Like many of the obscure underground artists that I try to document here at Crucial Blast, I first stumbled across Cody Spence Drasser's grisly surrealistic artwork by way of his musical projects. I had been digging around online for information on his releases a while back, as I wanted to stock a couple of Ďem in the Crucial Blast catalog,; in recent years, Drasser has been busy with the dark ambient/noise project Caulbearer, which combines elements of classic isolationist ambient with bursts of incendiary electronics and dark kosmische drones to create expansive sound-fields of blackened industrial drift. It was then, while looking for more information on Drasserís recordings, that I came across a website dedicated specifically to the artwork that he has been producing over the past two decades. A couple of clicks later, and I found myself devouring a host of horrific images and tenebrous tableaux seemingly retched forth from some ghastly dreamworld. I was staring into the pulsating, chitinous black heart of the Vomitous Mass.
Long before he began floating out into the chthonic ether with Caulbearer, Drasser's involvement in the extreme music underground was born in the blood-soaked charnel pits of early 90s death metal. As the guitarist for the short-lived New York death metal band Afterbirth, Drasser helped to produce a couple of demos of weird, filthy sewercrush during the bandís brief run, including the 1994 tape Psychopathic Embryotomy. That demo would go on to gain a cult following among fans of old-school death metal for its strange, murky atmosphere and ultra-heavy sound, which has been acclaimed by some as a precursor to the whole "slam death" thing that would grow in popularity later in the decade with bands like Devourment and Internal Bleeding (and even lead the band to recently reform after nearly twenty years in order to record new material). And at the same time that Drasser was crunching out riffs in Afterbirth, he was also beginning to produce his own visual artwork fueled by all of that sonic carnage, developing a distinct style that seemed to be inspired by a conflux of HR Giger's surrealistic biomechanical visions, the otherworldly album art of artists like Dan Seagrave, Away and Andreas Marschall, and the more bizarre fringes of horror comics art belched forth from the bowels of late 80s magazines like Gore Shriek. Drowning his grey matter in the cacophony of early death metal, Drasser began to work under the name "Vomitous Mass Graphics", scrawling out an array of surreal, morbid images charged with raw, ultra-violent energy. These pieces had a similar look and feel as the crude abattoir fantasies that you would find splattered across many of the death metal demo covers of the day, but Drasserís work often headed into even more bizarre realms of oneiric depravity.
Released as part of Crucial Blastís ongoing art zine series focusing on little-known artists on the fringes of extreme metal / occult / horror / surrealism, this new publication collects much of the grotesque artwork that Drasser produced under the Vomitous Mass name between 1992 and 1999, as well as several full-color collage pieces, fragments of sketchbook ephemera, and a selection of more recent artwork. As you flip through the pages of Vomitous Mass, youíll find detailed black ink illustrations of hideous biological mutations, visions of shambling sentient meat-heaps rendered in sickening pastel hues, furiously scribbled scenes of delirious bio-mechanical chaos, dreamlike landscapes of towering crustacean structures, a smattering of spiny death metal logos and primitive demo cover-style flesh carnage, occult sigils rendered in intricate line art, and more. It also serves as a document of Drasserís evolution as an artist, drawing a line from his early youthful renderings of crude phantasmal violence to his later work that reveals a striking progression in both technique and imagination.
Released in a limited printing of one hundred copies, with a cut-out cover design that sort of resembles those old step-back covers found on horror paperbacks from the 1980's.