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OSI

Experimental/Post Metal • United States


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OSI biography
O.S.I. was originally conceived as a side Project of talented guitarist and songwriter JIM MATHEOS (Fates Warning). His 17 minutes single track was used as a demo sent to the musicians he wanted to get involved with, approaching MIKE PORTNOY (Dream Theater) and KEVIN MOORE (ex-Dream Theater, Chroma Key) separately. MOORE took the ideas from the song and developed a more industrial and ambient rock feel, making a lot of loops and modifications to the song and sending back the ideas to MATHEOS, who was pleased with the new approach and started the concept of O.S.I. together. PORTNOY joined the band as well, but didn't get involved in the composition process.

The trio finally joined in June of 2002 to record the ideas that MOORE and MATHEOS worked by email in the previous months. Though they approached several different singers, such as DANIEL GILDENLÖW (Pain of Salvation) and STEVEN WILSON (Porcupine tree), by the time of the recording it was evident that KEVIN MOORE was the right choice to fit in because he worked all the lyrics and melodies for the songs. SEAN MALONE (Gordian Knot) was hired as guest bass player.

The name of the band was based on the US Government Organization "Office of Strategic Influence", a propaganda organization created after September 11 attacks. MOORE took the situation to create a "spy secret" plot into the lyrics of the album.

Their Debut album "Office of Strategic Influence" was released in 2003 in a regular edition consisted in 10 songs including a special participation of STEVEN WILSON, who sang and composed the song "ShutDOWN", and a special edition including the original 17 minutes song named "The Thing That Never Was" and covers of Pink Floyd and Neil Young. The album was highly acclaimed by critics and well surprised regular prog metal fans, who didn't expect the different approach of the album. PORTNOY didn't like the result and claimed he was out of the band.

MOORE and MATHEOS kept sharing their ideas through emails in the next few years and finally joined again in 2005 to record the long awaited second album. PORTNOY joined them but only as a session musician rather than a member. Also, JOEY VERA (Fates Warning) played the bass tracks for the album.

Released in April of 2006, "Free" showed a more "pop" oriented sound, with less progressive elements and more ambient sounds, making it more mainstream, closer to Chroma Key and away from traditional prog metal concept. The album had a regu...
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Office of Strategic InfluenceOffice of Strategic Influence
Metal Blade 2010
Audio CD$10.81
$8.64 (used)
BloodBlood
Inside Out U.S. 2009
Audio CD$10.95
$18.39 (used)
FreeFree
Import · Special Edition
Inside Out 2006
Audio CD$22.77
$14.63 (used)
Fire Make ThunderFire Make Thunder
Import
Sony UK 2012
Vinyl$19.84
Whisper NotWhisper Not
Lml Music 2003
Audio CD$2.00
$1.91 (used)
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OSI discography


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OSI top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.01 | 228 ratings
Office Of Strategic Influence
2003
3.45 | 163 ratings
Free
2006
3.72 | 188 ratings
Blood
2009
3.57 | 135 ratings
Fire Make Thunder
2012

OSI Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

OSI Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

OSI Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.93 | 117 ratings
Office of Strategic Influence (Limited Edition)
2003

OSI Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.90 | 34 ratings
Re:Free
2006

OSI Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Blood by OSI album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.72 | 188 ratings

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Blood
OSI Experimental/Post Metal

Review by agla

5 stars The project O.S.I. born in 2003 , when Jim Matheos , Kevin Moore and Mike Portnoy , three veterans of the progressive metal scene, decided to put together their own experiences, to create something completely new and unusual . After three years since the publication of "Free" second full length , finally sees the light of the third album entitled " Blood" and published by Inside Out Music . A little bit of Fates Warning (the best - those of " Disconnected" ) , a little Chroma Key (the project by Kevin Moore) , a splash of Porcupine Tree and Massive Attack: here is " Blood" It looks more solid and heavy oriented than in the past , the stylistic coordinates of this cd are always a progressive largely experimental, rock riffs , electronic inserts , dark atmospheres and ambient, and sporadic references to industrial

Next to the two mastermind Jim Matheos and Kevin Moore , we find for the first time the excellent Gavin Harrison (Porcupine Tree) on drums, to replace Mike Portnoy. Also of note the participation of Mikael Åkerfeldt ( Opeth ) as guest singer.

There are nine tracks that make up this disc , for a total duration of about 45 minutes. Tracks very complex and difficult to assimilate those contained in this " Blood" played mainly on dark atmospheres , hypnotic and overwhelming. In this sense a great job it performs the voice of Kevin Moore , very warm and special , perfect for these intense musical textures and decadent

Among the most successful pieces we can certainly count the initial " The Escape Artist " , magnificent song introduced by a short guitar arpeggio that results in a series of granitic riffs, ready to attack the listener . Very interesting is the next "Terminal ", a song more atmospheric, and thoughtful that shows us the soul more closely electronic of the band, while " False Start" returns on shores more purely metallic with heavy riffing and tight for a wild Matheos. Excellent moreover also "Be the Hero" aftertaste Porcupine Tree, and the ethereal and dreamy. "Stockholm" magnificently played by Mikael Åkerfeldt .

Ultimately, we are facing perhaps the best album ever produced by the award-winning company Matheos -Moore !! Beyond the technical skills put on display , what is striking about this " Blood" is an organic and inspired songwriting , though still sounds halfway between metal and avant-garde experimentation. the band has evolved their sound and make it more intriguing and compact. An excellent job in every point of view (although the production is excellent throughout )

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 Fire Make Thunder by OSI album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.57 | 135 ratings

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Fire Make Thunder
OSI Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Timdano

4 stars What turns a "side project" into a legitimate act? If quality, consistency and a (now) 4 album discography are qualifiers, OSI is certainly a legitimate artist. Due to the quality found here and albums preceding "Fire Make Thunder" I find it surprising that OSI doesn't have a bigger following.

General highlights on this album

Great flow, ambiance, production sound quality, songwriting and post- metal quality here. Gavin Harrison's chops (Porcupine Tree, if you didn't know) tower over everything here - I here a lot of the metal moments of Porcupine Tree's last 4 albums or so thundering through every track - the guy's a monster on the skins. Jim Matheos (Fate's Warning) underlying guitar lines are meaty and memorable. Keven Moore's (ex-Dream Theater, if you didn't know) work here is awesome as well: the guy knows how to combine myriad keyboard elements to alternative prog-related metal music. I also find his vocal style surprisingly calming and subdued and surprisingly fitting to the music style.

The only downside I see here is that "Fire Make Thunder" is on the shorter side. A solid 4 star album.

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 Fire Make Thunder by OSI album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.57 | 135 ratings

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Fire Make Thunder
OSI Experimental/Post Metal

Review by jampa17
Prog Reviewer

4 stars GAVIN HARRISON plays the drums and composed one song for the album

Maybe if I start naming the drummer of Porcupine Tree, just maybe the people might put more attention to this great music. I mean, O.S.I is now a coherent side project with four albums and more than 10 years bringing great music to the world of prog and it's still an underdog, an unknown project. Well, this a great band and this album is maybe their most accessible for any kind of prog music fan. This is a great album to hear driving in the night through the country side. It's a vivid experience of different emotions and great moods and grooves.

Well, if you already know their other albums, you already know how this sounds: a great balance between layered keyboards, heavy guitars and soft paced vocals. The difference with their last effort "Blood", is that the music is less dark but more melancholic. The music takes you into an easy journey around a lot of landscapes and "visual" sounds. This is one of those few bands that can make interesting music and that the sounds emerge in my mind as visions. JIM MATHEOS commands the ride with great heavy guitar riffs and some really nice harmonic clean guitars. KEVIN MOORE is in charge of the ambient keyboards, sampling and his slow down tuned vocals, with that peculiar style in between depressive and sarcastic.

For those who haven't heard anything of this band but like Porcupine Tree, Oceansize, even Riverside or other alternative prog-rock bands, this band is for you. This particular album is quite accessible and short enough to make you want more. This is also a great match for those who like Moore's other work, such as The Chroma Key.

You'll find an instrumental track, based on a Harrison phrase that the band constructed from there. If you are interested in music with sense, melancholic and hard, this is a great alternative. O.S.I surely deserves more attention from the prog fans. You can start here. Fire Make Thunder is a solid 4 stars album.

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 Office Of Strategic Influence by OSI album cover Studio Album, 2003
4.01 | 228 ratings

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Office Of Strategic Influence
OSI Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Sinusoid
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.

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 Blood by OSI album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.72 | 188 ratings

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Blood
OSI Experimental/Post Metal

Review by progbethyname

4 stars A PERFECT BLEND OF ELECTRONIC AMBIENCE AND PROG METAL!!!

   If I could start off by saying that OSI ( Office of Strategic Influence) are a very unique band in the world of prog and that of the world of music! I don't know any other bands that sound like OSI and I feel that they can be counted as o e of the 7 wonders of prog because of their unique approach to progressive sounding music. At the moment and on this album review (BLOOD) OSI is an unbelievable super trio that consists of KEVIN MOORE (Vocals, keys and programming) JIM MATHEOS ( Guitars and Electronic sample mixing) and of course the great GAVIN HARRISON from Porcupine Tree on the DRUMS! 

 Furthermore, OSI's BLOOD album is nothing short of a masterpiece. How could it not be? You have the lead guitarist of Fates Warning, ex Keyboardist of Dream Theater and the drummer from arguably one of the best groups in progressive rock, which is Porcupine Tree. Anyway, to get to the heart of the matter the BLOOD album is a masterpiece. It is a creative and insightful blend of electronic music combined with the wicked power of prog metal. This is an album that should not be overlooked. The album itself starts off with a creative bang with the track THE ESCAPE ARTIST which is one of the more heavy metal based tracks on the album and it is a real treat to listen to. No to mention, even though the mixing and electronic sampling sound simple to produce its not. Do not be fooled just because OSI mainly produce a fairly accessible and almost commercial sound, there music is still quite complex and layered at the same time. Anyway, moving forward the track TERMINAL is a more electronic based sound with all of what KEVIN MOORE now represents after his Dream Theater tenure. TERMINAL is a beautiful track and it will leave you relaxed and sedated once you have this song grace your ears. Other notable tracks are RADIOLOGUE and the infamous BLOOD. 

As your fellow prog brother I urge you all to explore this wonderful, unique album that will sure please the ears if fellow proggers can appreciate ambient Electronic combined with the shredding metal guitar of Jim Matheos. Give it a listen. The album is getting a 4/5 because their latest release FIRE MAKE THUNDER is actually a slight step up from this beauty and that album would warrant a 5 with me. Essential prog? I think yes. It would make a terrific addition to any prog collection. Enjoy the simplicity that Moore and Matheos create here. You won't be sorry. 

👊👌👍

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 Fire Make Thunder by OSI album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.57 | 135 ratings

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Fire Make Thunder
OSI Experimental/Post Metal

Review by kluseba

1 stars OSI are an abbreviation for "Office of Strategic Influence" which was also the band's first release nine years ago. The group is composed of the two famous Progressive Metal musicians Kevin Moore who has been in Dream Theater as well as in Fates Warning and Jim Matheos who still is in Fates Warning and who has recently released a critically acclaimed album with his band colleague John Arch under the Arch / Matheos banner. The third man on board is the drummer Gavin Harrison. True Progressive Rock fans should know him, too as he has been involved in King Crimson and still is a part of Porcupine Tree. In the past, OSI featured even more famous musicians such as Sean Malone, Mike Portnoy and Joey Vera. I think these guys don't need an introduction anymore. That's why one could describe OSI as a all-star band or even a super-group of the genre and the whole thing sounds quite promising.

But then, there is the music. The album is quite slow and has a pretty dark atmosphere. Only very few tracks are heavy and feature very minimalistic riffs that sound somewhat Doom, Groove and Industrial Metal orientated. Some tracks even have some Sludge references or very slight Country moments. Another dominating element is the keyboards that add a very minimalistic electronic touch to the sound. This description sounds quite diversified but don't get fooled by the description. The music is very calm, laid back and minimalistic. The overall atmosphere is quite depressive and grey. It goes as far that this release can almost be described as an Ambient record with its numerous floating moments.

Some of the hypnotizing tracks need a lot of time to grow but most of them simply won't do so. This album lacks of the warmth that one knows from bands such as Fates Warning and especially early Dream Theater. It's hard to believe that the main artist on this release is the same guy that created songs like "Only A Matter Of Time", "Surrounded" or "Space-Dye West" as this album simply feels dumb and numb. I would even associate a feeling on the thin line between being very sad and being emotionless to the record. As you can see, some sort of concept is there but only one solid basis idea doesn't make an entire record that lacks of any gripping variation.

Some lyrics and song titles may seem to be influenced by the culture of the North American First Nations but this can't be detected in the songs themselves as there are no folk elements, exotic lyrics or particularly Indian atmospheres to find. The only term I may associate with the First Nations and that I can hear throughout the record is a strange feeling of longing or loneliness that may reflect the view on a better past and a shattered present of the Indian communities that are now culturally, mentally and politically imprisoned in reserves thanks to failed American and Canadian politics in the past.

In the end, if you are looking for an atmospheric and minimalistic record to dig into, you might like this release. If you are looking for diversified changes of style, any solo passages or catchy tracks, you won't be happy with this album. I especially dislike the cold and minimalistic guitar riffs, the repetitive keyboard sounds, the almost inaudible bass guitar lines, the faceless drumming and the redundant vocals coming from three musicians that can clearly do better. As you can see, there isn't much that I don't dislike which explains my negative final rating. I have given this album enough time and three to four spins but it simply refuses to grow on me no matter how and when I do approach this. I would only recommend this album to fans of dark, industrial and simplistic Ambient stuff. Anybody else shouldn't get fooled by the big names of the members and head for their original bands instead.

Originally published on www.metal-archives.com on August 11th of the year 2012.

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 Fire Make Thunder by OSI album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.57 | 135 ratings

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Fire Make Thunder
OSI Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 3.5 stars. This is the first OSI album not to feature guests on it. And of course they have had some significant people helping them out over the previous three albums like Steven Wilson, Mikael Akerfeldt, Tim Bowness, Joey Vera, Mike Portnoy and more. This is the same trio that were on the last album "Blood" with Matheos, Moore and Harrison. And again we do get plenty of programming and electronics. To my ears there seems like there is more ambient and dark sections on this one when compared to the previous three records, but make no mistake this sounds like OSI.

"Cold Call" is kind of cool as we get samples of a radio station broadcast that tells the listeners that the government is about to release an important emergency statement so everything is on hold. A beat can be heard as these words are spoken then it gets heavier after 1 1/2 minutes then here we go ! They are crushing it then the vocals come in at 2 1/2 minutes as the heavy riffs continue to come and go. It turns out there is no announcement forth coming much to the amusement of the announcer. "Guards" rocks pretty good everytime the guitar kicks in, especially during the instrumental section after 3 1/2 minutes. "Indian Curse" is fairly laid back with vocals. Not too impressed with the first three tracks but "Enemy prayer" is a top three for me. Everything sounds better on this track. Electronics and keys to open. It kicks in before a minute with riffs. Electronics and keys are back before 3 minutes then the drums join in. Ripping guitar before 4 minutes.

"Wind Won't Howl" is another top three. We get a beat with electronics as reserved vocals join in. It's heavier after 3 1/2 minutes. Great sounding track. "Big Chief II" is catchy with vocals and it does get heavy at times. "For Nothing" is laid back with vocals. I like it ! "Invisible men" is the almost 10 minute closer and one of the best OSI songs that i've heard. Sounds build as the vocals come in. Great sound after 3 1/2 minutes. Then we get a dark calm. The guitar starts to grind away then it kicks in after 4 1/2 minutes. It settles with vocals then the guitar kicks in again as contrasts continue. It calms right down late to end it.

This might grow on me but i'm a little disappointed with it.

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 Fire Make Thunder by OSI album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.57 | 135 ratings

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Fire Make Thunder
OSI Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Avtokrat

4 stars This album is a regular guest in the stereo of my car since well over a month. In my opinion it doesn't represent a masterwork but easily the best outcome of the interesting project carried on by OSI and the apex of the band's musical journey so far. All tracks are interesting without any particular drop of intensity or tension. One can only hope that the band could represent a model for other groups able to merge with equally intelligent and successful way the melancholy and reflective prog atmospheres with the metal genre. Here is my personal rating of the single tracks: 1) Cold Call **** 2) Guards *** 3) Indian Curse ***** 4) Enemy Prayer **** 5) Wind won't Howl ***** 6) Big Chief II **** 7) For Nothing **** 8) Invisible Men *****

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 Fire Make Thunder by OSI album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.57 | 135 ratings

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Fire Make Thunder
OSI Experimental/Post Metal

Review by memowakeman
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars For those related to the metal side of progressive rock, I assume is the name of OSI is familiar. For those who are not, let me tell you then that this project was started back in 2002 by Kevin Moore (Dream Theater) and Jim Matheos (Fates Warning), a couple of well-known musicians who gathered ideas in order to create new music. During the years, they have worked with guest musicians and singers such as Tim Bowness or Mikael Akerfeldt. And now, in this 2012 they have just released their fourth studio album, called 'Fire Make Thunder'. Here, they offer eight compositions that make a total time of 43 minutes.

It kicks off with 'Cold Call' in which we can listen to a news journalist talking as background while the electronic elements are being added little by little. The atmosphere is tense and the intensity is increasing while the seconds pass. At minute two the music explodes and shows its inherent metal tendency, mainly due to the guitar. Later Kevin Moore's vocals enter with its soft tune; I assume he is not actually a singer, however, I like his voice and he does it really well here. It is not the typical metal voice (thanks God). The programming puts different nuances that are wonderfully complemented by the physical instruments.

'Guards' has a more experimental sound, here, at first, the heavy and metal side are not that evident because it is shadowed by the programming and electronic atmospheres. I like a lot the bass sound in this track, and how it is progressing, making different changes and of course, adding a cool guitar riff in the final minutes. A contrast comes now with 'Indian Curse', which is a much softer track with acoustic guitar, a soft voice and a warm atmosphere as background. The song flows and continues like this for the next 4 minutes.

With 'Enemy Prayer' the metal guitar returns, putting that mandatory power and energy in the music, later where drums join the rhythm is accelerated and even more powerful. Then it makes some changes, slowing down the temperature a little bit, and implementing some nice figures until a cool guitar solo appears and the sound returns to its original and heavier form. This is a purely (and cool) instrumental track. 'Wind Won't Howl' has that great combination between programming and soft guitars. A minute later the vocals enter and a new keyboard atmosphere can be perceived. The music is great, charming and interesting, making a blend of prog rock with some industrial, metal and even post-rock tendencies.

'Big Chief II' and 'For Nothing' are the shortest tracks of the album, passing only the three- minute mark. The first one has a powerful tune while the vocals contrast with its soft sound; here I like a lot the drums, showing power and cadence at the same time. The second one is much calmer with repetitive guitar sound and a distant atmosphere, it reminds me a bit of Nine Inch Nails in its least experimental side. Though these two songs are not bad at all, I have to say this is the weakest part of the album, by far.

And the longest composition comes in the end. 'Invisible Men' reaches almost ten minutes of a wonderful summary of what OSI's music is about. It is flowing and progressing little by little; the programming is soft, repetitive but addictive, and greatly complemented by vocals. After three minutes there is a change, the sound volume increases and makes a brief explosion that all of a sudden vanishes; then, paused guitars enter and seconds later the metal tune joins. The music flows and takes us to different passages, one of my favorites is after eight minutes where a disarming guitar sounds, while a soft atmosphere is as background, and Moore's voice delicately appears. After that, the song finishes, as well as the album.

A very good effort by OSI, recommendable not only for metal lovers, but for those who like this kind of experimentation and mixture of elements. Without a doubt, the record deserves at least 4 stars.

Enjoy it!

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 Fire Make Thunder by OSI album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.57 | 135 ratings

BUY
Fire Make Thunder
OSI Experimental/Post Metal

Review by merid1en

3 stars It is sometimes difficult to be critical of bands that have a strong forward momentum; as well as such luminaries as Moore, Matheos and Harrison behind the wheel. I gave this disc a couple of listens before attempting to write this review.

The telltale OSI sound is clear and abundant in this disc, and, those who enjoy their sound will find comfort in this album. Listening to this disc is like wearing a pair of older comfortable shoes. They fit well and you can walk miles in them, but there isn't any real excitement in putting them on. I do appreciate the continuity of the music album to album, but I don't find a freshness to the music, or that emotional charge when a really good peice of hard prog hits you.

Having said that, there are a few notables on this disc. 'Indian Curse' is a well crafted mellow piece of moody music; almost ethereal, and well worth the listen. 'Invisible Men' is my favourite piece on this disc; moving from the recognizable OSI mellow starting licks to heavier more forceful piece.

Specifically, I would like to say, Gavin Harrison is an undeniable drumming force today, and should play runner up to Neil Peart. I look forward with great expectation to his participation in whatever band makes use of his talents going forward.

If you give 'Blood' a 4, and play it back to back with "Fire Makes Thunder' then this album gets a 3.

3.4 / 5

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