation of art in industrial/noise bands. Some metal bands utilize theatrical performances and sometimes happening art, but the response in the audience are different. As a metal musician, where do you think you stand between "art" and "entertainment"? And do you think metal music limits your freedom to express yourself?
To me, the art itself always have an aspect of entertainment in it.. It has never been like "art" versus "entertainment", they actually walk hand-in-hand.. "Entertainment" is a very common term.. "To get pleased with", is a synonym of "to get entertained with".. If something pleases you, you can also say that it entertains you.. Whether an art is entertaining or not, it only depends on the impact to people, but how many people..? That's the case.. The definition of "entertainment" for today's society is when something is appealing to the masses, to a large number of people, to society.. A piece of art, like a painting or a song, sometimes only pleases very few people, sometimes only pleases the one who made it and no one else.. It is an entertainment, but yet not enough statistically to be labelled "entertainment" because only very few people who can get pleased with.. I think KEKAL music should please ourselves the band, if not we wouldn't record it anyway.. haha.. But is our music entertaining enough for today's standard of "entertainment"? I cannot say, because if we use today's standard, I don't think KEKAL music can appeal to so many people and can please the masses.. But I wouldn't say that I don't want my music to be entertaining, because it does entertain..I don't think metal music limits my freedom to express myself, as long as I don't get stuck with its tradition and "rules".. I don't care whether people would consider our music as metal or not.. And I don't care if the audience would get themselves headbanged or moshing to our music, or just stand up, sit down, sleep, whatever.. I don't really into headbanging on stage myself when playing music, sometimes I do a little but it's just for counting the beat, you know.. And we don't interact too much with the audience during our set.. That's our own expression.. Typical metal bands do shouting to the audience like; "How are you people, are you hot yet..? Now we'll make you hotter than hell.." as you might expect from rock n' roll band playing at the prom night.. But we're just playing our music and that's all.. We don't follow the rules and tradition in heavy metal.. We're musically anarchists.. I have enough freedom to be myself when I write music as when I'm on the stage, even though we play metal music..