Roel de Haan : Formicarius is a new outfit from the United Kingdom and ‘Black Mass Ritual’ is their first full-length album. Formicarius plays symphonic black metal with a strong melodic thrash influence. The abundant use of synths and keys makes the album instantly accessible but also quite familiar stylistically. Of course I’m referring to the ubiquitous Dimmu Borgir influences within symphonic black metal. In this case their ‘Spiritual Black Dimensions’ album. Fine with me, but don’t expect to win the prize for most original new act. In the more thrash oriented parts of the album Formicarius is clearly influenced by Children Of Bodom which makes the whole thing a less serious sounding, which doesn’t work well with black metal as a vantage point. ‘Black Mass Ritual’ is an album that simply coasts on the works of others and never strays from the beaten path. Hardly relevant even for the die-hard symphonic black metal fanatic.