If someone ran up to you and said "I've just overheard what had to be a new project with members of Meshuggah, Cynic, Dream Theater, and none other than Allan Holdsworth!", what do you think your reaction would be? First, you'd probably say "no way!", but after some thought, admit it, you'd be wanting to check out what sounds like a really interesting progressive metal supergroup. Well, before you get too excited, there's no such supergroup, but damn if Measuring the Abstract from Sweden's Terminal Function does sound like a long lost recording session attended by musicians from these bands. Though this is the bands first full-length release, they have been around for 10 years, and are just now unleashing the music to the metal masses thanks to Willowtip Records.
Lead singer Victor Larsson sounds a hell of a lot like Jens Kidman from Meshuggah when he's doing his extreme scream/bark/growl thing, somewhat like a huskier James LaBrie when he has the clean melodic passage going, and Paul Masvidal from Cynic on the rare occasion when he filters his voice through effects and vocoders. Musically, these guys are all over the place, pummeling death metal will suddenly give way to a Holdsworthian jazz section complete with liquid guitar lines and atmospheric keys, then the band lurches into pounding, complex riff-o-rama with intricate polyrhythms, lightning guitar leads and stabbing synth passages, like a head on collision between Meshuggah and Dream Theater. The way the band flops back and forth between progressive death metal and jazz will instantly remind you of Cynic, though Stefan Aronsson and Mikael Almgren clearly have a love of Allan Holdsworth and Fredrik Thordendal, their guitar solos dynamic and expertly woven. A track like "Dissolving Soul Fragments" sees the band covering every aspect, a powerful metal piece punctuated by an equal amount of prog and jazz. If you like insanely complex extreme metal, look no further than "The Brain-Shaped Mind" and "Room 101", each one filled with dizzying guitar & bass lines and wild drum fills, while "Cloning Assembly" takes the Meshuggah style one step further, the heavy yet complex grooves punctuated by weaving guitar patterns and maniacal vocal growls, keyboards providing the proggy background for added effect.
This is superb stuff all around, and sure, Terminal Function wear their influences on their sleeves, but man, it's hard not to be impressed by what they have accomplished here. More please!
1. Spawn 4:51
2. Room 101 6:55
3. Dissolving Soul Fragments 6:49
4. The Brain-Shaped Mind 6:48
5. Tactile 4:43
6. Cloning Assembly 6:42
7. Auroral Display 1:04
8. Remote Views 5:30