Photo credit: Dani Moreira

Desalmado: São Paulo-based deathgrind quartet talks to Chaoszine about their agressive and original sound

Author Flavia Andrade - 5.2.2022

Desalmado is one of the most influential extreme metal bands in Brazil. Caio Augusttus (vocals), Estevam Romera (guitar), Bruno Teixeira (bass) and Ricardo Nutzmann (drums) formed the deathgrind quartet in 2004, in São Paulo, and have since performed in many music festivals both in Brazil and abroad. Their lyrics bring political and social themes, as well as reflections on human nature. After the critically acclaimed album “Save Us From Ourselves”, released in 2018, Desalmado has seen growing media interest, which led to an international deal for a limited edition vinyl release. The following tour had more than 100 gigs both in Brazil and in Europe, at festivals such as Abril Pro Rock, Overload and Bordoada (Portugal). The band has shared the stage with great names of extreme music, such as Krisiun, Obituary, Entombed and Ratos de Porão. Their latest release “Mass Mental Devolution” is digitally distributed via Blood Blast Distribution.

Chaoszine had the opportunity of catching up with Desalmado, who discussed their latest album, talked about the rock and metal scene in Brazil and how the pandemic affected them.

Hello. Thank you for talking to Chaoszine. How have you been during the pandemic?

Augusttus: I think we’re doing good in general, we have been very productive during this period. We have problems like everybody else, strange feelings towards the future and many such situations, but, in general, we’ve been able to move forward.

The band was initially formed in 2004, under the name El Fuego. How was the beginning of it all, and how did your musical style evolve since then?

Augusttus: It was a very active beginning, a lot of running around and many different line-ups. It took us three years to be stable and move on from there. Then, we had to adequate ourselves to the circumstances. We started with the fantasy of going in the same direction as Brujeria and Cannibal Corpse, but we failed at that. Instead, we ended up gravitating towards Napalm Death, Ratos de Porão and Sepultura. Nowadays, we keep going in that direction, and many compare our sound to Napalm Death, which is an honour for us.

Desalmado is a band that represents Death metal and Grindcore very well in Brazil, with a unique touch that makes you sound very original. What are your main influences and how do they affect your music?

Augusttus: We are currently influenced by newer bands, like Gojira, as well as The Secret, an Italian band that not many people know. We listen to a lot of death metal, especially the new stuff, and the same goes to grindcore, like Cretin, Nails, Pig Destroyer and Wormrot. I think these bands have something to say as far as musicality goes, because many of them try something new without losing their essence. So, that might be the greatest contribution to our sound.

Your sound is very aggressive, and so are your lyrics, which are very critical. What inspires you as artists and how is that reflected in your music?

Augusttus: Our will to expose our indignation towards the contradictions and problems of capitalist society in general.

What is the importance of Desalmado’s political message in the messy political context in which Brazil finds itself nowadays?

Teixeira: I believe the importance of that goes beyond our lyrics. Every time we get a chance, we talk to people that follow our history, always looking forward to debating, pointing towards problems and thinking of possible solutions. We talk about how important it is to organize in order to attain a common goal, and that’s how we do it. Many people who are into the band tell us we helped them grasp certain political questions better, even if they don’t agree 100% with what we’re saying. It makes me happy to know that some people try to get better informed about certain themes we speak of in our music.

In October 2021 you released the album “Mass Mental Devolution”. It brings a more emotional feel, besides the ever present political criticism. The album is extremely well-produced and brings some new elements to your sound, besides some special guests. How was it to write more introspective lyrics? And how was it to collaborate with Argentinian singer Noelia Recalde and Moyses Kolesne, Krisiun’s guitarist?

Augusttus: About the lyrics, it felt a bit weird. I wasn’t used to that, but I think that it worked well, better than the lyrics where I proposed to have a more critical read of the world. Talking about personal and introspective things is a lot easier!

Teixeira: The coolest thing about special guests is that we didn’t write music thinking about a certain special guest. In Noelia’s case, as soon as we finished recording “Hollow”, Hugo Silva, the producer, suggested to have her vocals in the end of the song. He had previously worked with her, so she said yes to it and did an amazing job at it. It took the song to a whole other level! Moyses has been our friend for a while, and when we heard the pre-production of “Outsiders”, it was clear to us we needed a more chaotic solo, a bit like Slayer. We didn’t think twice before inviting Moyses to do both guitar solos for that song. It is an immense honour to have him on a Desalmado album, because we are big Krisiun fans!

Desalmado has been around the Brazilian metal scene for some years now. What has been the audience’s response to your sound over the years?

Teixeira: I believe that since 2014 things have changed a lot for us. We ended up hitting the road a lot more and started to grow a larger audience. There’s no other way: bands are made on the road, in direct contact with their audience. That’s what we love the most. With “Estado Escravo”, we started to refine our sound a bit, to do something that looked more like us, and that made more people get interested in our band. “Mass Mental Devolution” is the result of all that: many people have been saying good things about the album, and this shows us that there is greater interest in our sound.

How is the rock and metal scene in São Paulo nowadays, and how do you think the pandemic affected it?

Teixeira: The pandemic really affected the cultural scene in São Paulo, but that was expected. It’s already difficult to keep a band united and active, and a situation like the pandemic made this task a lot harder. I believe that we are living a great musical moment, there are many good bands releasing excellent albums. But not being able to play live shows makes things complicated, because extreme music depends on gigs and the exchange that happens live, with the audience. I can’t wait to go back to concerts and see so many good bands perform live.

After the pandemic hit, the arts and culture were extremely affected. Do you think there is any chance of government incentives to help lift the sector?

Teixeira: With this current “government” I see no possibility. These are people that hate culture and are doing everything they can to destroy it. The fact is: it’s fundamental to create public policies for professionals of the cultural sector to remain active, with pay. There are lots of people going through financial difficulties, having to work in other areas in order to survive. I hope a next government invests massively in culture, because it moves lots of sectors of the economy.

Photo credit: Maya Melchers

The heavy metal scene in Brazil is very much alive, in spite of some people declaring rock is dead. Could you suggest Brazilian bands that you like for our readers?

Teixeira: I always forget to mention some band when I get asked a question like this… I will cite some that are closer to us, and that I always listen to, like Manger Cadavre?, Vazio, Corja!, Forceps, Postmortem Inc., Cras, Angry, Crexpo, Surra, Punho de Mahin, Aneurose, Maddiba, Blackning, Vomit Bag Squad… there are lots of bands! I’m certain I will remember many more as soon as I finish this interview.

Thank you again for talking to Chaoszine.

Teixeira: We thank you. And you can always count on us. We hope to see you on the road soon. Cheers!  

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