The world of heavy metal wouldn’t be what it is today without the influence of Brazilian metalheads. The land that gave us classic bands like Sepultura or Sarcófago and festivals, like Rock in Rio, has more than earned a place of honor in the heart of most heshers worldwide. The culture and the overall musical community in Brazil has led to some truly innovative and influential metal exports from our South American friends. Give it some time and you might just find yourself adding Rotborn to the list of Brazilian metal luminaries.
Founded in 2021, Rotborn plays their brand of no-frills death metal with stunning ferocity. Debut EP, Genocidal Revolution, and first full-length, On the Perspective of an Imminent Downfall, both exploded Rotborn onto the scene in 2022. With two killer records out, the band doesn’t have any intention of slowing down anytime soon and has their sights set on continuing their path of death metal domination. I recently caught up with guitarist Vitor Caricati to chat about all things Rotborn.
First off, how did Rotborn get started? What made you want to start this kind of band?
Vitor: Well, the band first kicked off with Jeferson [Tarzia, bass] and Nestor [Carrera drums] becoming friends. Both of them had a great desire of starting a new band, focusing on extreme music. At that time, Nestor was out of his previous (now actual again) band called Escarnium and Jeff was playing different kinds of music. So, they tried other musicians for the project. However, it didn’t work out. So, during the pandemic, Jeff and I had this conversation of me joining their project, then I suggested bringing some songs we recorded previously with an old band we had to serve as the basis of this new one. Afterwards, after trying some guys, we got in touch with Luis Satan – who I played with before – and then we had a really nice connection. We performed three of these old songs during the first rehearsals, Nestor brought another two songs so we started to shape our music from this very beginning.
How did you get into death metal in the first place and who are some of the bigger influences within the genre on the band?
Vitor: We love extreme music and, since day one, the plan was to compose songs we wanted to listen to. We had influence from several bands of different schools, such as American and European death metal, crust/punk, and grindcore. I could mention bands like Aborted, Entombed, Sepultura, Cannibal Corpse, Napalm Death, Pestilence, Suffocation, Extreme Noise Terror, Vomitory, Bloodbath, and Misery Index as major references for us.
What’s your process like for writing the music side of things?
Vitor: It’s pretty much simple to compose nowadays since we can bring out songs and ideas previously by internet and home studio. We assemble the riffs, work on the structure, and think of the vocal patterns. After that, we play it all together in the studio, observing what goes well or not.
How do you write the lyrics for the band? What do you turn to for inspiration for the songs?
Vitor: We don’t have a rule for composing lyrics or a specific topic. We write a lot about politics and the current state of the world – since reality is the most brutal inspiration for death/grind content – but we can talk about different stuff as well, such as fictional stuff, the bitterness of the human condition. We’re definitely an antifascist band.
How did getting to record that killer debut come about? What was the recording process like and what did you learn that you have taken to future recordings? How stoked were you when you heard the final mix?
Vitor: To be honest, things started to happen really fast after we released the first EP, Genocidal Resolution. We got signed with the labels Redefining Darkness and Cianeto Recs for the release of the EP and shortly after that we were proposed to tour in Europe in September 2022. So, we had a very short deadline to deliver an album to promote on tour until June. We had most parts of the songs already composed so it wasn’t that difficult to do it. We record guitars and bass in our home studio and drums and vocals were recorded at RMS Studio near the town we live. I think all recording processes are always really rewarding and great experiences and it always motivates us to get things to a next level for the upcoming materials.
I wanted to ask about a few songs on the record specifically to get the story behind the musical/lyrical inspiration for them. What’s the origin of “Condemned?” Was that always intended to be the opener?
Vitor: In fact, “Condemned” was one of those songs Jeff and I brought from our previous band. The structure of the song was really close to its original, but we added some new textures to it for this new recording. We had to change some verses from its original to fit the lyrical content we wanted to approach. Lyrically, the song is a statement against the savageries of relentless capitalist society, convicting people to consume more and more. To be frank, we had no idea “Condemned” would be the opener [laughs]. It just happened to be it after some discussion among us. And, in fact, it turned out to be the perfect choice.
What about the origin of “Unnatural Invading Parasites?”
Vitor: Once again, one of those songs that came from our previous band. We changed a little bit here and there (also the lyrics) and made it even more powerful than it was.
How about the story behind “Cleptoplutocracy?” I love that title too!
Vitor: This is a song that goes directly to the fucking greedy-ass millionaires and plutocrats all over the world such as Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos. We can’t stand the influence those motherfuckers have in the world nowadays, spreading fake meritocratic bullshit around. Musically, it is almost a tribute to grindcore bands we love, such as Brutal Truth, Napalm Death, Terrorizer, ROT, Nasum, etc. We really love those short fast ones. Short songs are even cooler when they have huge names [laughs].
“Praise the Downfall” was another favorite of mine. How did that one come about?
Vitor: This one also came from the old sessions alongside “Condemned” and “Unnatural.” It’s got a more groovy vibe with influences from Celtic Frost and Obituary. Of course, it has got a typical From Enslavement to Obliteration change of rhythm. For this one, we had to totally change the lyrical content since the original one was basically made from random sentences. Plus, the title of the album is in it.
That album cover is killer too! I love the ominous feeling to it. Who did it and how much direction did you give them? To you, why does that best represent this album?
Vitor: The ideological conception came from our bass player, Jeff. However, the development of it came all from our drummer Nestor, who works with artwork and design for a long time. He also has a brand for this kind of artwork. You guys should give it a check, it’s called Dismal artwork (@dismalartwork on instagram).
What’s your local scene like where you are in Brazil? Is there one to be active in and what kind of effect has it had on you all as musicians?
Vitor: Well, Brazil is well known for its extreme metal scene worldwide. The region we came from – the countryside of Sao Paulo – has also got great bands, not necessarily just death or grindcore bands. I think that after the COVID pandemic, many kids started to have a strong interest in metal music again. I can assure you that the scene is growing stronger and younger nowadays, which is awesome. It’s so good to see young people coming to the shows, not just the old farts like me [laughs].
Lastly, what’s next for Rotborn? What are your goals for the future of the band and plans for the rest of 2023?
Vitor: The plan for 2023 is to compose and record new material. We still don’t know exactly whether we are having an EP or just online singles but we’re definitely gonna have something new and wicked to come in this very year. And of course keep on with the live gigs more and more.
Photo at top: On the Perspective of an Imminent Downfall album cover.