Review: Formicarius – Black Mass Ritual

Formed just in 2014, London-based symphonic black metallers Formicarius launched themselves onto the world with a solid opening single that quickly earned them recognition in the world over their blazing mix of bombast and old-school symphonic glory. Quickly ushering forth a professional album, the groups’ full-length debut was released July 21, 2017 on Schwarzdorn Production.

From the start, this one manages to announce its intentions of offering frantic, overpowering rhythms and dynamic bombastic that is on display here. Tracks like Lake of the Dead, Overlord and Where the Gods Go to Die showcase the bands’ blazing symphonic fury as the fiery tremolo riff-work, pummeling drumming and buzzing keyboards shimmering along in the background make for quite the striking balance of finely-tuned aggression and dynamics. That the vast majority of the music is played in that fast, frantic style makes for quite a fun tactic as the slightly technical riffing adds an extra dimension to the patterns utilized here with the powerful drumming and fiery keyboards alongside the main rhythms. Despite these fine elements throughout here, it’s still somewhat plagued by a minor issue here in so efforts like Under Darkness and A Requiem for the Bloodborn are somewhat weaker in their rhythms as the focus to weaker riffing and simple riff-structures which makes these the blander tracks here. Since they’re also the shorter ones, that does makes this one somewhat more enjoyable the longer it goes on since the time allows for greater dynamics in the riffing arrangements and is a possible avenue to explore on future albums. As it stands, this is still a rather fun and engaging debut.

With only a few minor problematic issues that pop up throughout here, the fact that this one comes off as engaging and enjoyable as it does for being a debut offering without any kind of pre-release efforts for the group makes them a fun candidate to follow in the future for aficionados of symphonic black metal. 8.5/10

Formicarius was also mentioned earlier by Tim van Velthuysen in the Black Metal Edition (Part 5) of Promoting Bands here.

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