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OSI - Office Of Strategic Influence CD (album) cover

OFFICE OF STRATEGIC INFLUENCE

OSI

 

Experimental/Post Metal

4.01 | 228 ratings

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KansasRushDream
5 stars This album is one of my greatest finds in a long time. If it sounds like any other band, it simply sounds like a less keyboard-based Chroma Key with more traditional band instrumentation. Kevin Moore provides the vocals like in Chroma Key, but they are more subdued and less exciting to be quite honest. The musical content more than makes up for that though.

The opening track, "The New Math" is basically what "Space-Dye Vest" would be if Kevin Moore gave the rest of Dream Theater a hand in writing it; spoken dialogue by Dan Rather covered by quick moving rhythms in strange time signatures. It is an instumental track in the sense that Moore does no singing but there are plenty of words within it. This is a great opener for the album, because it is energetic and fast-paced even though the rest of the album is not like that at all. It is basically one last "hurrah" of Kevin Moore being with Dream Theater in my opinion. 10/10

"The New Math" instantly shifts into the title track, "OSI" The song is a sort of extension of "The New Math" but with lyrics and some "unplugged" sections. This track is of the same calibur as the first. It features some electronic patches that of course are the hand of Kevin Moore. The song also features a 7/4 time signature section that shows off a nice guitar riff (very "The New Math" influenced). Basically the first two tracks should be linked in my opinion, but I can understand why they were seperated. 9/10

The third track, "When You're Ready" is the first real entrance into the album's style. This track is a vocal-based work with light clean guitar in the background. Moore does little other than vocals, but throws in some patches here and there to make things exciting. The bass takes a very background role but you can hear it make its mark at times. The drums aren't what you would call a typical ballad style, featuring noticable snare and bass drums. Overall it is a simple song with catchy vocal and guitar lines. 9/10

"Horseshoes and B-52's" is another instrumental track in the same vein as "The New Math." Sort of repetitive but features some nice synth work and patches to keep things exciting. 8/10

The album transitions back into lyrical songs after "Horseshoes and B-52's", with "Head" being the next track in line. The song has sort of an Arabian/Middle Eastern feel thanks to the synth sounds which is pretty cool. There is a fairly lengthy instrumentation part from the middle to the end which features somewhat repeating phrases but varies enough to stay interesting. The song is pretty good but would be better if it were like a minute shorter or so. 8/10

"Hello, Helicopter!" is probably my favorite song of the entire album. It is a nice cool, laid-back, melodic work that has a very moody feel. The main acoustic theme is quite catchy and when the bass and bass drum are added in during one of the later times it is played it sounds really good. The vocals here are pretty clean which is pretty uncommon on this album. There are some distortion parts but it's a very clean sounding song vocally. The keyboard work is nice but sparse. When it does come in though it makes its mark and really fits well with the song. 10/10

"shutDOWN" is the longest song on the album, and it also features guest vocal by Steve Wilson (Porcupine Tree). Why he sings on this track I don't really know because in my opinion he sounds similar to Moore so I don't know what the objective was here. I guess his range is a bit higher than Moore's but whatever. The first half of the song is pretty dull in my opinion although some others seem to like it so it must not be that bad. The song gets more uptempo in the middle and becomes exciting. It seems like the song gradually gets better over time. Even the vocals get better as the song goes on. Once it gets going this is a very good song but the beginning is a bit too drawn out for my tastes. 8/10

"Dirt from a Holy Place" is another cool-down track featuring prominent keyboard work for really the first time on the album. The bass and drums make an entrance midway through followed by the guitar but the song is driven by the keys. This song is probably my second favorite because I really like the soft keyboard-driven style and it stays interesting the entire time which is all you can ask of an instrumental. 10/10

"Memory Daydreams Lapses" quiets down from what "Dirt From a Holy Place" built into. The vocals are distorted and quiet so they are hard to understand which isn't good but the music is interesting and in the same vein as the other soft works of the album. Much like "Hello, Helicopter!" it is a good chill song with some moody music to set a nice tone. 8/10

The album closes with "Standby (Looks Like Rain)" which is another soft piece. Moore features clean vocals that fit the songs style well (as usual). The guitar work makes me think of green fields with rolling hills even though the song talks abiout rain. It's a good but short-lived piece but it ends sort of abruptly in my opinion. Not the best closer but a good song. 8/10

Overall this is a VERY good album that will be enjoyed by both metalists as well as more softer-inclined listeners. A must-have for fans of Chroma Key but also for everyone else.

KansasRushDream | 5/5 |

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