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Osiris - Osiris CD (album) cover





3.86 | 82 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
4 stars While the rich symphonic prog laid down by Genesis on their seminal album "Wind & Withering" would become a blueprint for a new wave of English progressive rock bands such as Marillion, IQ, Pendragon and Arena that would retrospectively become tagged as neo-prog, the subgenera carved out of the greater symphonic prog universe encompassed a much more expansive sound than the pioneers of the English scene would let on. Coming from the most unlikely setting for progressive rock, OSIRIS emerged from the tiny independent nation of Bahrain which lies in the Persian Gulf right next to Saudi Arabia, which arguably could be considered one of the least progressive of scenes in the world! However, the brothers Mohamed and Nail Alsadeqi had always been interested in music and started their very first funk band all the way back in 1969. After the two were sent to study abroad to London and Texas, their exposure to the musical wonders of the Western world proved irresistible and upon returning to their native island became pioneers of Arabian progressive rock with their mini-moog dominated band that took a few cues from Camel, Yes and Pink Floyd and added a healthy dose of exotic sounds to the cauldron.

As you can imagine, the daunting task of finding likeminded musicians on a tiny island nation the size of a large American city in a not so progressive area of the globe was the most difficult task of all but perseverance paid off as the brothers recruited Mohammed Shafii (bass), Sami Al-Jamea (keyboards), Mohamed Amin Kooheji (guitar, bass, vocals) and Abdul Razzak Aryan (second keyboards). The next challenge was to find the only 8-track studio that existed in Bahrain at the time but once they did, the band managed to record their eponymous debut album in only three days. Since there was no way to print the album in their country, they had to outsource to the Philippines, had 1000 copies made for their homeland and a bunch more for the rare record shops in the UK and North America. The band produced just the right mix of symphonic prog driven rock mixed with a catchy funk beat and a bit of Arabian exotica thrown into the mix. They became all the rage in Bahrain and also gained a bit of fame abroad.

The band took their name from the Egyptian god OSIRIS which is associated with youthful energy via resurrection and regeneration. The band gained a loyal following with their outlandish live shows after they found a new charismatic lead singer in the form of Isa Janahi who knew how to play the rock star role as he donned outrageous clothing and had a magnetic personality that interacted quite well with the crowds. The live shows were also quite ambitious with laser and light shows and smoke bombs thrown around. Musically the band delivered hard driving guitar riff driven hooks laced with strong interlaced melodies, sizzling keyboard workouts all stitched together in complex musical compositions that never tipped the balance too far in either direction. OSIRIS had the perfect mix of heavy pop rock tinged with psychedelia, prog complexities and heavy rhythmic percussion.

Anyone who loves hard rock from the cusp of the 70s meets 80s era fused with elements of progressive rock will love this one. While more on the hard rock side of the equation rather than the prog for much of the album, there are moments of extended complexities and time signature deviations. The musicians are all top notch with extraordinary guitar and keyboard workouts as well as stellar vocal performances by Janahi. Lyrics are all in English, showing the band's intent to market abroad and the melodies are all easily digested without being too sugary sweet. Overall, OSIRIS dishes out an excellent debut from one of the far flung places that the early prog rock scene failed to reach during its heyday. Perhaps the one negative of this experience is that the production as one could expect didn't reach phenomenal heights given the time and place where this album was recorded. Personally i don't have an issue with bad production and am much more in tune with the music, however for anyone with an aversion to mediocrity in the production department then you might want to skip this one. For the rest of us, this one should not be missed!

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |


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