All of the Chapters derived from the Blood Angels still suffer from the psychic imprint left by Sanguinius's death. This can cause them to go insane prior to or during a battle, and they believe that they are Sanguinius himself during the Battle of Terra. The condition is irrevocable (except for one case, Chaplain Lemartes, who is largely able to control it), and victims are locked away in the "Tower of the Lost" on the Blood Angels' homeworld until they finally die. This insanity is known as the Black Rage. When a Space Marine is overcome by the Black Rage he is reborn in a world of anger, hatred, fury and nothing else. As well as Sanguinius’s memories, the Blood Angel is touched with a small portion of his unearthly power, boosting his strength and vitality to superhuman levels.
Rather than face a slow, insane death, Blood Angels will form those who have newly succumbed to the Black Rage into a special unit known as the Death Company. They paint their armour black, daubed with red crosses, signifying the wounds of Sanguinius, and are usually led by the few Chapter officers, notably Death Company Chaplains, who are able to communicate orders to these lost warriors. They are then sent out to perform the most dangerous assaults, hoping for a quick and honourable death in combat.
The origins of the Red Thirst and Black Rage is hotly debated by the Blood Angels and their successors. Some blame the process of Insanguination, others in deep rooted Chaos corruption in Sanguinius as he was transported to Baal. The Mechanicum has observed that Blood Angels have an overactive Omophagea, and this combined with their blood rituals may have caused them to become more strongly affected by past memories than others. Others discuss the impact of Baal Secundus' strange cocktail of chemical toxins and radiation as well as past evidence of mutation among the populace.
It was originally thought that Primaris Space Marine Blood Angels were more resistant to the Black Rage, but this is not the case. It is now clear that they are not as resistant to The Flaw as once thought, as evidenced by the Khovan Incident. The hope was ultimately a false one, and Primaris Space Marines have now become members of the Death Company.
- 1: Index Astartes II - Angels of Death, pgs. 34–37
- 2: Codex: Blood Angels (8th Edition) pg.12-13
- 3: Warhammer Community: Blood of Baal Chapter Focus: The Blood Angels (Posted November 25 2019) (Last accessed 11/25/2019)
- 4: Codex: Blood Angels (9th Edition) pg.11