Serum Dreg- “Impure Blood”

Serum Dreg

One of my more recent posts featured the debut of an act called Uškumgallu . As the first release on the new Vrasubatlat label, it displayed great promise for hazy and misanthropic black metal offerings. Joining it as the second release (yet offered simultaneously) is Impure Blood, an equally hazy and off-kilter debut from Serum Dreg, a two-piece that focuses more on stomach-churning death metal than anything blackened or atmospheric.

With four tracks, Serum Dreg uses Impure Blood to effectively channel equal parts old school death metal and obscure and filthy modern black/death hybrids. The resulting demo is relentless and otherworldly, with reverb-heavy vocals oozing over pummeling rhythms and guitars that rarely stray from the lower end of the spectrum. This duo may win the listener’s appreciation immediately with rapid assaults, but the highlight of the tape is the latter half of “Injection,” with its slower grooves, delivered in a bludgeoning fashion. It’s not scary or overwhelming, it’s just a seeping and uncomfortable end, like the gradually worsening infection of a wound left untended for far too long.

As a whole, Serum Dreg’s greatest strength is its ability to lock into groove after groove without feeling like a band that is taking the easy way through any given song. Riffs are there, but they’re intentionally buried under their own distortion, leaving the pacing of the songs to guide the music. With the deliberate and skilled drumming of Conjure Ov Plague pushing things onward, even the most confusing moments are well rooted and memorable. With a slightly more psychedelic and otherworldly feeling, the closing track “Wretched Prayer” hints at a darker, creepier sound to come on future releases. The crawl into despair is apparent and the violence behind the whole tape comes to a brilliant close here, leaving nothing but ashes and emptiness. Vrasubatlat has two demos of jet black genius on its hands already, so keep an eye out for more.