Lectern is an old-school death metal band from Rome, Italy. Formed in 1999, they faced the lack of interest for the genre from promotion companies and labels. With line-up changes through the years, the main member of Lectern since the beginning Fabio Bava (vocals, bass) and the latest member additions since 2013, managed to release their first full-length album in 2015. After listening and reviewing their second album ‘Precept Of Delator’ (Via Nocturna, 2016), we found the opportunity to ask Lectern a few questions.
“He who persists, wins” as the expression says. Tell us about your case. Why has it been so difficult to emerge as a band?
Fabio: You must resist for torture! When you have nothing to lose, you do not have to waste all you have done. Maybe there are right and wrong aspects in the career of a band, but I don’t feel it as a redraft, after all, if you are still alive after all these years and you have to accomplish aims, you must fulfill lots of goals at some point. Mine have been recording and writing new songs and the possibility to perform on stage! Troubles come and go, a band is a union of four individuals which have to focus, basically, on different aspects and wading through despite of time. Useless people? It is not my fault: I go on anyway! We had our last important break, after countless, in 2011 for bad blood running in the band and I needed more than two years to complete a new line up. The question was: what do you want from us? Which kind of music do you wanna play? Since 2012 only Enrico has quit, and we have changed two guitarists. An average not to be underrated, so! I am sick of humans but you know, I have to deal with them anyway! Now we have Gabriele in the band and we are at the perfect point!
What are the commercial trends in Italy which made it difficult for you to sign for an album? Is the Italian audience of death metal also limited?
Fabio: This question reflects maybe the fact that, for more than someone, an outfit cannot exist without a record deal, because it is unprofessional! How long does a band can exist only through demo tapes alone? So, it’s not correct! For how stupid this point of view could be, I have always thought that in Italy, instead of the explosion of great metal bands from every genre, the answer is that here it is not the right place to play heavy music. I don’t wanna inflate with that, through the need of praising abroad situations as well, as I am not xenophilous at all! But what can you do if all the best death metal bands are American, for instance? I don’t mind about Internet wars and envy in general, I live a real existence that has nothing to be compared with the virtual side. Years ago, bands fought on stage or face to face, now these kind of struggles, have moved into a computer field too. I use my eyes to face reality, not to glue them into a screen full of rumours! Or partially. We had many big festivals like Gods Of Metal now disappeared, like other fucked up underground situations as Grind Your Mother. Venues close, forfeits, bands always complain about shitty organizers. There is no reciprocal support, you want audience at your gigs, but you don’t share at others’ live shows. When flyers were spread basically on paper, there was a different kind of partaking. You could touch a concert manifest or a new release advertisement with your hands. Destruction always kid how awful were some situations which forced them to cancel some shows in Italy, and it’s not the first time and it won’t be last. We have a very bad reputation and it’s not easy to restore things as they have never been! Italians are mainly shallow, full of existential problems due to an oppressive Catholic mood, that will always find us against!
Six years after your formation, you released your first album ‘Fratricidal Concelebration’ and the very next year your second album ‘Precept Of Delator’. The reception has been very positive and you share the stage with big names such as Sepultura, Angra, and Incantation. Do you feel rewarded or there is there still a long distance to travel?
Fabio: I am not anxious to measure the distance between Lectern and the other bands, because there is no meaning about that. Everyone knows where can walk and go, anyone knows what can really do or even not. This is not a run, and you do not have to live it like a challenge. Since the nineties everything has changed, in well and for worse. If we should have done that things more than twenty years ago, would it also have been different? Who is sure of that? If you also mean how prolific we are, yes it is! The activity of Lectern is full of things, we are always busy within the band, planning day by day every asset.
Marco: I like to consider every gig as a little step to something bigger one day. I’ll never get enough of the stage. It’s going to be always better and better, if we keep putting our efforts all as one.
Was this delay to burst forth also due to the constant line-up changes? Why was it so difficult to find devoted musicians?
Fabio: Lectern is a risk! A hazard! Death metal is dangerous, is for reckless motherfuckers who sworn an oath with blood! Without balls you are no one! Wrong people for Lectern is like a sort of sickness, that will kill you slightly from inside!
Marco: Music in Italy is seen only as a hobby. So there are a few real musicians who love to play and create. Of course we can’t take the first one; we need grown people with music skills already developed. But at this point it’s difficult to keep up with music, jobs and the rest at the same time, so the circle shrinks.
Lectern in fact recreate the brutal death metal scene as it was born in Florida, United States in the Nineties. Which bands from that time are your favourite ones? Do you follow the genre as it has evolved nowadays?
Fabio: I think that Morbid Angel is a step beyond all others! Deicide lost all their incredible brutal approach after ‘Serpents Of The Light’, also Obituary and Cannibal Corpse in the last ten years, took back what is properly theirs! You can listen now to anyone you want, Italian death metal bands or Brodequin and Defiled but no one is like the United States bands! Someone wrote that Florida moved to Sweden, with a different approach in the middle of the Nineties! Bullshit! I never felt that vibe which came from America in anyone! When we played in Helsinki, we were the only band on stage with a star spangled banner guitar sound! That’s why all bands were from Sweden and Finland, except for Cruciamentum and us! Scandinavian bands mainly have a Swedish approach like early Dismember, and also in Italy we have that with mighty Horrid! I mean, it’s a different way, maybe cultural and also due by where you are from! Hypocrisy went melodic after Peter Tagtren was in Tampa playing with Malevolent Creation? Yes, but the first albums were absolutely brutal death metal! It’s like with thrash! Slayer is an entity, completely different from Sodom and inversely, because European metal is more melodic and not so much technical. That’s also why life is different in America than in Europe. I think I couldn’t live in the Unites States, an European without a European lifestyle doesn’t fit too much!
The lyrical theme is mainly satanic. Do they serve the genre or are they also part of your belief?
Fabio: Serving someone? Not greenhorns! We believe in what our lyrics are about! They are very specific, with a proper use of uncommon therms. If you read them with attention, you will find that Satan we speak about, is myself, yourself and anyone! If there is something spiritual around, it is because of ourselves! Good and evil are everywhere and inside any being! We can see demons with horns, creepy wings because it is how we represent them since the origins. Have you ever wondered why, anyone figures those entities, more or less, always in the same manner? We are all calibrated to expect things in a certain outlook.
Many critics mention the peculiarity of the tracks’ titles. Are they a combination of Latin and English words? They seem very enigmatic.
Fabio: We use only English, and I write in a very grim way, because I don’t want my message to arrive in a hurry! If you understand while reading, it’s cool, if not, I don’t mind! A song title and lyrics can strike your attention, if written in a certain way. If you compose always the same shit, you will always be inside the same shell! I have no need to create an interest around us, but it happens because we don’t agree with the first thing we write. We arrange every riff and every word but not at first sight! I am so proud using such words for Lectern riffs Pietro writes! Special rhythms, deserve astonishing lyrics!
Marco: First, we didn’t want to use the same words that everyone uses in the scene. Fabio creates lyrics and titles after a deep study of ancient writings and scrolls. Those are all Biblical terms. Simply, not so many people ever read that book.
What are your plans this year? Are there any arranged live shows?
Fabio: There are some, as we are finishing the songwriting of the new album too. We have seven new songs, but the new record will contain eight definitely! We have the riffs, the structures, the lyrics, but we have to rehearse a lot before the pre-production, tentatively scheduled for the next year. Lectern will play next edition of Eradication Festival in Cardiff, Wales. Other shows will come; we should have had a European tour with Vital Remains in August, which unfortunately expired!
Thank you very much for your time! Close this interview as you will!
Fabio: Stay in Satan!
Photo credits: Francesco Tacconi