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Algebra: Your Thrash Metal Addiction

Algebra: Your Thrash Metal Addiction

Algebra: Your Thrash Metal Addiction

Meet Algebra, your soon to be thrash metal addiction.  Although it’s unlikely metal fans enjoyed the advanced mathematics subject in school, this incarnation of Algebra will make listeners bang their heads and wave their fists high in the air.  Pulse? is the name of Algebra’s latest sonic manifesto on Unspeakable Axe Records, an explosive collection of thrash metal anthems that will make you want to take on the world.  Fans of acts such as Sepultura and Destruction are destined to enroll within the ranks of this mighty Algebra class.  Highwire Daze recently checked in with Algebra to find out a whole lot more about this dynamic thrash metal brigade.  Read on…

Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Algebra and how long the band has been together.
My name is Ed, I have played guitar and sung in Algebra since it started in 2008. I temporarily left the band from 2014 to 2017 and am the only original member that is now left.

Algebra was a subject we all disliked in our school days. What made you decide to name your band Algebra?
Interesting story. On one hand, Phil came up with it while scribbling during high school. He even drew the logo back then, which is the same we use today, except for a few adjustments I made. Around the same time, somewhere across town, my first band broke up and the drummer Thomas and I were brainstorming for a new bandname. I came up with Algebra for the same reasons as Phil who I didn’t even know (Sepultura, Pantera,… Algebra!) and it remained a joke between my buddy Thomas and I. Two years later, I meet some guys who tell me they have a band in the same town called Algebra, which I simply couldn’t believe, and that’s how it all started…

Where is Algebra based out of and what is your local music scene like there?
We are from Lausanne, Switzerland. French-speaking Switzerland is not very thrashy, unlike the German part, so it wasn’t the easiest place for us to thrive. A lot of people here are more into styles like post-hardcore and deathcore. But fortunately for us, there are still some folks that like old-school metal and we also made friends/gigs with people from all genres.

Is there any overall story or concept behind the CD title Pulse?
There is: the whole CD is a bleak story of where we are going, where the worst scenarios are probable and perhaps have even already occured without us knowing. It’s about whether we still have life and hope ahead of us. Part of it I wrote while I was out of the band living in Brazil and I wrote the rest when I got back to Switzerland and joined them again.

Select two songs from Pulse? and what inspired the lyrics.
Ok, but I’ll give you nine instead:
Pulse? comes from depression, from feeling disconnected yet trapped in the human condition, with limited and opportunistic vision, motivations and behaviour inherent in our genes, our survival mode, our egos, which are also reflected in our social structures, governments and economies. It comes from a very dark state of mind. The first song, Inner Constraints, predicts unfortunate events are coming, which will unfold throughout the rest of the album. Addicted to Authority talks about our conversion into degenerated sheep that can no longer survive without this system, which we prefer to follow towards an even more centralized, unequal and authoritarian version of today’s World. Digital Master is inspired by human advances towards automation and AI, which has become our new religion and will summon a generalized artificial intelligence that will take over and become our… (next song) Quantum God, which will take your consciousness after you die and upload your… (next song)… Simulated Mind into a fake reality, which is actually what sometimes gives us the feeling we can’t entirely describe of having a… (next song) … Manipulated Soul, of coming from a… (next song) … Hateful Source, of living in a… (next song)… Concrete Jungle, all of which can lead us to wonder if we still have hope: if we still have a… (next song)… Pulse?

Has anyone from Sepultura heard or commented on your cover of Dead Embryonic Cells and what made you decide to cover that song?
We are all huge fans and, personally, they are my favorite band. The lyrics and atmosphere of this song fit onto our album, even though it came out 28 years earlier. I was fortunate enough to meet Derrick Green during a vocal masterclass in Switzerland, to tell him what a big fan I was and give him a copy. I also got to see the Cavalera brothers play Arise and Beneath the Remains in Zurich and asked Max’s son, Igor, if he could give some copies to them. That was a major moment for me, even though I am not sure whether they had time to actually listen to it.

Who did the cover art for Pulse? and how much input did you have on it?
Adam Burke did this amazing painting. I had zero input, since I chose it out of a collection he had already painted, but the second I saw it I knew it was the perfect fit for the lyrics.

What was it like playing in Cuba and how did you wind up booking a show there?
Mat and I had played there the year before with another band we used to have called Bagheera. We knew people who went and told us it was amazing playing there, so we contacted the promoters and went on a 2-week tour. They were right, it was great: the Cubans were such friendly, lively and admirable people. So with Algebra we contacted them again and got to go back the next year.

What was it like opening for Slayer and did you get to meet or hang out with anyone in the band at all?
We played at Metal Camp in Slovenia in 2011 with so many amazing bands, including Slayer, Kreator and Death Angel. Unfortunately, we were one of the openers on the second stage, so we weren’t lucky enough to have access to the backstage. We are at the very bottom of the festival’s t-shirt in small writing with a typo: Alegbra (LOL!), but it was nevertheless an amazing experience and we felt so privileged.

If Algebra could open up for any band either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
Sepultura, because Sepultura!

What’s up in the New Year for Algebra?
So far, practicing with the new line up, finding a drummer, playing a couple gigs and festivals, making new songs, seeing how they come out and deciding whether we can keep our old-school thrash vibe or slightly change course.

Any final words of wisdom?
Thanks to everyone who supported us until now, including Highwire Daze Magazine. We hope metal will vanquish the stereotypes it is associated with, include all groups of different people from around the globe and give them some sense of fulfillment and joy.

(Interview by Ken Morton)

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