I've always had a certain level of respect for Kekal. Their first album Beyond the Glimpse of Dreams has always been my favorite of their releases. From there on, the band started to go down the road of experimenting with all kinds of different vocal styles, musical styles, and sounds....all the while retaining that familar feel that told you that it was still Kekal. The Painful Experience garnered the band a larger fanbase due to much better production and what seemed to be a larger push into the general marketplace. An appearance on a Cradle of Filth tribute didn't hurt things either. Still, they were one of those bands that were good for what they did, but nothing that really blew me away. Yeah, I considered them a very talented band, but the experimenting got on my nerves somewhat. Especially those mega-annoying high pitched vocals on The Painful Experience and their split with Slechtvalk.
Enter 1000 Thoughts of Violence. Ummm...yeah....this stuff is like...really, really good! Gone are the annoying high vocals. That alone brings tears of joy to my eyes. But what's more is that this band has really matured as a whole. This album experiments more than any of their other material, but somehow this is their most cohesive and consistent album yet. I'm very impressed, and I can finally say that Kekal has topped their Beyond the Glimpse of Dreams album. This Indonesian duo has put together a finely crafted slab of extreme metal that while being rooted in black metal, can really be called experimental, progressive, technical, extreme metal.
The band opens the album with "Subsession/Once Again it Failed". What an incredible first song! The band said that this is their most extreme and violent album yet. Well, it's not that way 100% of the time, but when it gets extreme...man is it violent and extreme! The crushing riffs are just freakin' brutal! And the vocals are better here than the band has ever done. There are some clean vocals mixed in (some of which could be better executed), but the extreme vocals (that are comprised of mostly black, but some death) are absolutely killer! The band then moves on to "Vox Diaboli" on the second track and this is a scorcher to say the least.
The band delves quite frequently into some mellower material, but they always come raging back with intensity. Take the song "Violent Society" for instance...the song is just ripping your ears to shreds when all of the sudden the band breaks into some Indonesian hip-hop...or something like that. I kid you not...there is some guy going "yo, yo!" in the background. I was busting up laughing when I first heard it. Then after almost dragging it on too long, they come roaring back with extreme metal to end the song.
The only thing that I really didn't like here was the female vocals on "Beyond Numerical Reasons". Just like the female vocals on Beyond the Glimpse of Dreams, they don't work. Sorry, but that Asian accent just sounds too weird in extreme music. The rest of this 12 minute long closing song is terrific though.
The lyrics are still gonna take some time to digest. Some of them are on the surface, but some of them go deeper. Production is excellent and packaging is nicely done. The band is still without a complete human drummer, but as with past albums, they do such a fine job with this that most times you don't even notice.
Kekal has definitely taken a huge step forward with 1000 Thoughts of Violence. Experimenting and doing something original doesn't always = good. However, Kekal has found just that right mix of experimenting and originality to go along with their base sound that my respect level has greatly increased for this band. This album will take patience to get into, but is worth the effort. Yet another great release for Fear Dark Records. (Review by Matt)