BECERUS is a new brutal grinding Death Metal band from Italy that just released their debut full length “Homo Homini Brutus” via Everlasting Spew Records a couple of months ago. They have no lyrics, enjoy goats a lot and shoot videos on a farm at the countryside… Got curious? Then check out the following interview we did with guitarist / bass player Giorgio Trombino for more background info…
Was BECERUS basically born out of boredom during the Corona pandemic or would you have started another band project besides ASSUMPTION anyway, no matter what? What about your singer Mario? Is his band BALATONIZER still alive and kicking?
“That’s a good one for a start! I wouldn’t say it was a Corona album or project or whatever they call them now. BECERUS is the outcome of years and years of vague projects and surreal chitchats with Mario. We had talked several times in the past about making something, so you know, maybe it was just right about time. BALATONIZER are active and I hope to see a new album of theirs soon! They kick some serious ass live, too.”
Who was the driving force in starting BECERUS and how many members are actually involved now? On all the promo pics you’re just a two-piece… on the album you’re listed as a three-piece and in your video for ‘Primeval Ignorantia’ you’re even four members…
“The only driving force in BECERUS is idiocy! Our line-up is made up of three members, i.e. Mario, me and Paul Bicipitus. As for Paul, I won’t say much aside from the fact that he’s a big, unpredictable and hostile guy, he’s proud of his belly and muscles and he certainly doesn’t like band photo shoots! We dig his surgical, yet mercilessly brutal drumming and that’s just what’s needed in the band. The guys you see in the opening sequence of the ‘Primeval Ignorantia’ videoclip are our acting friends Gianmarco (who plays the club-wielding Punisher in the rest of the clip) and Peppe.”
Since I just mentioned it already, I suppose we should also talk about that rather unusual promo video for ‘Primeval Ignorantia’ here… What does brutal Death Metal have in common with goats (I always thought they were more into Black Metal) and a farm on the countryside? Who came up with the concept for the video?
“Do you find it unusual? We believe that anything more intelligent than that would have completely spoiled what BECERUS is meant to be about ahah! Anyhow, it was Mario’s idea. First phone call about that got me laughing my ass off so much I instantly thought it was all top notch stuff, so we started planning details, Mario would look for the best primitive clubs and cudgels on the net and so forth. I live in Northern Italy, but I managed to fly back to our homeland Sicily for a couple of weeks in early March and, thank Satan, everything worked out although in the grip of big social restrictions. As for the goats, we had first dreamed of playing among pigs but the guys who helped us find the location told us the poor beasts might actually get nervous in front of a bunch of headbanging goons, so we’d better look for a more suitable cast. Goats are just fantastic and when you meet them in person you can easily see they’re everything but the devil’s beasts! They are so polite and shy it was actually hard to get them walking in front of the camera and they’d all move on the opposite side of the farm as soon as we’d step in. We go here, they go there. Crazy! On that day we were by far the worst and dumbest animals in the pack…”
According to what Mindaugas wrote in his review about your debut album “Homo Homini Brutus” somewhere else here on the site, a Becer is supposed to be “a primordial cretin and brutal monster who doesn’t use such wimpy intellectual shit as language”… Is that correct? Or did he just make up that explanation because he couldn’t think of anything else… just like me? Tell us a bit more about the origin of the band’s name.
“Mindaugas is actually close to our core intentions. The Mighty Becer is our Eddie T.H. or Vic Rattlehead. His ungainly features seduce us into making more and more obese Death Metal and he’s the center of our inspiration. He’s our fat sun and we simply rotate around him like a group of dull round planets. By the way, Becerus is fake latin for the word “Vulgar”. The first demos were written for a project we’d intended to baptize as MORTALITY (hence our stupid genre Mortal Death Metal, which is at least as dumb as MORTICIAN’s awesome “Mortal Massacre”), but Mario pushed for a more personal sounding name so off we went.”
“BECERUS have absolutely no lyrics!” You don’t hide the fact that it’s just grunting what you hear in your songs, but what actually made you do so? Writing songs with no lyrics at all is pretty unusual, even in Death Metal…
“Truth is that Mario has always been a lyrics-less singer! BALATONIZER have never had any lyric, so he’s been doing this since the second half of the 90s to say the least. For what concerns avoiding lyrics in Metal, you know well how bands like OBITUARY or MACHETAZO sang no actual words at all up to a certain point in their careers. I write lyrics for my other projects but some time when I stand in front of a microphone I stop and think “what’s the point in writing all that crap when we’re all singing like a retarded manatee?” Ahah! All in all, the sonic difference between ultra gutturally-growled lyrics and non-verbal grunts is probably very low. When we’re asked about that I mostly say “you want lyrics? Then go listen to Bob Dylan!“”
Isn’t it rather limited to just grunt certain things instead of having real words that you can focus on (even if nobody understands them)? I mean, you can easily start to repeat yourself pretty quick, by always using the same grunts, don’t you think?
“Yes of course, but we are not worried about being repetitive more than so. The no-lyrics choice is just one side of the coin. Mario works his ass off on prosody, really! He spends months studying the songs, finding his way through riffs and trying to come up with vocal verses you can actually remember although no words are sung. His grunts are the original anti-language of the Mighty Becer himself. Nothing is ever improvised in our music. We obsessive-compulsively plan everything in order to have things the way we envision them.”
What about the song titles then? I mean, if you have no lyrics at all, how do you decide which title is fitting for which song, if there’s just the music that is related to it?
“The titles set the overall mood. We have a lot of fun discussing them really. It’s Mario’s job actually, as I only came up with the album’s title. Everything else is, for the most part, crazy shit we laugh about. Titles always come after the music for us. Once you have the song, you drop a few names and see what fits best. As easy as a punch in the face by the Mighty Becer!”
Which bands did influence you musically when you started to write music for BECERUS? I suppose it was meant to sound different to your other bands, so is BECERUS an outlet for stuff you can’t realize in ASSUMPTION or BALATONIZER for example?
“I have mostly played Death Metal all of my life but I love experimenting with other genres too. I have other projects to do that. BECERUS is a kind of band we didn’t feel like wanting to experiment a lot with. We’ve always loved the old Florida scene and USDM so much it’s now in our DNA, I guess. I’ve never been to Florida but even though there aren’t as much swamps as in Sicily, we probably have the same damp city heat and seaside ignorance, so you see, we’ve got to have something in common ahah!”
How did you get the record deal with Everlasting Spew Records? Did you have a finished product already, that you shopped around or did they have so much faith in you guys that they signed you just because they were familar with your other bands?
“Giorgio and Tito are hard working fellas who know their Death Metal and have always been a powerful twin force. Everlasting Spew is also ASSUMPTION’s label, so it was the very first one I wanted to get in touch with when we first assembled a full demo album. They were instantly cool and very supportive right from the start and we believe they did an awesome job with the album and the promotion. We couldn’t hope for a better label for our debut, really.”
Tell us a bit about the writing and recording of “Homo Homini Brutus”… How much time did you spend on writing the songs, did you write them all on your own or did your vocalist Mario also come up with song ideas?
“I am a fast writer, I get this real flood of riffs, beats, bits and ideas that I try to put together in a short amount of time in order to have a songwriting situation that’s as compact as possible. I have done albums in the past where some songs had been written within a long time span, thus revealing all the changes in taste, playing and intention. I don’t like that. I think albums are photographs of what you believe to be your best by the time you work on them, and then you hopefully do better with the next one. I send Mario full instrumentals and we trust each other’s work 100%, so much I first heard his vocal tracks only when he sent me the final ones straight from the recording studio. Same goes with Paul’s parts. We’re not the kind of musicians who argue over riffs and stuff like that. Fuck that pretentious shit, give some Death Metal!”
“Guitars and bass tracked at Giorgio’s home studio” is printed on the CD, so do you really own a real studio yourself or is it just a nicer description for your living room?
“Actually it’s not my living room but just another room in the house ahaha! You got me Frank!”
The production sounds incredibly powerful and the material very tight. How long did it take you until you had finished the recordings?
“I think I had all instruments already tracked down by the end of June 2020. I went back to Palermo in August to re-amp all guitars and bass with our friend Silvio “Spadino” Punzo but then Mario recorded his parts sometime during Autumn of the same year due to work commitment. Then I got it all together, mixed it and and sent it over to Carlo Altobelli’s Toxic Basement studio for mastering. The sound is very precise and I like Paul’s bass drum a lot but I think we can all, always do better!”
The cover artwork looks pretty cool and fits the band’s overall attitude very well, I think. Was it completely created by Dahmer Art or did you give them any rough sketches or ideas how you wanted it to look like? At least the Latin album title “Homo Homini Brutus” seems to describe the guy on the cover pretty well…
“Yes, the early sketches of the Becer were drawn by our mate Sandro Di Girolamo. Dahmer was suggested by the label, I only knew his work for EXHUMED but we in BECERUS all loved his work and are still very happy about the result. He managed to convert this world of ignorance into something really lively. I strongly suggest all readers to check out his portfolio. Killer!”
Do you have plans to play live with BECERUS in the near future as well or is it just a recording side project for you?
“We’ve got plans for live gigs but first we’ve got to wait for the international situation to settle down a bit. We’d love to play live and see people do the Becer dance!”
Ok Giorgio, I guess I’m running out of questions, so I’ll better let you go now. Thanks for taking the time and all the best. Any closing words maybe?
“Thank you so much Frank for the interesting questions and the support! You and Voices… are absolute legends and we owe so much to your interest and work in underground Metal. Stay strong, GRUNT and, to quote Sylvester Stallone: keep punching!”