Black metal outfit Formicarius have just released their excellent debut single Lake Of The Dead. We caught up with the band’s vocalist and guitarist Lord Saunders to find out more, and also reviewed the single. Check it all out below!
Can you introduce yourself and tell me a bit about the band?
I am Lord Saunders; vocalist, guitarist and leader of Formicarius. The band is a collective of UK extreme metal veterans, and each lends their darkness as an artist to the gargantuan black metal soundscape of Formicarius. The band was only born on the 1st of July, but our single Lake of the Dead has begun to make waves. Our mission is to spread our blend of black metal far and wide, raising the bar in this country and putting UK black metal firmly on the global map. Time will tell if we are successful, but I have a hunch…
What’s the story behind your debut single Lake Of The Dead?
Lake is the story of the Egyptian goddess of the dead turned evil and insane. It’s an alternative take on Egyptian mythology – we had a colossal sound coming together whilst writing, and the lyrical concept needed to be suitably epic in order to match that.
What made you decide to release it as a single?
We have the music for a full length album completely finished, so rather than release a separate EP we figured it’d be best if we released a song or two as a single. Our choices boiled down to Lake and Under Darkness, which wound up on the b-side (along with a cover of Emperor’s Cosmic Keys). We settled on Lake as it’s a short, sharp and catchy song which a lot of people can engage with, and it’s a strong representation of the band. Further to that, we decided to make the single available for free as we’re new – you can’t conquer a world without letting it know who their new masters are first.
Would you say it’s representative of your upcoming album or is it more of a standalone piece?
It certainly is – the overall production is very consistent across the record and all of our songs so far tell stories. However, we are definitely holding onto a few secrets – we have a lot more to offer in terms of emotion and variety and have a few surprises up our sleeves… that’s all I can say without giving too much away.
Could you describe your writing and recording process?
The song ideas for the album either begin with myself or Nazarkardeh (guitars) writing riffs, themes and basic song structures. They’re then fleshed out with second guitar and bass parts from us, and keyboards from Morath. Aelle was the last recruit, so unfortunately he had to follow our lead and direction to an extent when it came to drums.
We’ve got a perfectionist attitude and take a lot of pride in writing the best music we can, so the writing process goes back and forth a lot with input from everyone, trying out ideas and trimming the fat off. Recording and lyric writing begins when we have a structure which works and isn’t going to change. The details can be changed up to the 11th hour however, and sometimes something sounds better on record one way and live another. It’s a very intense process and we’re constantly on our toes thinking, but this is what I think separates us from so many other bands. This is our collective calling and we’re dedicated to producing the best music possible. To me that is the very definition of black metal – on the classic records I hear artists doing their best with what they had. We are continuing that spirit in a way which works in a new world 20 years later.
And what’s in store for Formicarius for the rest of the year?
As the band was only launched on the 1st of July we’re still in the middle of negotiating shows across the country, but nothing is set in stone yet. That said, we’re confident that we’ll be launching our album in October this year, and plan to be playing venues around the country before then. Watch this space for album details and live exhibition dates very soon!
Lake Of The Dead Review
Despite the fact that Lake Of The Dead is only the first release from Formicarius, it is a well-rounded and succinct piece that gives the impression that the band has been together for years rather than less than a fortnight! There’s a great ‘togetherness’ to it all, with music gelling well together and it makes for a great listen.
The keys are a particularly good element of the band’s sound; whilst not being overpowering, they add just the right amount of melody into the mix and juxtapose fantastically against the vocals, which sound wonderfully grim, harsh and raw. Formicarius have taken elements from all edges of the black metal spectrum to craft their sound and it gives the music a certain uniqueness that helps to stand out amongst a sea of bands all doing the exact same thing.
As a whole, there isn’t much wrong with Lake Of The Dead and if this is a teaser for what we can expect with the upcoming album, you can be sure it’s going to knock your socks off.