Serum Dreg sounds like an anagram to me. I can see murder and greed in there. The reality is that this debut from the US black metallers concentrates on the worship of sex, hedonism and ritualistic chaos. The fact that you can buy this album in cassette format as well as the usual media tells me that this is as underground as it gets.

The drum beat and evil laughter set the grey scene. In comes a growly, sludgy guitar. Progress is slow. The atmosphere is spiteful. The fuzzy guitar sound and deep tone make the atmosphere overwhelming. The pace quickens but the level of evil does not abate. It’s chaos out there. Dark and threatening as the vocals are, they are also quite theatrical. After the opening “Rotten Pillar Lustful Vengeance”, the mood changes, and we are bombarded with the rapid fire “Edifice of Hatred”. It slows down into a creepy world of maggots and horror. The style remains old school and raw. I imagine the deadened sound quality of the cassette version would make it even more authentic. Extreme, torturous black metal dominates the violent and anarchic “Holy Disease”. The grainy, dark extremity continues to the final “Blasphemic Black Death Noise”. Again the almost psychedelic cacophony rings through behind the layer of the black cosmic void, which rises and completes this journey through the bowels of chaos.

At 22½ minutes, “Lustful Vengeance” isn’t a long album, and it’s all broadly the same, bearing in mind it’s hate-filled, dark, extreme and violent. This doesn’t allow much scope. Its purpose is fulfilled but as a listener I didn’t find it especially fulfilling.

(6/10 Andrew Doherty)