Serum Dreg’s black, death mix bubbles with sex worship, hate on mauling ‘Lustful Vengeance’

There aren’t a ton of death or black metal records focused on sex. That shouldn’t come as a huge surprise to anyone. The genres don’t really lend themselves that much to many areas of sexual behavior especially considering we’re usually immersed in darkness and pain (apart from childish misogynistic shit). But sex itself being a center point isn’t very common.

The bio materials accompanying Serum Dreg’s diabolical debut record “Lustful Vengeance” contain the motto “FORNICATE. ASPHYX. DEATH TO TRINITY.” That holds a potential hornet’s nest of meaning, but the music here focuses on the worship of sex, hedonism, and ritualistic insanity executed through traditional means. It’s fucking with a darker, more twisted purpose. This record is, as they also charge, blasphemic and grounded in hatred, music that warps and burns the psyche as well as the creators’ own selves. This is noise-marred madness, bleeding in and out of death and black metal pools and becoming one of the most bizarre metallic expressions in some time. Its members—Ad Infinitum (guitars, bass, keys, vocals) and Conjure of Plague (drums, vocals)—we know from other bands such as Ash Borer, Triumvir Foul, Urzeit, Adzalaan, Dagger Lust and others, and they’re firmly ensconced in the Vrasubatlat union of artists that all intermingle with each other and always find new ways to spew vile blackness. But Serum Dreg may be the most fucked up of all of them. Think about that for a second.

“Rotten Pillar/Lustful Vengeance” is the first of these six pieces of horror and sizzles in acid, while the militaristic drumming sets the pace, and weird howls float. Riffs arrive and devastate, while the howl of, “The time has come for you to die,” sends chills. The song then ignites and stampedes into hell, with wild cackles and clobbering leading toward “Edifice of Hatred,” which bludgeons right off the bat. The track is beastly horror, with thrashing sensibilities and raw growls. “Holy Disease” kicks off with a Celtic Frost-style riff and then a pace that aims to wreck lives. The riffs cause dizziness, while the vocals bathe in blood and other bodily fluids, and animalistic howls drape the cover over this bloody carcass.

“Death Ritual” is speedy as fuck and the shortest cut here at 1:56. The title is wailed repeatedly, almost ritualistically, while the skin-scraping screams and violent playing are relentless and evil. “Impure Ceremony” jackhammers you body and mind, while the vocals scrape and drag bruised flesh across rocks, and the tempo chugs and splatters. The track finally comes to a merciful end with a collection of riffs that try to take off your head. Closer “Blasphemic Black Death Noise” might as well stand as a band anthem as the riffs blister and growls decimate. The pace trudges hard, and then the band launches into a raw punk-informed explosion of riffs that bring unrest. The terror spills over into the final lap, where cosmic keys blend in and take over, dragging the song into defilement amid the stars.

Serum Dreg’s bloody, blistering sexual world is a place where you’re not going to find traditional means of pleasure and likely won’t escape without ample scarring both physically and mentally. “Lustful Vengeance” is a tough record to warm up to, and even after multiple visits, it remains a beast that tries to push you out of its circle. This is a dangerous, misery-inducing record, the most depraved 22:30 of metal you’re likely to hear all year.

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