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OSI - Blood CD (album) cover




Experimental/Post Metal

3.69 | 206 ratings

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3 stars Having not enjoyed the cold and clinical sound of OSI's first 2 albums I may be a little mad to shell out for Blood too but what drew me in was the inclusion of one of my favourite drummers, Gavin Harrison of Porcupine Tree fame, who incidentally puts in a fine performance. Well while Blood is unlikely to be in my top 10 albums of 2009 it turns out to be my favourite release by the band.

Getting the complaints out the way first..well I still don't like Kevin Moore's monotone vocal delivery despite the fact that they fit in well with the modernistic electronic post metal sound. Fortunately Mikael Akerfeldt (Opeth) comes to the rescue on one track - Stockholm.

One of my biggest problems with their previous album Free was I felt Jim Matheos was underused on guitar; well I'm pleased to say he's much more to the fore here turning in some strong riffs throughout on the likes of album opener The Escape Artist ably assisted by Gavin Harrison's distinctive impeccably timed drumming driving the song along. It's one of the better tracks with Moore's synth noodlings kept in check by Matheos' powerful riffing. Equally heavy and just as good is the short but sweet False Start.

Despite my preference for 70's style keyboard sounds, perhaps partly because I now know what to expect from Moore I find myself more tolerant of his sequencers and modern synth sounds and quite enjoy some of the atmospheric textures he creates on the likes of The Terminal and We Come Undone.

I also enjoyed the powerful Radiologue with its hypnotic groove and equally so Be The Hero. Microburst Alert is a bit of a throwaway track but a pleasant surprise towards the end of the album is Stockholm not least because of Mikael Akerfeldt taking over from Moore on vocals. It's a laid back moody piece until Matheos introduces some heavy riffing close to the end with a fine performance from Akerfeldt, fortunately not in death metal vocal mode. Title track Blood is a strong closer too, like Stockholm a moody atmospheric track but more powerful.

Somewhat surprising, if you happen to own the bonus disc version is the fact that No Celebrations has been relegated to a bonus track. It's has a fantastic riff from Matheos and actually heavier than any of the other tracks and superior to at least half the album.

Overall Blood is a big improvement on past OSI albums, not only because of Matheos being a more dominant force in the guitar department but also for the more imaginative and interesting arrangements. Finally an OSI album I haven't regretted buying!

Nightfly | 3/5 |


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