Review: Government Alpha – Vandalism (Humanhood Recordings, Apr 25)

True to form, Government Alpha’s newest release Vandalism is screechingly intense from the get-go. Yasutoshi Yoshida’s long-running harsh noise project continues be refreshing and mercilessly abrasive as ever, even following a body of work that spans nearly 25 years. The crushing blast of noise that begins “Ash of Virtue” sounds like it’s been waiting an eternity to escape, and after a fleeting bubble of feedback the waves of distortion come flying from their prison with full force. The dense, formidable walls that Yoshida constructs are lush and enrapturing enough not to disappoint with stagnancy, but regardless they are constantly in motion, seemingly rocketing forward at high speed yet surrounding and enclosing with an ever-tightening grip. The tension is kept up until near the end, when some cathartic breaks from the cacophony blast high-pitched feedback tones before the distortion returns. “Corruption of Decoration” is a less restless piece, and Yoshida opts to work with heavier, crunchier textures, whipping them up into deafening C.C.C.C.-esque whirlwinds of jagged, psychedelic howls. Spanning not even twenty minutes, Vandalism is an exhausting, visceral journey, and my new favorite of Government Alpha’s recent tape output.