SEMBAHULUN is a black metal duo from East Lombok, Indonesia. Founded as MAYAT in 2008 by Sembalun-born Riyal when he studied Indonesian Literature in a university in Malang, East Java. Black metal enthusiasts Riyal and fellow students Arga (guitars), Hendra (drums) and Ary (bass) agreed to join force forming MAYAT (English: Corpse).
Then newly-formed Mayat produced a single Cry for the Dead and played in some underground gigs around Malang area. The band soon developed in a complicated situation due to members’ study activities, and finally moved back to their hometowns left Riyal as the band sole survivor. Mayat’s fate became uncertain.
Back to Sembalun
In 2011, Riyal was back to Sembalun, a hillside village in Rinjani Mountain, Lombok Island and decided to reform Mayat. As a remote area, it was hard to find the right musicians in Sembalun to complete a black metal band initial lineup. Riyal met former Mataram-based punk band Discrete’s guitarist Joe and later recruited drummer Egoth. The new Mayat was reborn.
Guitarist of Lombok’s black metaller Assyrus, Iyan joined as Mayat’s additional bassist.
They planned a new concept, to tell more into traditions, culture and nature of Sembalun. They opted new name SEMBAHULUN to replace Mayat as their band name.
Sembahulun was previous name for Sembalun whose origins could be traced back to fourteenth century when Islam was spread in Lombok by Islamic scholars from Java and Makassar.
During that time, the native Sasak Tribe still practiced Hindu as their main religion, mixed with ancestor’s animism and dynamism. The missions introduced Islam toward the regions by adopting religious values that Sasak people practiced at the moment, aimed to attract more followers. This method resulted a syncretic form of Islam and Hindu called Wetu Telu.
The Wetu Telu survived centuries later until nineteenth century when a wave of Islamic preachers came into the area teaching the original concept of Sunni Islam.
Sembahulun people was one of the last communities in Lombok to practice Wetu Tulu. It was until 1960’s the people embraced Islam. Sembahulun derived from word “Sembah” (worshiping) and Ulun (head, above), means place to worship the One God.
The history of Sembahulun inspired Riyal to adopt the name as the band’s name and influenced him in lyrics writing.
This formation wrote four songs i.e. Sekibat Lante, Kadal Nongak, Without The Light and Bayangan Tuhan.
Sekibat Lante is an adaptation of a mantra of piercing wounds (stabbing and bullets) immune. The myth says the Sekibat Lante is the king of mantra in Sasak Tribe, using Sasaknese language (a mix of Sanskrit, Ancient Javanese and Ancient Balinese languages).
Kadal Nogak is an adaptation of a classic Sasaknese poetry tells about the noble ancestral messages.
Without the Light tells about the Wetu Telu worshipers.
Bayangan Tuhan (Shadow of God) tells about the gradual spread of Islam in Sembalun.
Since then, Sembaluhun began to reign many gigs in Lombok.
In early of 2013, Joe Discrete departed due to his commitments to work and family. Drummer Egoth left subsequently to pursue a new career in Malaysia. Riyal faced a solid situation whether to disband or to continue the band, since he could not find any black metal musicians in his area to fill the required line up.
He traveled to Mataram, the capital city of West Nusa Tenggara Province where he met Suffered Children’s guitarist Awan and session guitarist Barra Adiarra. The musicians agreed to help Riyal reviving Sembahulun. Vocalist/drummer of Wail/Berhala Ash Hell was recruited as additional player. Iyan Assyrus worked as additional bassist.
The new line up composed Lembah Perawan, a song tells about the “other side” of Mount Rinjani, and recorded single Gending Sembahulun which featured Gamelan percussionists from Sembalun village. The recording took place at Minority Studio, Mataram.
Gending Sembahulun tells about the relationship between human and human, human and nature, and human and God.
In the end of 2013, Barra Adiarra quit due to irreconcilable differences with the band concept. Sembahulun went into hiatus while members focused on other projects. Riyal played with some punk, grindore and Gothic metal bands. Awan decided to leave the band at a later date.
After a two-year break, Sembahulun made its second comeback. In 2016, Riyal was introduced by a friend to Andri Fasi Mardinata who is known under moniker Ari Cakra, former Madura-based black metal act Evil Tanius. Ari relocated to Lombok due to his duty in State Ministry of Education. Ari was behind Legion Of Madura, formed in 1997 with the late Yayak Rajam and Dolores Bonardi.
The twosome is preparing Sembahulun’s self-produced full-length debut album by re-recording previous singles and to record the four earlier songs. The debut employs some additional players including Ash Hell, Iyan Assyrus, Awan Surfer and the Gamelan Ensemble from Sembalun village.
The debut, titled Lost Inheritance, is scheduled to release in the end of this year.
Riyal in his interview with www.Musik.or.id told about the lyric themes in the album. All lyrics were written by him, incorporating traditional Sasaknese rites and myths in a proper way so they will not against the Islamic teaching that he embraced.
He cited Immortal, Satyricon, Burzum, Summoning, and Emperor as the band’s main influences, and some black metallers from Indonesia such as Sacrifice, Perish, Ritual Orchestra, Soulsick, Warkvlt – just to name a few.
Where Do We Go Rockumentary
Sembahulun and some Indonesian prominent black metal bands, were featured in Where Do We Go, a rockumentary about black metal music movement in Indonesia. The film was directed by Hernandes Saranela in 2016.
Riyal Mayat – vocals (2008 – present)
Ari Cakra – guitars (2016 – present)
Arga – guitars (2008 – 2011, as Mayat)
Hendra – drums (2008 – 2011, as Mayat)
Ary – bass (2008 – 2011, as Mayat)
Joe Discrete – guitars (2011 – 2013)
Egoth – drums (2011 – 2013)
Barra Adiarra – guitars (2013)
Awan – guitars (2013)
Ash Hell – drums (2012 – present)
Iyan Assyrus – bass ( 2013 – present)