"Measuring the Abstract" is the debut full-length studio album by Swedish technical/ progressive extreme metal act Terminal Function. The album was released through Willowtip Records in November 2008.
The music on the album is technical/progressive extreme metal with some jazzy Holdsworthian soloing (the solos are very similar to the style of playing byFredrik Thordendal from Meshuggah). The playing is generally very technically challenging and the tracks are complex (while still featuring an accessible vers/chorus element). The vocals are mostly aggressive but there are some clean parts and a few vocoder vocal parts too. While the music is pre-dominantly aggressive with fast and complex distorted riffing there are also some jazzy acoustic breaks and the above mentioned jazzy soloing in the music. The kind of semi-jazzy playing I associate with Cynic. There´re also keyboards in the music but they are mostly used to create atmosphere. Other references in addition to Meshuggah and Cynic are acts such as Atheist, Textures and especially fellow Swede progressive tech/extreme metal act Theory in Practice (the "The Armageddon Theories (1999)" album). There are 8 tracks on the album but "Auroral Display" is a 1:04 minutes long instrumental so there are actually only 7 "real" compositions on the album. The total playing time on "Measuring the Abstract" is 43:27 minutes though which is a perfect length for this kind of music IMO. All compositions are of high quality and the album appears consistent with a great flow.
The musicianship is excellent. These are very skilled musicians. Fast and varied drumming, great aggressive vocals (the clean vocals are not the best but they are decent) and razor sharp and intense riffing. The jazz element in their sound is also executed to perfection and adds the spice to their sound.
The production is excellent even though I could have wished that the aggressive vocals were a bit less processed. They are a bit over the top at times.
"Measuring the Abstract" is an excellent album in the progressive tech/extreme metal genre and fans of the above mentioned acts should definitely take a listen to this high quality album. It´s not the most original album I´ve heard in the genre but it´s a minor flaw that doesn´t take away the overall good impression I´ve gotten of Terminal Function. I´m sure their next album will show them developing a more personal sound. The genre so rarely sees new quality acts appear but I think we can safely expect great things from Terminal Function in the future. For now this is a great introduction to this new act and "Measuring the Abstract" fully deserves a 4 star (80%) rating.