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Osiris - Osiris CD (album) cover





3.92 | 70 ratings

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4 stars OSIRIS has been around 30 years now, although they have not been very prolific in terms of releases. Their self titled debut is arguably their best, incorporating influences from 1970s guitar led symphonic bands like CAMEL and GROBSCHNITT. The middle eastern roots are generally subtle, but their presence, along with the extremely melodic nature of the songs, gives OSIRIS a richness and profundity often lacking in better known groups in the "neo" style.

The album really plays out well from beginning to end: the opener "Fantasy" is one of the best cuts, a rambunctious ditty with plenty of great keys and guitars. The vocals are better than in most prog, although this observation may simply reflect the band's self-awareness in these matters. They don't try to hit the highs and lows but rather plumb a midrange without sounding monotonous. Even if the voices are not to your taste, the arrangements surely will be, and the band tends to favour long instrumental breaks.

By far the longest cut is "Sailor on the Seas of Fate", commencing with seagull sounds before vintage organs and synthesizers insert themselves in a low key manner. Then comes one of the more Arabic sounding passages, thanks to the melody and the percussion, which is also strangely melodic. Mohamed Al-Sadeqi's guitars complete the long intro to vocals accompanied only by electric piano until a monster riff comes in. The last 4 minutes are an extended instrumental feast reminding me of early ALAN PARSONS PROJECT.

"Struggle to Survive" is another gem, with reflective and more upbeat sections including heavy guitar and keyboard jams blended with ease. Sabah Alsadeqi's voice is at its best here. I don't mind the background keys that sound like they may be all. "Atmun", as its title suggests, is another track that somewhat captures a Bahraini spirit. All instrumental, its overall percussive nature is broken a few times by find lead guitar work. "Embers of a Flame" is actually reminiscent of KANSAS in their heyday, and it is at this point I start to feel that vocal melodies are being recycled. Still entertaining for sure. The same applies to "A Story of Love", although this one is a bit better. "Paradox in A Major" begins in a very Arabic sounding electric guitar flourish before becoming another mid tempo number, although the later instrumental section is very enjoyable. The "Bonus" cut is a great prog-pop number that I guess the band didn't initially include on the LP. It's certainly the most accessible track herein.

I highly recommend this album to neo or symphonic fans, and even for historic reasons as one of the earliest neo prog albums. How much influence they actually had on the next wave is unknown, but I assume it is not nearly as much as they deserved.

kenethlevine | 4/5 |


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