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OSI - Office Of Strategic Influence CD (album) cover




Experimental/Post Metal

3.96 | 265 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars I have mentioned candidly in my review of Samla Mammas Manna's MALTID album that masterpiece albums usually are a good surprise and totally blow me away from the first listen to where I'm at currently. Well, the debut of O.S.I. did just that, and is it beautiful.

The project might be most familiar among Dream Theater fans as it reunites original keyboardist Kevin Moore with then-drummer Mike Portnoy. Despite there being some semi-technical moments, O.S.I. refrains from the technical pitfalls that can characterize some of DT's more bombastic moments. The technical side of metal opts for a more functional, odd timed side of things a la Fates Warning. Perfect segue, FW mastermind Jim Matheos is the other main musician here. We have as an end result, prog metal musicianship that lets the audience know its complex without getting too preachy about it. Everything falls into place as needed with nothing overdone in any solo department.

And since Matheos is part of the project, the metal has that wonderful crunch that is very apt for head banging, but it's thrown in an odd time signature (for example, the title track is mostly in 7/4) to avoid any sense of normal. The riffs tend to be like glue in that they get stuck in your head, particularly ''O.S.I'', ''Head'' and ''shutDOWN''. The keyboard work is also glorious, adding techno kinds of atmospheres without overbearing or drowning out anything. The little boost the keyboards give to ''The New Math'' just bolster the track's prowress.

But not all albums can function on a constantly fast-paced speed, so there are a few acoustic moments like ''When You're Ready'' and ''Hello, Helicopter'' (not truly acoustic since the keyboards aren't) to act as breathers so that the listener can relax from the frenzy that comes before. We even get a very Steven Wilson influenced track (he wrote and sang on it) in ''shutDOWN'' that qualifies as the epic of the album that evolves from Floydian sludge metal to a climactic mating of Fates Warning and Porcupine Tree. The project even treats us into a more electronic, spacey denouement in ''Memory Daydream Relapses''.

One criticism of this album that I can understand is that the vocals aren't very strong. Barring Steven Wilson on the epic, Kevin Moore is the singer, and he tends to sing in a dry, laconic tone nearing robotic. I actually have come to terms with Moore's voice as it provides a balance from the surrounding heaviness. The project also provides three well thought out instrumentals (''The New Math'', ''B-52s and Horseshoes'', ''Dirt From a Holy Place'') and in general, keeps the vocal moments to sparing offering the music a lot of leg room.

O.S.I.'s debut is a very well-constructed, muscular machine. If you don't mind the vocals or some of the political snippets, this is a proud example of how excellent prog metal can be.

Sinusoid | 5/5 |


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