Formicarius – Black Mass Ritual

Rating: 4/5
Distributor/label: Schwarzdorn Productions
Distributor/label URL:
Released: 2017
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Band line-up:

Lord Saunders – Vocals, Guitars
Haegtesse – Bass
Nazakardeh – Guitars
Morath – Keyboard
Aelle – Drums

1. Lake of the Dead
2. Overlord
3. May the Rats Eat Your Eyes
4. Under Darkness
5. Where the Gods go to Die
6. Abhorrent Feast of Minds
7. A Requiem for the Bloodborn
8. Master of Past and Present


Over the last decade, Britain has seen a healthy influx of Black Metal bands swarming out of the woodwork from far and wide across the green and pleasant isle. You have atmospherics blazing from many a good band from the leafy north of the nation and some more gritty acts screaming about absolutely anything that can pass as evil so long as it’s done in the Black Metal way.

And among that amalgamation there now stands a band who have taken the symphonics of this magnificent genre, ground into it the cornerstones laid by Emperor and Dimmu Borgir – mashed in some lashings of Hecate Enthroned, early Cradle and topped the output with sprinkles of blackened melodies to put Anorexia Nervosa to shame – and shove the most original kind of Symphonic Black Metal right in our faces.

Formicarius, a band formed by veteran members of Britain’s foremost metal bands has done just that. With a lineup consisting of musicians from De Profundis, Domitorem and the gone but not forgotten: Phyrexia – it was of no surprise to me that Black Mass Ritual blew my mind in a way only good symphonic extremities can do.

For a start, I was quite convinced I’d turned on an album of Emperor rarities when ‘Lake of the Dead’ started playing and the magic of the eponymous ritual began by pounding my ears with militant style drums and the keys added a slightly gothic edge to the omslaught. Vocalist Lord Saunders appeared to be conducting a ritual to avenge the fallen souls who had been wrongly burned as witches by the pious throughout history. And said ritual was to reap the havoc only the mass revenge of witchcraft can have once the seal has been broken.

An audible gallop rang beautifully on ‘May the Rats Eat Your Eyes’, giving me the impression that Formicarius had wished eternal suffering on all those who want us to fear the occult. And ‘Where the Gods Go To Die’ was the final spell of destruction ending the reign of the putrid Abrahamic gods whose teachings have been used to suppress the histories of a nation like Britain’s.

Byt the time I’d reached ‘Abhorrent Feast of Minds’, I was convinced this was Britain’s answer to Ihsahn’s solo work. The symphonies of ‘A Requiem for the Bloodborn’ also told me these guys had painstakingly spent hours mastering their work by doing everlasting research into all elements of Black Metal from all over the globe to make sure the ritual was delivered with outstanding aplomb.

Overall, this is the most original UKBM record I’ve heard this year. I’ve seen many a good band take on this incredible genre and come back with incredible work, but Formicarius is that band whom I could see leading the way or be up there with the likes of The Infernal Sea, Hecate Enthroned in the fairly near future. Check this one out.

Review by Demitri Levantis