Review: Psywarfare, Throw Away the Ocean (COF/Swarm of Nails/The Tide of the End, 2015)

Dwid Hellion's Psywarfare project really deserves more credit for exposing a wider audience of otherwise hardcore- and metal-centric listeners to the experimental noise realm during the mid- to late-'90s, and has been (somewhat quietly) revisiting a collection of '90s-era recordings over the past few years through a number of splits with Malware, Rot in Hell, and Full of Hell. The latest such release—from COF Records (UK), Swarm of Nails (France), and The Tide of the End (the Netherlands)—being the six-song 7" Throw Away the Ocean.

The first five tracks herein were originally released on the Circle Gets the Square CD back in 1998, which marked a stylistic shift towards a more diverse and subtle approach as compared to the ruthless and savage harsh noise of Psywarfare's earliest output. These particular selections, however, follow a perfectly consistent aesthetic of uniquely atypical dark ambient atmospheres.

The ominous low-end drones and swirling, murky glitches of "Edgewater Fog" fade seamlessly into the croaking blips and theremin melodies of "Tongue Box Set to 'Chi-Chi'"—leading into the quiet, rumbling pulses and piercing fits of thin feedback in "Knee Deep in the Matmos." Those dense, bassy undercurrents carry over into the rhythmic surges of "See You Before Seventeen" on side B, which also combines obfuscated half-spoken vocals and restrained snarls. The record is dedicated to Bill "Snakedick" Covelli (R.I.P.), responsible for the vocals and piano flourishes amidst the lightly distorted wisps of the title track, "Throw Away the Ocean." And the closing Throbbing Gristle cover (shortened here for time), "What a Day," was performed by Dwid's (at the time) young kids—originally credited as 3 Bloody Monkeys on the In Formation: A Tribute to Throbbing Gristle compilation, released in 2000.

Available in very limited quantities on either black (150 copies), yellow (100 copies), or green (50 copies) vinyl; I'm not much of a record collector these days, but I must confess that the eye-catching front and back covers look absolutely fantastic alongside the colored vinyl, so for the first time in many years I actually bought two copies of this beauty. Green vinyl is already sold out from COF (with yellow close behind), and Holy Terror has sold out of all variations (including test presses), so... don't procrastinate if you're interested!

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