The Painful Experience (2001)
3rd full-length studio album

Release Dates

Fear Dark, October 2001 (CD)
THT Productions, October 2001 (Cassette)
Clenchedfist Records, October 2001 (CD)
HROM/HIRAX Records, August 2002 (Cassette)

Track Listing

  1. The Monsters Within
  2. Crave for Solid Ground
  3. Mean Attraction
  4. Like There's No Other Way to Go
  5. Behind Closed Doors
  6. After The Storm
  7. Given Words
  8. Militia Christi
  9. The Painful Experience
  10. Via Dolorosa

Album Description

The already known brand of intense, emotional, and aggressive extreme metal of Kekal is presented here with more sophisticated progressive elements.

This album appears to the different audience but yet longtime fans of Kekal still dig this too. This album was a starting point for Kekal to go to the next level, both musically and also in the term of sales.

4 record labels released the album: Clenchedfist Records released this album on CD format. Fear Dark Records released this album on CD format. THT Productions released this album on cassette tape format for Indonesian & South-East Asian market. HROM/HIRAX Records released this album on cassette tape format for Eastern European market.

Notes about Bonus Tracks

  • Voice From Heaven (appears on Clenchedfist Records version)
  • Like There's No Other Way to Remix (appears on Fear Dark version)
  • Militia Christi (remix, appears on THT Productions version)


Album Line-Up
Jeff : guitars / vocals
Azhar : bass / vocals
Leo : guitars

Produced by: Jeff with KEKAL
Engineered & mixed by Jeff
Recorded & mixed at: Vision Studio, Jakarta, Indonesia, and at The Dream Dome, Bandung, Indonesia
Cover lay-out design by Jeff - Soundmind Graphics
Severed face sculpture by Aris Darisman
Additional guitars: Azhar & FXAJ
Additional bass: Jeff
Noises and samples: Jeff, FXAJ, & Doctor D
Synth orchestrations: Jeff
Additional vocals: Doctor D
Drums by: Sang Hitam
Additional Arrangements: Doctor D & FXAJ

Buy The Painful Experience Physical

Note: The original CD version has been sold-out.

"The Painful Experience" is now being considered as the starting point in the band's longstanding experimental/avant-garde direction that settles Kekal in the world's musical map. How do you feel about the album, and did you find it difficult to introduce such maneuver to the 'old' Kekal fans?

To me "The Painful Experience" is a return to Kekal's basic energy.. It was raw and angry, and I just love the production, it's got less reverb and more distortion on guitars.. It was a direct response to the directional mistake we took on Embrace The Dead.. What I like the most about this album is that we were on the right track, on the right direction, as it has to be in-tune to what your hearts were trying to say at that time.. This album has more of Leo's influence on the overall musical direction, he thought that it was great to combine some electronic, quasi-industrial elements into some dirty, riff-based metal music, also to make the songs shorter, more in-your-face, and rawer.. I wasn't 100% sure because he originally told me only few weeks before he left the band and moved to Australia for 4 years, so he said his ideas to me along with the news that he was about to leave the band, that was during the pre-production discussions.. Then I started to contemplate on his inputs, and eventually made them happen.. Yes we had people that stopped listening to Kekal after "Embrace The Dead", and with "The Painful Experience" we probably lost more than half of our fans who dig the first 2 Kekal albums.. But this album got much better record label promotion and distribution than the first 2, it was released by 3 labels simultaneously, so we were able to reach out to many new enthusiasts who then formed new and much more solid base for Kekal in the future..

So did Leo actually perform on "The Painful Experience"?

No he didn't.. He was already in Australia by the time the recording started, but he already gave me some of his directions and references to what he preferred the music to be, and he also contributed in giving songwriting inputs, especially to the songs that I was composing at that moment.. So it's just a nice thing to include him as a member up until this album got released, to give him a credit as he was involved in a pre-production discussions.. I was already familiar and comfortable with the raw production, because just the year before I produced an album from a band called Armageddon Holocaust with all that super raw lo-fi sound, so I thought that dry and dirty sound would also work for Kekal, but without being too much getting into the lo-fi raw, you know.. Imagine the song like "Mean Attraction" being recorded with the same production approach as "Embrace The Dead", it would just lose its power and probably its message..


Get the entire Kekal digital album discography (a bundle of 15 Kekal digital releases sold on Bandcamp including 12 full-length albums and 3 EPs) for only $27.5 USD. That's a 50% off a-la carte price.

A great way to check out the music of Kekal.

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