1 Please tell us about the history of your band and its members.
[Nazarkardeh – Guitars] The creative core of Formicarius has been collaborating musically for about a decade, in a number of different projects. The list of various screwups and misadventures we found ourselves in is enough to give Spinal Tap a heart attack, though judging by their age that wouldn't take much.
It came to a point in late 2014 where we had 2 real options. Accept burnout and quit, or start something new, learning from our mistakes. We chose the latter.
2. What’s the origin of the band’s name?
The Formicarius is a book written in the 15th century by the German theologian Johannes Nider. Nider's account of a Swiss Inquisitor's horrific revelations in his encounters with Witches makes the Formicarius one of the earliest ever books to discuss Witchcraft.
The Medieval era is one that we are fascinated by. It's remarkable to think that as a species we went from the enlightened civilisations of antiquity to such a draconian time marked by such superstition and religious zeal in only a couple of centuries. The way the world is looking, maybe we're on that same path to madness again.
3. Where is the band based out of and what is your music scene like there?
We are based in the UK. London, gods help us.
Unlike our Scandinavian cousins, our government doesn't give a fuck about the arts, and so we get none of the funding or support that they do. No surprises then that it is tough for a British band, especially after that one infamous act of national stupidity I needn't name, which will no doubt make touring much harder from next year.
Despite all this, we're proud to share a Black Metal scene with bands such as Aklash, Deadwood Lake, Old Corpse Road, Sufferer and too many others to mention. That's without mentioning any of the classic metal bands that hail from the UK that helped form this music the world over!
4. How would you describe your style?
The term 'Symphonic Black Metal' often gets thrown at us. I can understand it, but I'm not sure I entirely agree. At the beginning we called ourselves 'English Black Metal'.
So what the hell makes it “English?”. Well, bands like Cradle of Filth, Paradise Lost, Akercocke, Carcass and My Dying Bride might seem completely disparate at first, but they all have a of dark, almost gothic sense of melody that you don't hear so clearly in the ferocity of the Nords or the machismo of the Americans. It's that musical bloodline that we want to carry into the future.
5. What have you released so far and what can someone expect from your works?
Our debut album Black Mass Ritual came out last year on Schwarzdorn Production. Expect a band that plays Black Metal on their own terms. Some say that musicianship and craftsmanship poisons Black Metal and betrays it's foundations. Fuck those people.
What made the original Black Metal albums great is their sheer power of intention. Young artists doing the very best they could with what they could get hold of, and that is why they sound like they do. So why should we, in 2018, try to rehash something Mayhem did better decades ago?
If you want more Second Wave 'True' Black Metal, then look elsewhere.
6. Do you have any new music in the works?
We are recording our second album! It will again be mixed at Parlour Studio (Napalm Death, Dimmu Borgir, Primitive Graven Image) where we recorded Black Mass Ritual and have enlisted the talents of a well known French drummer who will be laying down some monstrous blasts for us.
While it sounds like the same band that wrote Black Mass Ritual, it is much bleaker and openly embraces the Baroque sound which was only hinted at before. We've seen the world regress a lot since recording Black Mass Ritual in 2014, and you can hear that in the new music. That, and nothing fills a soul with hate quite like ageing. Sorry kids.
Nothing ruins a metal record more than than musicians only inspired by metal. If you want your music to mean something, go and look beyond your sonic echo chamber. Would Tolkien's work have been so incredible if he only read other fantasy literature? Of course not. Making music is no different.
7. How about playing shows and touring, have anything planned out?
We have only recently come off a UK tour with De Profundis, who I also play guitar for. Despite my tendons melting into soup after almost two hours of tremolo picking, it was an excellent tour where we got to both play to some new cities and make some long over due returns to other places.
Making an album is a pretty intense task, so until it's all done we're not going to be playing very often. However we will be sharing a stage with the legendary Hecate Enthroned in London in September. We're looking forward to it – Hecate Enthroned are an important part of the UK's Black Metal heritage, so we'll be seeing English and Welsh Black Metal collide – a United Kingdom, if you will...
8. What plans do you have for the future as a band?
Well, we should probably release that album we're recording, shouldn't we? Once the second Formicarius album is released, we plan on taking it wherever we possibly can. We aren't content with just the UK. We believe the world has to hear this album, and we will do whatever needs to be done to make that happen. Bands – don't ask yourself how you can reach the status of your peers, ask how you can reach the status of your idols. Never settle for less.
9. Where can we listen to your band and where can we buy your stuff?
Black Mass Ritual is available from Schwarzdorn Productions. Or you can buy it off of our BigCartel page. You might even want make yourself a thousand times more attractive to whichever gender you prefer by buying some Formicarius merch too. You can listen to us the same way you listen to anything else – Youtube, Spotify, or using those relics of a time even more ancient than our subject matter, CD Players.
10. What is it you’d like a listener to remember the most when hearing your music for the first time?
Remember that Black Metal didn't die with some angry kids in Norway in 1993! It is very much alive and well in 2018, and it lives because it has evolved. Long may that continue!