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OSI Free album cover
3.40 | 210 ratings | 24 reviews | 19% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 2006

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Sure You Will (3:46)
2. Free (3:28)
3. Go (4:16)
4. All Gone Now (5:15)
5. Home Was Good (5:04)
6. Bigger Wave (4:33)
7. Kicking (3:54)
8. Better (4:06)
9. Simple Life (4:00)
10. Once (6:38)
11. Our Town (3:21)

Total Time 48:21

Bonus CD from 2006 SE:
1. Osidea 9 (3:33)
2. Set It on Fire (3:42)
3. Communicant (3:47)
4. When You're Ready (demo) (3:09)
5. Remain Calm (4:08)
6. Old War (1:06)

Total Time 19:25

Line-up / Musicians

- Jim Matheos / guitar, keyboards, programming
- Kevin Moore / vocals, Elektron Monomachine, Minimoog Voyager, programming

- Joey Vera / bass (1,2,4,6,7)
- Mike Portnoy / drums
- Bige Akdeniz / guitar & vocals (bonus 6)

Releases information

Artwork: Thomas Ewerhard with Joel Seckleman (photo)

CD Inside Out Music ‎- IOMCD 245 (2006, Germany)
2CD Inside Out Music ‎- IOMSECD 245 (2006, Germany) Bonus CD with 6 tracks

Thanks to silentman for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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OSI Free ratings distribution

(210 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(19%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(39%)
Good, but non-essential (30%)
Collectors/fans only (10%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

OSI Free reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Menswear
5 stars My first hope for 2006.

I'm not sure but, '06 seems to start slowly on the progressive scene. Some bands tends to keep the best for last, but this year seems to 'not start' on the right foot. Lots of bands that tries to be the new king of metallic prog, often without too much originality...

Hip hip hurray, finally something's happening.

Office of Strategic Influence gave us one the best 2003 albums without exagerating. The blend of high tech sounds and programming, with sharp guitars and phantom bass lines made them a super surprise and immediately gave street cred to the band. The first album was such a thrill, my hopes were high for the next one...super bands can be so decieving.

Well, slap me and call me Charlie, they did it.

This is getting deeper in the programming vein, making it more electronic. Man, this sounds so rich and complex AND modern at the same time! I've waited a long time for an album that crosses keyboard gadgets, dark atmospheres and sharp guitars without being Evanescence or Riverside. This flirts more with Boards of Canada, Sigur Ros or Fates Warning, without being a rip-off. Once again, this would be a fantastic soundtrack for a Bourne Identity movie or Mission Impossible. Both albums go great together, first one being more guitars, the second one being more electronic.

Many are complaining about Moore's voice, that is too melancholic and depressing. I do agree that Moore is not really 'singing' like Labrie is doing, but his voice is there to soothe and calm the listener; many times I've I felt relaxed after a song. To me, Moore's voice is the key to OSI. You like it or you don't. Perfect espionnage music.

Review by sleeper
2 stars Free is the second album from OSI, the project of ex-Dream Theater keyboard wizard Kevin Moore, Jim Matheos of Fates Warning and Dream Theater's Mike Portnoy. This, however, is not the balls out technical wizardry that you might expect from such a line up, in fact it is a rather melodic and mellow album.

Character is definitely the biggest problem here, there is just a chronic lack of any, and though this is a short album by modern standards (48 minutes) I found myself wondering when it was going to end, in short its largely dull. Listening to this album you find it very difficult to judge were one song ends and another begins, everything just blends together as most of the songs contain very little change in their feeling. As the song Go fade's through All Gone Now and the album continues to move you don't realize the track has changed until you reach Better (witch as an apt description of it compared to the previous songs), some four songs latter. Unfortunately this up turn doesn't hold and the following two songs revert to the same drone as before. This album does finish on a higher note though with Our Town, witch has a surprising country feel to it.

The individual performances are also a bit hit-and-miss here as well. Jim Matheos guitar work dominates on this album and what we get is slightly lack lustre, there's only a minimal sense of dynamic coming from his riffs, though Our Town is much more memorable. Portnoy's drum's are massively subdued here and tend to get lost behind the guitar riffs, something I was surprised at considering Mike's playing for Dream Theater and other side-projects he's worked on. Kevin Moore offers up some redeeming qualities in his occasionally interesting keyboard lines but unfortunately I find his voice to be droning and very dull, though it appears to fit the music. Joey Vera, also of Fates Warning, gives some very nice bass lines, most notably on the opening track, Sure You Will, however as he only performs on about half of the songs his contribution wasn't enough to bring the rating of the album up.

Overall this is a rather dull album that totally lacks any major dynamic, and I would even question just how prog it is, because to these ears its rather straight forward rock/metal. I'll give it two stars as the opening two tracks plus the closer, Our Town, are half decent songs but the rest I could do without.

Review by King of Loss
4 stars This is OSI's new album, featuring the famous Prog trio of Jim Matheos, Mike Portnoy and Kevin Moore. It kicks off with the rockers Sure You Will and Free. These songs mix experimental rock, metal and of course Kevin moore's Chroma Key. I had a strange craving that this what was going to firmly put into place, seeing Dream Theater's latest album, Octavarium and Fates Warning's FWX was simpler and less pretentious. This, however, was a good thing in both cases with Octavarium and FWX being better than the albums before such as the ambitious, heavy Train Of Thought album that tried to be a bit too heavy, but never brutal. The mixture of Kevin Moore's project is evident in the song structure and the electronic beats.

This album highly reminds me of a Porcupine Tree album, with the simple Metal riffs, the electronic background music and simple lyrics, but Kevin Moore's voice really stands above everything. Even though Kevin Moore is not the master of voice projection, his voice stands out as beautiful, soothing and relaxing. The beautiful emotions that he has are highly reminiscent of that sad, legendary Dream Theater song.

This album is very good and deserves a lot of praise. Definitely a step up from the first OSI album. Ignore all the un-pleasant comments about this album, because this album is very good.

Grade: 85%

Review by Rivertree
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Band Submissions
2 stars There's no way - I'm very disappointed about this release! Listening to this for several times doesn't help. Nothing to get excited.

The voice of Kevin Moore is boring! Chroma Key (f.e. Dead air for radios) is much better! All releases from Fates Warning are better! The first output of OSI is better! I can only see one exception: track 4 'All gone now'.

Summary: lost time for Mike Portnoy and Joe Vera.

Review by Tristan Mulders
4 stars OSI - Free

O.S.I. really caught me off-guard with their self-titled debut album "Office of Strategic Influence". The songs were filled with strange synthesizer melodies, sounds and mainly effected drum patterns. Not being a Mike Portnoy fan, mainly because of his rather annoying habit to fill every gap of air with cymbals, I have to admit his rhythmic work with OSI is quite splendid.

Whereas the debut album was a lot in the same vein as Kevin Moore's Chroma Key music, here it is a lot more rock orientated. Somehow this does not give the music a totally different sound like one might suspect. But not everything on this second album has its roots in rock music. Some of the songs would have fitted perfectly on the debut album. One of these songs is called Go. This experimental song sounds a lot like Chroma Key, mainly because it's all experimentation with electronics. Don't expect something like Ulver's "Silence teaches you how to sin" suite, here it is one coherent piece of music.

Home was good is yet another slow piece of music. With its minimalist synthesizer patterns and warm waves of keyboards it really sounds unearthly and I cannot compare it to anything but OSI themselves or Chroma Key, the sound is just typical Kevin Moore-esque I think.

Being a fan of both rock/metal and electronic music, I can enjoy OSI's music to the max. Songs alike Bigger Wave really combine these two/three genres to the fullest. Did the debut album sound like Porcupine Tree in places (not only because of Porcupine Tree's Steven Wilson's involvement with the song "ShutDOWN")? Here these aspects are lesser present, instead they have a more or less sound of their own.

There's a major difference between the "Office of Strategic Influence" and "Free" albums: the song on the "Free" album sound a lot more catchy and a friend of mine even commented that the guitar sounded a bit like nu-metal (Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park!) to her ears and I can relate to her comment when listening to the song Better, but I think it is a combination of the guitar sound and the drum computer.

The song that sounds the most like Porcupine Tree has to be Simple Life. Composition wise it reminds me of Porcupine Tree around the "Signify" era, but the heavier guitar section and the gentle guitar solo sound like anything on either the "In Absentia" or their "Deadwing" album.

Quite often I've read comments about OSI's music that state Moore's 'monotonous' vocals, but I don't mind his sound personally. They work as an extra instrument and since the music already has a tendency to be rather hypnotic, this is only for the better.

The final space rock song on this follow-up album is the well-constructed Once. Not only being one of the longer songs on the album (6.37 min! Wow hehe, that's long for prog standards), it is also the song with the best intro, which sounds suspiciously a lot like Ozric Tentacles. But this is nothing to complain about. Gradually a beat is noticeable and Kevin Moore's vocals enter the frame. The song continuous in typical OSI style with loopbased drumming and guitarplaying. What I think is best about the song is that it would work as a great final track with its lengthy outro, but instead an acoustic song is included as another, and final, track.

This acoustic piece, Our Town, was the one track I disliked the first couple of times I listened to the album, mainly because it misses all the typical OSI elements (i.e. the atmospheres, the electronics etc.) instead we get something that sounds a lot like Pink Floyd as in "Wish you were here" (the song), with some folky (!) guitar included. Not the best way to round of such a great album, but it does show a side of OSI we haven't heard before.

This album will most definitely not disappoint those who are fond of the band's debut album and I think it could work as a great album to introduce fans of progressive metal to another sub genre of prog rock, space rock, as well.

Review by Queen By-Tor
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars They've changed.

(Side note -- I'd originally given this album a 4 when I'd first gotten it... it was also my first review. After listening to it recently I've decided to completely overhaul this review)

Stunning a good chunk of the prog world with their self titled debut, masterminds Joey Vera and Kevin Moore regroup and release this effort. Unfortunately for the people more acquainted to OSI's progressive side the band would choose to take (at once) a more heavy and electronic sound over their spacey and meditative debut. The songs here are shorter, more strait forward, and less inclined towards experimentation.

There's no instrumental overture as the album kicks off into SURE YOU WILL. A good, electo-rock song that still has it's moments the song more or less sets the pace of the rest of the album. Others to follow such as FREE, KICKING, GO and BIGGER WAVE follow this formula fairly closely wile some others such as HOME WAS GOOD take the slower route.

Still some standout above the generally 'good' tracks, a couple of them branch off into the territories that they were in before. The longest track on the album, the six and a half minute ONCE is probably the most progressive thing that the album has to offer, and this is one that would have fit right in on the first album. OUR TOWN is a beautiful outro that it very emotionally sung and played giving off all the feelings portrayed in the music.

Still a 'good' album, this one is hardly essential. If you're a big fan of the first album you might like this one, and if you like your music a little bit more electro-rock this might quench your thirst as well. The rest of us will just have to wait for their next album. 3 stars, good but not essential.

A couple more things to note. If you go out and buy the special edition you'll also get a bonus disc of some of the tracks left off the album. Apparently this is where everything that would have made this album sound more like their first. Perhaps they didn't want to do that (and kudos for that), but one still sheds a single tear over what the album could have been. A bit more on the electronic side, this disc is actually very very experimental and any one who liked the first album will get an intense kick out of this disc. If you're getting the special edition then tack another half star onto this rating.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars OSI is the project of Jim Matheos and Kevin Moore, this is their second album and they get help on drums from friend Mike Portnoy, while FATES WARNING bassist Joey Vera adds his talents to 5 tracks. In the liner notes they thank former FATES WARNING guitarist Frank Aresti among others.

"Sure You Will" is an uptempo track with some huge bass lines from Joey. Vocals before a minute. The drums are great and check out the powerful guitar that comes and goes. Synths arrive 2 1/2 minutes in and a calm follows a minute later. "Free" opens with this amazing guitar intro. Jim is incredible ! Vocals join in with a full sound. Love the heaviness that comes and goes. Turn it up ! Killer track ! They slow it down on the next song "Go" with lots of electronics from Kevin. Love this song ! Kevin is freaking amazing ! "All Gone Now" opens with the guitar crashing in and heaviness follows. It settles down before a minute as contrast continues. Vocals before 1 1/2 minutes. "Home Was Good" opens with some great atmosphere. Vocals before a minute. Not a lot going on in this one but it's very cool.

"Bigger Wave" hits us with a heavy beat eventually with electonics. Vocals join in. It kicks in heavily before 3 minutes. Killer sound ! It settles back a minute later. "Kicking" has this great sounding bass as drums and vocals come in. A fuller sound a minute in. The electronics are a nice touch. "Better" is such a good track. Check out Matheos early on. Love the heaviness after 2 minutes. A ton of bass follows with vocals. Huge bass lines from Vera ! "Simple Life" features a lot of electronics with vocals. This very much reminds me of Kevin's other project CHROMA KEY. Some power 2 minutes in though. "Once" opens with electronics and I really like the guitar after a minute. Cool melodies. Vocals before 2 minutes. Check out the drums after 3 1/2 minutes. "Our Town" is pretty much strummed guitar and vocals.

"Go" is my favourite track on here with "Free" and "Once" the runners up. Great album though that can kick ass, but also has lots of electronics and Kevin's cool vocals.

Review by Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Second album by this super group.

And possibly disappointing for quite a few people, as the music on display here as a bit unlike what you'd expect by these guys as a group. Backgrounds from prog metal greats Dream Theater and fates Warning should opt for a prog metal release you'd think.

But not in this case.

Although the synth and guitar both are much used on this album, it's the synthwork that forms a general ambient-related and digital mood here. The music has drive, can be hard and heavy as well, there's even a few riff based displays here - but the synth work is noticeable throughout here.

The end result is a laid back affair with futuristic tinges to the sound, and world-weary vocals creating a very special mood throughout.

Not everybody's cup of tea probably, but in my view this one is way up there as a truly great release.

Review by Prog Leviathan
3 stars An interesting change in tone and song style make for another round of fun listening with OSI's second release. Taken as a whole, I think the debut is stronger and more creative musically-- but be damned if I don't find myself enjoying the slickly produced effects and performances here just as much.

Songs are, as a general thing, have much more in common with Moore's Chroma Key work than with the groups metal roots. Only three of the songs really rock (with crunchy guitar riffs and big drumming), with the other selections featuring a much more somber and laidback mood. Moore's synth and vocal's are deceptively simple and deliciously textures, while Maethos gives us lots of guitar effects and simpleish melodies to shine through Moore's dark tapestries. Songs here can slither past the listener's attention easily, but taking the time to listen will certainly please.

Recommended for fans of metal/electronica/psychdelia whom are prepared to be seduced by Moore's infectious compositions (and probably become Chroma Key fans in the process).

Songwriting: 3 Instrumental Performances: 3 Lyrics/Vocals: 3 Style/Emotion/Replay: 4

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The second album from OSI is a continuation of the style they started on their debut album. This time the diversity isnt in the high seat though. What made the debut so strong was the diversity IMO. Free is a bit more ambient and almost every song is in the same mood. OSI is a project that Kevin Moore ( ex-Dream Theater, Chroma Key) and Jim Matheos ( Fates Warning) has put together. They are helped by Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater, Transatlantic, Neal Morse and more) on drums and Joey Vera (Fates Warning, Engine, Armored Saint and more) on bass. Its clearly the brainchild of Kevin Moore though.

The music is ambient electronic prog rock with occasional heavy moments created by Jim Matheos distorted guitar. There are many good emotional songs on the album, but I think its a problem that the mood is much the same in every song. Not unlike the mood in Chroma Keys songs. Free generally sounds a lot like Chroma Key just with added heavy moments. It gets a bit trivial in the end but itt still enjoyable though. Favorites for me are Sure You Will, All Gone Now and Home Was Good. Kevin Moores emotional voice is kept much in the same register which can at times seem trivial. This is an aquired taste though.

The production is very good and modern sounding. But I expect no less when were dealing with Kevin Moore.

The musicians are outstanding, but knowing which bands they come from and have played with this is no surprise. Kevin Moore seems to have an endless amount of sounds to his disposal, and this is used cleverly.

Free is not as good or innovative as the OSI debut but it is still a good album that deserves 3 stars. I think OSI needs a bit more diversity in their song writing to get 4 stars from me but a big 3 star rating it is.

Review by Nightfly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Having bought the first OSI album and not enjoying it very much you might wonder why I bothered getting this one too. Well being a Dream Theater fan and OSI including ex-Keyboard player Kevin Moore and Drummer Mike Pornoy I was prepared to give them another chance and was hoping for something better. Not that I was expecting anything in the Dream Theater vein, OSI's first album bore no resemblance to them whatsoever and why should it, the reason for Moore leaving the band was due to the fact he'd grown tired of their grandiose Prog Metal. To be honest I wish I hadn't bothered though as if anything Free is a less enjoyable listening experience than the first cd.

Although Mike Portnoy appears, as does ex-Armoured Saint and Fates Warning Bassist Joey Vera this project is the baby of Moore and partner in crime Jim Matheos who is better known for being the Guitarist in Fates Warning. Between them they share Keyboard and Programming duties with Matheos also on Guitar and Moore doing the Vocals.

So why don't I like it? Well first off I want to make it clear that Free is not a bad album, just not a particularly enjoyable listen. Matheos is underused on Guitar which is a pity as the bits that actually make me sit up and listen a bit more is when he beefs up the sound with a decent Guitar riff. I don't like Moore's Vocals which are soulless, very clinical sounding and almost monotone. Nor do I in the main like the Keyboards either. None of the dexterity that Moore displayed in Dream Theater is on display here. The Keyboards are very modern sounding often creating ambient soundscapes and to use that word again, clinical. As already mentioned things are improved a bit when Matheos is given a bit of free rein on Guitar and thus the better tracks being album opener Sure You Will (nice sounding Vera Bass too), title track Free and Better. Somewhat out of place is album closer Our Town, which is in the main dominated by acoustic Guitar and the most melodic track on offer. A nice closer which could have been even better with a decent singer and a shame a few more tracks weren't like this. 2 stars.

Review by jampa17
4 stars Could be consider like power pop... but is very enjoyable...

Their second album is kind of a "heavy Chroma Key" more oriented into the Kevin Moore inspiration... sure there are heavy songs, and the excellent guitar riffs from Matheos... but you know, their are not into catching prog fans... they're just making interesting and original music into a very dense atmosphere...

The story continues with the end of the first album... this secret agent find out that he's if free 'cause they dissolve his secret spay division... so the album deals with his struggles to get a "Free" life and try to reconnect with the regular people... With this plot, you'll find Moore having fun been very ambiguous in the lyrics... so many people didn't get that is not about anybody but our secret agent life... I think the lyrics are really the outstanding thing about this album... People really get related with them...

Portnoy makes a decent job here, not overwhelming but is nice to see him been on some kind of held and not trying to bring every wall down... is nice and refreshing... The album has short songs... don't spect epics or something like that... Is all about sense and sound...

I really recomend it when you have time to really dedicate atention... 'cause you'll be wonder what he really mean on every turn... is nice... so... com'on... this is very entertaining and again, not just about crazy riffs and though music... this is about sense and soul...

You'll find yourself wanting to be "Free..."

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Few will argue that Kevin Moore's involvement on OSI's second album is much larger then Jim Mateos's contributions. But an equally low amount of fans will agree whether that was a good or a bad thing. With Mateos guitars taking the backseat, the vocals come more to the fore. That's where a lot of the discord stems from. Not everybody appreciates different Kevin Moore's discreet vocals. Some find him flat, limited, tedious and soulless. Others love his sensitive and understated delivery.

Being quite the admirer of Kevin Moore and Chroma Key, I have always deeply loved this OSI album. Even if it's not entirely consistent and doesn't live up to the promise set by the opening songs, it's a very strong album that is filled to the brim with sophisticated rock music and sonic explorations. The first two songs are absolutely brilliant trip-rockers, appealing for their metallic edge, catchy grooves and clever arrangements.

Also the next batch of songs is solid. Jim Mateos only contributes to All Gone Now, so don't expect much metal here. Instead Moore sings on atmospheric rock songs that should appeal to fans of Anathema, Porcupine Tree and Chroma Key. The flash of inspiration ends with Kicking, one of my favourites on this album.

What follows is slightly below the excellence of the first 7 tracks. Or maybe it's just the continuous gloomy mood of the album that makes it slightly dragging. Better brings the guitars back and is still a decent strongest tune, but Once is a bit dreary in the melodic department. Just like the previous OSI, this album ends with a long progressive space-rock techno piece followed by a short acoustic tune. The ambient techno prog of Once is fine, but somehow it disappoints, maybe the album needed a more powerful statement to raise the mood here. It sounds a bit flat. The charming acoustic tune Our Town is a real winner. Pink Floyd couldn't have done it better.

Overall, a wonderful OSI album. Just don't expect or judge this as a metal album.

Review by Conor Fynes
3 stars 'Free' - OSI (6/10)

Prog rock supergroups are generally consistent in two ways. First, they are bound to create a level of excitement for the fans of whatever artists involved, and second, they almost always disappoint. While jazz 'super' groups work because that style is focused on the musicianship and skill of the members, it's rare that a group of established musicians will put a great deal of effort or ambition into a project that isn't part of their 'flagship' band. Regardless, OSI has proven itself to be more than a one-off venture. Leading this group is keyboardist Kevin Moore, who most will know for his tenure in the 'classic' lineup of Dream Theater, although he has kept himself busy since leaving, be it through his solo work with Chroma Key, or his keyboard contributions to Fates Warning. Joining him from Fates Warning is guitarist Jim Matheos and bassist Joey Vera. Add now-former Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy into the mix and you have a group that's bound to get progressive metallers around the world excited. But does OSI pay off the fans' anticipation?

'Free' is the second album coming from the OSI project, and readily evident in each song here is the declaration that this is a separate entity from any of the band member's other work or 'best known' bands. The closest thing this might come to is Kevin Moore's Chroma Key, although OSI brings in a metal element. At its core, this is atmospheric hard rock, complete with chunky riffs, catchy vocal hooks, and plenty of electronic ambiance to make things more interesting. Although it may have been different on OSI's first album, 'Free' is a very keyboard-driven effort, and considering that Kevin Moore is also doing the vocal work, it's clear who the star of the show is from track one onwards. From a perspective of songwriting, these songs are fairly easy to digest, but certainly enjoyable. Kevin Moore's voice leans towards the warm-yet-not-technically-skilled spectrum of singers, and this works with the fairly straightforward style that OSI is going for here.

The production gives OSI a sound that's comparable to Porcupine Tree, and though there is little to startle a seasoned prog listener here, the rich and professional recording gives this collection of songs a perfect frame. Moore's approach here is personal and sincere, although the one-sided nature of the album tends to hurt the album's lasting effect. Although OSI may take the listener through harder rocking tunes and softer ballads alike, the emotional resonance feels the same throughout this album, and as such, it makes an already accessible album all the less of a challenge. To answer the question I posed; yes, OSI does deliver something new for fans of Dream Theater and Fates Warning, but the enjoyment sadly shrinks once a listener gains familiarity with the work. Kevin Moore delivers a fine performance on 'Free', but this brevity could have been offset by a more band-based experience. Although there is a full cast of musicians here, the limelight is shed on ambient electronic-based rock tunes, and the rest of the artists fail to get the degree of exposure here that their fans might have been expected.

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars Kevin Moore from Dream Theatre, Jim Matheos from Fates Warning, guests Mike Portnoy also from Dream Theatre, Joey Vera from Armored Saint.....sounds like a powerhouse lineup that could produce some excellent heavy prog doesn't it? Well, in this case on this album, it doesn't produce the fireworks you would think it would. The songs here are good, but sort of lackluster for the most part.

Where the first OSI album was more guitar based, this one brings in more keyboards. Nothing wrong with that at all. In fact, there isn't really much wrong with most of the instrumentals other than there just isn't enough of them on this album, and the tired sounding, non-dynamic vocals from Kevin only bring down the mood and sound of the music. What you end up with is a bunch of mid-tempo, mostly lackluster songs when you should be getting a bunch of hard hitting music considering who is involved in this album.

Moore stated that this album feels more focused. Well, it is more focused and consistent, that is for sure. But that really is the downfall to this album. There are a few highlights where the music sounds like it might just take off, but something always seems to restrain it from doing so. This is also not an experimental album, the music is really quite straightforward, with not much in the way of dynamics or innovation. Vocals sound tired and the instrumentals sound restrained. The vocals have a strange processed sound to them and that comes from the doubletracking that is used.

The album was put together by Matheos sending Moore guitar parts that he made up and Moore would arrange them to fit into the songs. I can't help but think that the guitar parts might have had a little more life to them before they hit the chopping block. Now, it's not that I have anything against using more keyboards, I'm all for it in fact. But all the life just seems to be taken out of the music just so it matches Moore's vocals. I don't know why he decided to double track his vocals either, yes it does give a certain atmosphere to the music, and if the vocals were more dynamic, then it might work, but all it does here is deaden the music twice as much.

There are a few highlights here, the ones that break the mold of the same sounding songs like "Go", "Home Was Good" (which actually uses some very nice atmospheric keyboards to break up the usual sound), and "Better", but those tracks get lost in the sameness of the majority of the songs here. As much as I wanted to love this album, I am disappointed in that it seems that I can't wait for it to be over whenever I play it. I don't think this album is really worth the effort it might take to locate it, so I have to consider it a 2 star album. It's just too flat, boring and there really isn't anything that progressive about it.

Latest members reviews

4 stars This is the first time that I rate an album of this genre. I usually rate progressive metal albums. Even if the artists that are included here, originally belonged to prog metal bands(fates warning, dream theater the majors of the groups) the music is much simpler than the aforementioned bands. Bu ... (read more)

Report this review (#223316) | Posted by mel from hell | Saturday, June 27, 2009 | Review Permanlink

3 stars With ''Free'', O.S.I., a collaboration by Kevin Moore (ex-Dream Theater) and Jim Matheos (Fates Warning) have released their second album. This project' sound is similar to Kevin Moore's Chroma Key project (which he started years after leaving Dream Theater) with the guitars of Fates Warning adde ... (read more)

Report this review (#222106) | Posted by Luke. J | Sunday, June 21, 2009 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I waited for some time before giving review of this album, as I rushed in writing of first O.S.I. album to which I gave five stars. Trust me, I did not make mistake with first one, it is truly fantastic record, with many new stuffs, original and challenging sound. This is not similar to firs ... (read more)

Report this review (#101458) | Posted by nisandzic | Sunday, December 3, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Good album yes, masterpiece, not really. I didn't really try to compare it to their first album, and I definatly pushed aside my expecations (I try to do that with sequal albums....), and well I'd have to say that I was definetly impressed with these talented muscians work. I love Office of Str ... (read more)

Report this review (#93256) | Posted by Xeroth | Tuesday, October 3, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars well, let's start... Thanks for a great record, and a great attitude to music industry: NONE. Yes, the great mastermind melted into one, i think that the history of Fates Warning and Dream Theater would have been a lot more different if KEVIN MOORE had chosen to play with JIM MATHEOS earlier, wh ... (read more)

Report this review (#83770) | Posted by arqwave | Friday, July 14, 2006 | Review Permanlink

2 stars After an excellent first album called "Office of Strategical Influence" from the ex-keyboardist of Dream Theater Kevin Moore, Jim Matheos from Fates Warning and Mike Portnoy from DT, I was very impressed. Great songs, harmonics and compositions. I bought the limited edition and also loved thei ... (read more)

Report this review (#79370) | Posted by D.Noisserger | Thursday, May 25, 2006 | Review Permanlink

1 stars I am not allowed to give "0" stars rating, I am not allowed to use rude and abusive language when reviewing an album, therefore I am very limited by the site's rules in expression of all my disgust by this album. This is work of two highly acclaimed persons in progressive music - namely famou ... (read more)

Report this review (#79337) | Posted by eugene | Thursday, May 25, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Been very excited knowing that OSI was releasing another album real soon. and once it got into stores i was able to get it right away not to mention it was on sale. My overal feelings about his album that it is just as good as the first album. FREE has a little complexity than the debut alb ... (read more)

Report this review (#76870) | Posted by Progdrummer05 | Monday, May 1, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This is a sneaky album. I must admit that at the first couple spins, I wasn't quite catching on to the unique sound of OSI's new release. Probably because I was expecting something very similar to their first album, it wasn't until about the third listen that I really began to appreciate wha ... (read more)

Report this review (#76772) | Posted by The Progmatist | Monday, May 1, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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