Formed near the beginning of the thrash resurgence, Algebra is a band from Switzerland that plays thrash metal in the vein of Metallica, Testament and others. For their second record, “Feed The Ego”, they have signed to the consistently awesome Unspeakable Axe Records, and released a relatively well-constructed thrash album. Algebra doesn’t fit the mold of most thrash bands (despite sounding quite typical of thrash). They aren’t really noisy or sloppy, nor are they excessively technical. There is still some exceptional guitar work, but this isn’t something they rely on. Instead, the band uses relatively standard, but tight playing to make a convincing album. The opening track shows the band at their most precise. After some interesting interplay between the two guitars, a riff comes in which the double bass underneath is absolutely crushing. This sound is something a lot of bands do, but not a lot of bands do it as well as Algebra, as it takes a special production and skill to pull off.
The production as a whole is pretty good. Guitars, bass, and vocals are all what you’d expect for thrash: chainsaw-esque, barely existent, and shouting (for the most part) respectively. It is the drums that truly shine because of the attention to detail in making every drum sound perfect. It doesn’t matter if the drummer is delivering double bass, going nuts on his snare, abusing the ride cymbal, or unleashing a killer fill, it all sounds great. The opening of “Prisoner Outdoors” in particular has fantastic drumming.
The surprise of “Feed The Ego” is the power/semi-ballad: “My Shelf”. The intro to this song channels the band’s inner-Metallica with some clean guitars. Over top of this, an Alex Skolnick-influenced lead is laid down perfectly. The singer even gives his most impressive James Hetfield impersonation. This is the type of song that top-tier thrash bands make (and I don't just say that because I'm a huge sucker for ballads!); the only difference between say, Metallica, and Algebra, is that Metallica delivers that kind of quality on every song on an album. Of course, that’s not to say this album is weak. In fact, it’s anything but. Both of the opening two tracks are mean thrashers that show how to easily transition between blistering fast passages and more standard upbeat riffing. “Egosystem” likewise shows the band delivering a memorable song, in part due to the vocal lines spit forth. The final song, “Monotask”, is where Algebra unleashes their most technical moments. Overall, “Feed The Ego” is an album that holds up the high quality delivered by Unspeakable Axe Records. It is a bit more subdued in its approach than the consistent Kreator/Slayer worship of most modern bands, but it is equally compelling.
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4.1/5 or 82%.
Written by Scott