My first early recollection of Indonesian Metal was Metalik Klinik I cassette . It has several legendary band from the local scene such as Jasad, Tengkorak, Bluekuthuq, Purgatory and Betrayer. The bassline from Betrayer’s Bendera Kuning still plays clearly in my head.
Back in 2002-2004, there was Wijaya Metal program in Wijaya FM from 6 to 9 pm. Not just usual radio friendly metal such as Avenged Sevenfold or Edane’s Kau Pikir Kau lah segalanya, But they play even the extreme ones such as to Dimmu Borgir’s Progenies of the great apocalypse, Craddle of Filth & Finntroll’s ridiculously catchy Trollhamaren. The kind of music modern radio wont even poke using a long stick. This programs also play local music which introduced me Surabaya’s local metal music such as Devadata.
One thing i didnt like about the old local metal releases was the shitty recording quality. Getting a overpowered muddy distortion with blast beat banging your ears makes the album not comfortable to listen to. It was really annoying especially in Metalik Klinik series. This issue was gladfully over in this modern days. Even the not-yet popular band like Nectura is able to release metal album with very good audio quality.
Enough for the long intro, heres the review of metal albums taken from my CD shelf for today’s edition of Indonesian Sounds.
Burgerkill – Venomous
Founded in 1995, Burgerkill has come a long way from Ujungberung into London where they were awarded Metal as Fuck by UK’s Metal Hammer for spearheading Indonesian metal scene. They are probably the most decorated metal band in Indonesia . Some can argue Seringai would be the contender since they opened Metallica’s second coming in Jakarta.
Venomous is Burgerkill fourth album, the first release featuring Vicky as vocalist after their long frontman Ivan Scumbag passed away. Its aggresive, dynamic and with more positive tone in the album compared to their previous nihilistic Beyond Coma & Despair. On dynamic, Burgerkill really knows how to be aggressive without exhausting your ear. Case in point for this, listen to 2 minute intro build up in “Only The Strong”. It was beautiful
Venomous is the best Indonesian metal album ive listened so far. Along with The Sigit’s Visible Idea of Perfection, it was the one of a kind release which will blow your expectation for an Indonesian album.
Ratings : 5 out of 5
Is it really good : It fucking is
Recommended tracks : Only The Strong, Under The Scar, Shadow of Sorrow
Nectura- Awake To Decide
By the time im writing this, big chance youve probably never heard of this Bandung-based Nectura (with snobbish hipstery tone). Omunium store posted the pictures of Awake To Decide album and judging from the white crisp cover design, i had a hunch that this is dope. Several stream on Soundcloud later, i traded 50k for of this album overnight delivery.
Awake To Decide is a fierce album which reminds me of my all time favorite metal band, Killswitch Engage especially in “The Uprising Echoes”. All of the tracks are aggresive modern sounded metal filled with moshpit inducing breakdown which is typical metalcore. In the last track”, Nectura partnered with Ex-Homogenic goth artist Risa Saraswati (Sarasvati) to deliver Nightwish-esque track called Touch The Light. That last track is very very good.
Quality enjoyable debut album , i hope i hear more great things from them going forward.
Ratings : 4 out of 5
Sounds like : Killswitch Engage, Atreyu, Bring Me The Horizon
Recommended tracks : The Uprising Echoes, Passive Aggresive Bullshit, Touch The Light
Down For Life – Hymne Perang Akhir Pekan
Down For Life was known as the poster boys for Solo’s international music Festival, Rock in Solo. Hymne Perang Akhir Pekan (HPAP) is their second release after Symphony Kebisingan Babi Neraka in 2007. Compared to Venomous & Awake To Decide, Solo-based metal band Down For Life deliver darker & grittier metal album Hymne Perang Akhir Pekan (HPAP). Full with religious reference, HPAP is a heavy album in terms of distortion tone and song lyrics. Its actually not my taste for metal, the heavyweight distortion with generally medium tempo exhaust me after 3-4 tracks.
Still as the usual case of Demajors release, the recording quality was great which makes this record worth having.
Ratings : 3 out 5
Burgerkill’s Begundal, Seringai’s Serigala Militia, Down For Life ? : Pasukan Babi Neraka
Recommended tracks : Pesta Partai Barbar, Kami Adalah Api
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Komunal – Hitam Semesta
As with the previous three album, i really dig metal album with clear & crisp distortion. This one is different. Hitam Semesta (HS) is a cross over between metal and rock’n’roll album. Recorded live, HS deliver raw sounds like the kind of Jet, White Stripes, Black Keys combined with the Lemmy Kilmister level of distortion, drum pattern and tenacity. Listening to track “Manusia Baja”, youll be picturing dark damp studio which smells like the combination of cigarette butt, cheap whiskey and excessive manliness.
Hitam Semesta is a second album from Bandung based band Komunal. They combined blues, rock and roll, stoner, thrash metal into what they called as Rock Petir. You can hear classic thrash metal in Praktika Bisnis Karnivora and Blues Menuju Thrash, Gary Moore-ish bluesy rock in Hitam Semesta, stoner / sludge metal in Pasukan Perang Dari Rawa and even country in the closing track Higher Mountain.
All in all, Komunal’s Hitam Semesta is enjoyable track to track. Perfect album to play during roadtrip with your brethrens.
Ratings : 5 out 5
Is there any side effects listening to this album ? : Sudden growth in beard and chest hair
Recommended tracks : Manusia Baja, Pasukan Perang Dari Rawa, Distorsi Mulut Setan
Indonesian Sounds is where i write about all things related to indonesian music. A little contribution to appreciate great local artist & bands who produce quality music which accompanied me in my daily activities. Read previous edition of Indonesian Sounds here.