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OSI Office of Strategic Influence (Limited Edition) album cover
3.92 | 124 ratings | 24 reviews | 34% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Boxset/Compilation, released in 2003

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The New Math (What He Said) (3:36)
2. OSI (3:48)
3. When You're Ready (3:08)
4. Horseshoes and B-52's (4:18)
5. Head (5:18)
6. Hello, Helicopter! (3:43)
7. shutDOWN (10:24)
8. Dirt from a Holy Place (5:09)
9. Memory Daydream Lapses (5:55)
10. Standby (Looks Like Rain) (2:09)
11. Horseshoes and B-52s (bonus video clip) (4:38)

Total Time 52:06

Limited edition bonus CD:
1. Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun (8:50)
2. New Mama (2:24)
3. The Thing That Never Was (17:20)
4. Documentary (bonus video) (24:04)

Total Time 52:38

Line-up / Musicians

- Jim Matheos / guitar, keyboards, programming, bass (2)
- Kevin Moore / vocals, keyboards, programming
- Mike Portnoy / drums

- Sean Malone / bass, Chapman Stick
- Steven Wilson / vocals (7)
- Robert Ashley / samples from "Automatic Writing" (7)
- Casa Boom / hand drums, didgeridoo

Releases information

InsideOut IOMLTDCD 116

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OSI Office of Strategic Influence (Limited Edition) ratings distribution

(124 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(34%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(41%)
Good, but non-essential (18%)
Collectors/fans only (5%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

OSI Office of Strategic Influence (Limited Edition) reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Dan Bobrowski
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars A little heavy for my old ears. Matheos is an underrated guitarist. I really enjoyed the acoustic parts. The group interplay is exciting. Portnoy is a monster drummer. The John Bonham of the new millenium. Kevin Moore creates some great soundscapes and is a competent singer. I was less than happy with Steve Wilsons vocal performance, but I blame the overly heavy tune, not the singer. Some great pieces of music, however, they should have let Malone write a few parts to take advantage of his prowess. I thouht the Bass/Stick parts were mired in the mix and not allowed room to breath.

The cover of "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun" is one of the better covers I've heard. It keeps the integrity of the original, but adds some OSI flavors to make it unique. My favorite tracks are the softer, more melodic ones; When You're Ready, Head, Hello, Helicopter! and Standby (Looks Like Rain), along with disc two's second cover, neil Young's New Mama.

Even old proggers could find some fun with this disc.

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars One Song's Inspired

Office of Strategic Influence (OSI) is a side project from the Dream Theater stable.

The sound and feel is not generally as heavy as DT, many of the tracks sounding more like Porcupine Tree. Although there appears to be a lot of "space" for the ambient sounds which prevail on the album, most of the tracks are relatively short.

The exception is the long "ShutDOWN", (yes it is written like that) which is co-written by, Steve Wilson of said Porcupine Tree, who also plays on this track. If this song had appeared on "Stupid Dream" it would have fitted right in.

Overall, while the music is pleasant, it is devoid of any real inspiration, particularly in the song writing department. With a bit more development, some of the tracks could have become more appealing, but as they stand there is a tendency towards dullness.

The bonus CD includes an interesting interpretation of Pink Floyd's "Set the controls for the heart of the sun". Also included are a brief throwaway track "New Mama", and superb 17 ½ minute piece called "The thing that never was". The latter is better and more progressive than anything on original album, meaning that anyone considering obtaining the album must go for the double disc edition.

Disappointingly, the packaging for the limited edition is identical to the standard album, with no reference to the additional tracks at all. An enjoyable album, but far from essential.

Review by diddy
3 stars What could one expect from this project? Well, a look at the musicians could help. Mike Portnoy, the drummer of Dream Theater, Kevin Moore who also was a member of Dream Theater once but now has his own project running (called Croma Key), Sean Malone the well known Stick player, he also participated in Gordian Knot and Jim Matheos, the guitarist from Fate's Warning. So the main influence should be, refering to the members, metal. Well, that's true but not solely. What you get is a mixture of progressive metal, Pink Floyd and Porcupine Tree. Maybe it's also important to mention that Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree is also features on this album. He does the vocals for "shutDOWN".

The general sound shows an slight electronic approach due to some featured computer effects and included voices. I think that O.S.I. is quite interesting and worth checking out. Especially if you like the above named bands. In general I'd say that the instrumental songs are slightly better but also the rest is interesting. O.S.I. has a sound wich is not so wide spread, actually I know no other band with a similar sound. As danbo said, the bass is mixed too far in the background but Malones stickplaying could still be heard on several songs. Sometimes he even takes over the melody work for a short time or gets really loud (Dirt from a holy place, The new Math). But most of the time Portnoy's drums seem to drown the bass completely. Portnoy really provides a great performance (as usual) but in general his drumming is too loud on this record. I think it's a pity that the album is so short. The bonus material is interesting. A cover version of Pink Floyd's "Set the Controls for the heart of the sun" and a 17 minutes instrumental wich features short passages of the original songs of the regular album, quite cool. The video footage is ok but gets boring after some time. The problem is that Portnoy is a freak of filming and taping his sessions, you get to see mostly him recording his drum parts...

So O.S.I. is an interesting project and I reall liked it but I think 3 stars are the perfect rating. 4 Stars would be too much for this rather short pleasure. If you like Dream Theater, Chroma Key, Porcupine Tree or Pink Floyd you should check out O.S.I. it's no waste of money but there are better bands and projects, also by the featured artists. IF you want to buy this album take the limited edition because it provides bonus tracks, the normal album is, like mentioned above, rather short.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars It's always been a nice thing to see members of bands united to form a project like this first album of OSI. It's a collaborative effort by Jim Matheos (the mastermind of FATES WARNING), Kevin Moore (CHROMA KEY, ex DREAM THEATER), Mike Portnoy (DREAM THEATER) and Sean Malone - Gordian Knot. The guest musician was Steven Wilson of PORCUPINE TREE, who also co-writes and sings one track ShutDOWN. Well, looking at the contributors you might guess how the music would look like. I thought that it would be a sort of prog metal vein. But when I listened to it the first time - its music is more towards Fates Warning and Porcupine Tree.

The album starts off with an energetic track "The New Math (What He Said)" (Matheos) that reminds me clearly to Dream Theater's "The Great Debate" of "Six Degree of Inner Turbulence" album - especially on the rhythm and nuances. Melody and structure was the two are of course different. But some music passages are similar. Observe the rhythm and driving bass line. It continues to second track "OSI" (Matheos/Moore) nicely. Again, it's another rocking track. "When You're Ready" (Matheos / Moore) is my favorite track performed in a psychedelic style. I love the acoustic guitar rhythm and fills. The music is atmospheric here. Some inclusion of effects sounds good on my ears. "Horseshoes And B-52s" (Matheos / Moore) is an instrumental track that features sound effects - there are some passages influenced by Porcupine Tree. The intro part with repeated riffs and rhythm sound boring to my personal taste.

"Head" (Matheos / Moore) demonstrates some influence of eastern music at its intro. It's an interesting track in the vein of Porcupine Tree. "Hello, Helicopter!" (Matheos / Moore) is a loosely structured song with unclear direction - it fails to provide musical coherence, I would say. The opening part with acoustic guitar and industrial voice reminds me to Procupine Tree "Stupid Dream" album. "ShutDOWN" (Matheos / Wilson) is of course in Porcupine Tree vein as Steven Wilson contributed in writing and took vocal shot. It's the longest and the best track of this album even though Steve Wilson does not perform his best singing style; it's probably mixing issue instead of voice quality. Porcupine Tree lovers would definitely love this tune.

"Dirt From A Holy Place" (Matheos) starts with an ambient keyboard solo and sampling. The music then flows in slow / moderate tempo with guitar and keyboard solos. "Memory Daydreams Lapses" (Matheos / Moore) is a keyboard exploration part with some beat sampling / sequencing. "Standby (Looks Like Rain)" (Matheos / Moore) is a mediocre tract that doesn't attract me except its Porcupine Tree nuances.

My CD is a Limited Edition with three bonus tracks: "Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun" (by Roger Waters) - it's good to listen a Pink Floyd's repertoire played in different style; "New Mama" (Young) and "The Thing That Never Was" (Matheos) - en though the intro part is long with ambient style, but when music enters, it starts to rock. It's an excellent track to enjoy and very uplifting. One of my favorites.

Overall, it's a good prog album to have. Keep on Progging!!! GW, Indonesia.

Review by Muzikman
4 stars Another progressive rock super group has formed, OSI. "Office Of Strategic Influence" sounds like a combination of PORCUPINE TREE and The FLOWER KINGS. Steven Wilson of PT actually is the guest singer on the track "ShutDOWN" (notice the emphasis on the word "down"), which makes my observation valid and obvious to the listener familiar with the bands I have mentioned.

This is everything one would expect from this group of established prog-rockers, well, almost. The sounds consist of a mixture of hard driving prog-metal and ethereal PINK FLOYD influenced tracks. The combination will certainly be both pleasing and enjoyable for a large cross section of progressive rock listeners.

"ShutDOWN" is a prolific track figuratively and musically. The words carry a very strong message to the listener, such as: "Shut down your body, shut down your skin, shutdown your kisses, shutdown within." These words continually come at you throughout the song, advising you to shutdown all of your senses or pay the consequences. It sounds as if a despot is speaking to you, which I find interesting considering world events currently. The other track that caught my ear and challenged my senses was "Standby (Looks Like Rain)," which is an exceptional piece of music, is simply mesmerizing. It has an atmospheric texture that sucked me in and then owned me after only a few minutes into the track.

At the end of the disc, there is a bonus video available for viewing as well. Shot in black and white, it is confusing and disturbing, and I am not sure what it all meant. It reminded me of a video that was on the PORCUPINE TREE album @In Absentia@. To be honest, there were too many comparisons to PT on this album; just the same, I loved it. Former DREAM THEATER keyboard player Kevin Moore provides the vocal treatments, which I found disappointing with the overuse of electronics and the camouflaging of his voice. Then at times he was allowed to bring forth his true essence, albeit briefly, hence I was reminded of Sweden's FLOWER KINGS. There were consistencies that I did not like and inconsistencies that I did, it sounds weird but that was my own personal perception of the album. I hope next time out, if there actually is a next time, Moore's vocals stand alone to resonate naturally around the music and their sound originates by their own design without any outside influences, like Steve Wilson, who seemed to set the tone for the entire recording. There are clips from TV and radio broadcasts used in the songs as well, mostly unintelligible, except for a Dan Rather's snippet, which provided yet another distraction from the music.

With the talent available on this recording, on a scale of 1 to 10 it could have easily been a 10. I think it was a seven with room for improvement and some changes. Although I really did enjoy it, I felt it could have been better. Regardless of my criticisms, I am sure hard-core prog-heads will get off on this album.

Review by semismart
5 stars Two years ago, when I first got Office of Strategic Influence, knowing that it was a side project of Dream Theater's long time drummer, Mike Portny and former DT Keyboardist (now with Chroma Key) Kevin Moore and not being particularly fond of other such side projects, I set it aside while I listened to more promising selections only to forget about it. Sure I came across it from time to time but there was always something else to listen to first. Well finally after two years I have finally discovered OSI and have felt foolish for the last two weeks.

OSI - Office of Strategic Influence's record company is IOM - Inside Out Music and they seem to provide very nice packaging on occasion. With the Limited Edition OSI release you get a hardbound twenty page digi-book with slips for the two enclosed CDs. It is supposed to resemble a passport and the included pages have various stamps on the lyrics pages.

Ah, the Music!

As for the music, it is a wonderful confluence of murky atmospheric progressive rock and driving boisterous progressive heavy metal. Sounds scary doesn't it? Well don't worry, it's wonderful. In addition to Portny and Moore, we have Fates Warning Guitarist, Jim Matheos, whose idea it was for this production, Bassist, Sean Malone (Gordian Knot, Chroma Key) and guest singer Porcupine Tree's Steve Wilson on track seven - "Shutdown". Wilson also wrote the lyrics for the unique "Shutdown", which comprises both styles in the same song All outer vocals were competently handled by Moore. Not surprisingly, three of the ten songs on disc 1 are instrumentals and vocals are somewhat sparse in the others (except "Shutdown"). On disc 2 two of the three songs are virtual instrumentals. On many of the songs there are voice samples, some from famous people like Dan Rather and President Bush. On "New Mama" on disc two there are several clips of dialogue from "Rambo - First Blood". Special effects are also utilized in some songs, though sparingly.

Highlight Songs

"The New Math" (instrumental) For me "The New Math" has a strong Dream Theater flavor. Not surprising considering the roots of the drummer and keyboard player. This is Heavy Progressive Metal plain and simple. This song has voice samples of Dan Rather throughout and doesn't miss a beat as it segues into "OSI", the same song, same melody, the same beat but with light vocals added. In fact Moore's vocals are so mellow and lacking emotion that they remind me of Steve Miller.

"Head" starts out fairly mild, though with heavy guitar accents but it also has an industrial essence and does in fact sound like a Tool or Deadsoul Tribe song throughout. It goes back and forth then ends as it starts.

"Shutdown" This ten plus minute number is the song that Steve Wilson guests on. It resembles "Head" somewhat with the first half is strongly atmospheric and mellow with a couple heavy guitar interludes. Wilson's vocals are certainly more emotive than Moores and Moores backs the vocals with melancholy synth harmonies. The second half is like a different song with heavy Tool sounding guitars and bass, drums too in a semi Eastern refrain!

Track List Disc Two 11. Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun (Bonus Track) ***** 12. New Mama (Bonus Track) **** 13. The Thing That Never Was (Bonus Track) *****

Highlight Songs

"Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun" Yes I know, this nine minute track sounds awfully Floydian. Know why? It was written by Roger Waters and originally recorded by Pink Floyd in 1979. I would call this space rock in the style of Hawkwind but with some obvious Middle Eastern Seasoning. A very ethereal moody piece.

"The Thing That Never Was" is a seventeen minute Progressive masterpiece. It is an instrumental and there is enough variety to keep it interesting the whole way. It begins with a lone acoustic leading to a psychedelic/organ type keyboard intro into a Heavy Rhythm - Guitar/Bass/drum - tirade reminiscent of DT's "6:00" leading into about five minutes of superb progressive metal, breaking off @ the seven minute mark for a dose of a extremely pleasant ethereal almost bell sounding interlude per Moore's Keyboards. At the twelve minute mark we're back to the progressive metal mode and the explosive finale.


If you don't buy the Limited Edition version of this you don't get the twenty eight minute killer bonus disc with three great Progressive songs plus a twenty minute behind the scenes video documentary. Usually I don't feel bonus tracks or bonus CDs are worth while but this one is a Grande exception. You've got to fly Limited Edition on this'un.

Yes there a re a couple so so track but the preponderance of the music is exciting and so fresh that one overlooks an itsy bit of mediocrity. If You are a Progressive rock fanatic or a progressive metal aficionado, this is an essential album. It's a lttle of what your used to but it's also way different. I haven't dealt with the lyrics much because in a way they are insignificant to the music. They tend to deal with corruption and incompetence in government. Below are sample lyrics for "OSI" and "Shutdown"

"OSI" "Hate it when the truth unravels hate it when we don't get a spin hate it when the enemy travels 'cause it's awfully un-american."

"Shutdown" "shutDOWN your body shutDOWN your skin. shutDOWN your kisses shutDOWN within. shutDOWN your feelings shutDOWN your tongue. shutDOWN your dreaming mind shutDOWN your love."

"I gave a promise but it's just not enough for you. I lied and cheated and betrayed all my trust for you. I ripped my heart out threw it down on the bed for you. I crawled away and hid in shadows and dust for your love. "

Trust me on this, if you like Porcupine Tree, Pink Floyd, David Sylvian, Radiohead, Fates Warning, Dream Theater, Vanden Plas, Pain Of Salvation, Anathema, Symphony X, DGM, Dreamscape, Threshold even Tool you most likely will OSI as well.

Bonus Disc "Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun" is a Pink Floyd cover performed by Kevin Moore and Mike Portnoy. "New Mama" is a Neil Young cover performed by Kevin Moore. "The Thing That Never Was" is the original "Looks Like Rain" demo performed by Jim Matheos and Mike Portnoy.

The Multimedia Section is approximately 19 minutes long and includes a concept piece directed and edited by Kevin Moore for "Horsehoes and B-52s" as well as two separate documentary style clips shot at Carriage House Studios during the recording of the album.

Review by horza
4 stars Stellar line-up composed of Jim Matheos (Fates Warning guitarist), Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater drummer), Kevin Moore (Chroma Key,ex-Dream Theater keyboards) and Sean Malone (Gordian Knot bassist) - and if that was'nt enough it also features Porcupine Tree's Steven Wilson as guest vocalist on the track 'ShutDOWN' - and NO that was'nt a 'cap lock' moment.

Track one 'The New Math (What He Said)' opens with some radio/movie chatter before launching into the song proper - and it has to be said that until now I had'nt appreciated what a good guitarist Matheos is, and how much of the Fates' sound is down to him.The drumming is top notch as expected and in conjunction the bass makes up an excellent rhythm section.We segue into track two 'OSI' and its a mid-tempo song which has a catchy hook to it. Track three is 'When You're Ready', a slowish one which isn't that great in my opinion I have to say.'Horseshoe's and B52's' comes next and its a fairly good instrumental - again NOT outstanding though. The next track is 'Head'and it finds us in Fates' mode again with a flavour of DT thrown in, it'll please fans of both bands I'm pretty sure. 'Hello Helicopter!' opens a little like Floyd with acoustic guitar and radio on the background, its a solid enough song with no obvious highlights.

Track seven is the ten and a half minute long 'ShutDOWN' featuring the aforementioned Steven Wilson on vocals. Its a pretty atmospheric track, moody and VERY Porcupine Tree-like. It gains momentum near the end and is pretty powerful on the whole. Next up is 'Dirt From a Holy Place', a pretty sombre piece. 'Memory Daydreams Lapses' follows and its a slow builder which....does'nt 'Standby (Looks Like Rain)' is just over two minutes long and is definitely influenced by Pink Floyd in acoustic mode. Which is a coincidence because disc two in this set opens with a Pink Floyd cover 'Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun'. It's a pretty good version too. Track two on the second disc is 'New Mama' - a two and a half minute song which features some dialogue from the movie Rambo (bizarre). Lastly we have 'The Thing That Never Was' which is over seventeen minutes long. Its a complex song and has passages which echo some of the themes present throughout the album. A classic prog song it has to be said.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars I knew this would be impossible not to like when some of my very favourite musicians were involved in this project. This is really Jim Matheos and Kevin Moore's baby with Mike Portnoy and Sean Malone also helping out in a big way. Mike Portnoy is the one who probably impresses me the most on this release. For the record I do like the next release "Free" a little better then this one (unlike the majority) mainly because of Joey Vera's( FATES WARNING) bass playing. This album is really a concept record with the U.S. goverment's policies being center stage. As far as the sound of the band goes they remind me of what CHROMA KEY would sound like if Kevin decided to add a lot of heaviness to it. One of the coolest things i've ever seen in music is seeing Steven Wilson and Jim Matheos' names linked together as the composers of "ShutDOWN". They are two of my all time favourite musicians so this collaboration is like a dream come true for me. I should mention the band thanks Daniel Gildenlow in the liner notes.

"The New Math (what he said)" is a heavy instrumental with a lot of samples added mostly Dan Rather news clips that are rather (haha) annoying. The drumming really stands out for me. Great tune ! This song blends right into "OSI" as things get a little tamer with Kevin's singing bringing to mind CHROMA KEY right away. Heavy riffs follow bringing about a nice contrast between the heavy and subtle with Kevin's reserved vocals. "When Your Ready" is a melancholic tune with Kevin's mournful vocals.There is really no instrumental outbreaks in this one it's all about the atmosphere. "Horseshoes And B-52's" is one of my favourite tracks, this is a great, great instrumental. It's spacey to open then it turns intense for about 2 minutes until it becomes almost pastoral before the heaviness comes back. Amazing drumming on this one. "Head" simply rocks thanks to Jim who serves up some heavy slabs of guitar for our enjoyment. Electronics to open and the mood changes often.This would have fit well on "Free". "Hello, Helicopter !" is a fairly mellow tune with Kevin's vocals, acoustic guitar and samples. Cool song.

"ShutDOWN" is Steven Wilson's baby, as he wrote it and sings on it.This is my favourite from the first disc. Powerful atmosphere to open as sampled words come in before it kicks in heavily before 1 1/2 minutes. Steven comes in vocally after 2 minutes.The contrasts between the heavy and atmospheric continue. There is a ripping guitar solo from Matheos after 5 minutes followed by Steven's great vocals until it all hits the fan again. Incredible song. "Dirt From A Holy Place" is spacey to open before a beat comes in. A fuller sound follows. A nice heavy rhythm 3 1/2 minutes in with piano. A very good instrumental. "Memory Daydreams Lapses" is probably the track I like the least although I like the power before 2 minutes and after 4 minutes. "Standby (looks like rain)" is a song I like a lot, it's a little more uplifting with some samples.The bonus disc features a PINK FLOYD classic "Set The Controls For the Heart Of the Sun" and it's pretty faithful to the original, although the samples get in the way, including more from President Bush. "New Mama" is a Neil Young tune that is well done, with samples from the "Rambo III" movie. The final song "The Thing That Never Was" is in my opinion the best song on this whole recording. It's an instrumental that was the original "Looks Like Rain" demo.This song is such a trip ! It really shows the talents of Portnoy and Matheos.

I highly recommend this record especially to you CHROMA KEY fans.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars What a great album from former Dream Theater keyboarder Kevin Moore ( Now Chroma Key), Jim Matheos from Fates Warning, Mike Portnoy from Dream Theater and Sean Malone from Cynic/ Gordian Knot.

The music is a mix of mostly Chroma Key and newer Fates Warning. If you like the guitar sound and riffs on Fates Warning´s Disconnected mixed with the more ambient mood of Chroma Key you just gotta love OSI´s debut album Office of Strategic Influence. Kevin Moore sings on most of the songs with his mellow and nice vocals. Some say his vocals are indifferent and leaves them cold, but I really like them and even though they can seem emotionless, I think they suit the music well. Steven Wilson from Porcupine Tree guests on the song ShutDOWN with his good vocals.

Needless to say that the musicians are outstanding. The production is very good. The songs are very well composed and very emotional even though there are some really heavy parts too. Songs like The New Math (What He Said) and OSI are pretty heavy songs but I think these two songs which are the first songs on the album are the most heavy songs here, so listen a little further if this puts you off.

The bonus disc is very good too. The first song is a cover of Pink Floyd´s Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun which is great. The second song is New Mama which is a really emotional song where Kevin Moore sings some great lines. It´s essentially a Chroma Key song in my ears, but it´s a great addition to this album. The last bonus track is The Thing That Never Was which is an instrumental 17 minute+ song which is a mix of the different themes from the regular CD. It´s pretty good.

It´s almost a masterpiece, but not quite. 4 stars will be my rating.

Review by jampa17
5 stars Good enough to keep on check....

com'on.... give you a chance to try something new, fresh, original and atmospheric... Maybe some people could come with a Dream Theater or Fates Warning standards, these is not what you expect... This is some kind of electronic music meets metal with a few prog elements... but sure it is outstanding...

The songs are really into the Jim Matheos style... while Kevin Moore chooses some riffs and ideas and arrange it to make different pieces of a whole -"The thing that never was" is the original demo from Matheos ideas that Moore chop and structure here and there-... So for the first try they manages to do something very entertaning and interesting for better things yet to come... their 3rd album is quite better... well balanced...

Well, the album is great... is fresh and some of you will be delight by Portnoy performance, while I really find that the interesting thing about this music is the merge of electronic paths and patches with the heavy -and some really beautiful acoustic- guitars...

supposed to be a concept album... is not like you cannot understand what is going on if you don't listen to the complete piece.. no... you can skip some songs depending on the mood you have... 'cause there are really sad sad songs, and some though and cynicall vibe type of songs... so is better to be prepared to a journey through different emotions...

While the general piece is heavy with well written guitar riffs... the acoustic songs are really the deal here... refreshing all the saturated atmosphere of the album... I love "Hello Helicopter" and "Stand By (looks like rain)"... what a marvelous song to end up this journey... you really feels the rain and the cold outside, while you feel like your'e alone over the sea.. that's the way I feel it... and that's why listen to music.. right...?? to feel something unique and these sure achieve it...

don't like too much the Steven Wilson collaboration... but still works for the metal prog lovers... and the special edition has three very interesting songs... don't buy the regular edition... sure it worth the extra dollars... Get it with a mind free... and you'll be satisfied... sure I was... and still I am...!!!

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I was more influenced by the presence of Steve Wilson and the concept of Kevin Moore on keys than the Portnoy thing (I admit to liking this drummer a great deal from his Transatlantic work but not caring much for DT), and as far as Matheos goes , I had no preconception whatsoever. That was a smart philosophy to adopt because the music expressed here is shrewd, daring and slightly inflammatory, infused by a hard-edged desire to discover new territories (which is why the entire booklet packaging looks like a passport, stamps and all!). "The New Math" is the perfect table setter for the title track/group name "OSI", a brutally rampaging foray into eccentric electric electronica, a cavalcade of steam rolling riffs with contrasting mood shifts and beeps and blurps. They are serious and it shines through the smokey fireworks convincingly! Kevin Moore's metallic synths appear just as appealing and original as with his magnificent Chroma Key work , Sean Malone is a stunning bass Stick player , having made himself quite a reputation with the Gordian Knot saga and toss in a guest vocal from the prickly Wilson and you get a great idea of the proposed ride. "When You're Ready" and "Horseshoes and B-52s" are two shorter pieces that seek out a clearer definition of their musical objective, a harsh sympho- metal that shocks and swoons in constant conspiracy. "Head" kicks off with some Oriental pinging, blending in with colossal rhythm slabs, so heavy and bruising you can hear the wind howling in the background. Pretty cool, really in a more experimental vein than either Porcupine Tree, Dream Theater or Fates Warning and the allusions of Nine Inch Nails or a harsher Depeche Mode are entirely valid. This is a tremendous track with many more to come. The brief "Hello Helicopter" is clever and even pleasant but does not make my rotors whirl! Mainly because "Shutdown" is the expected jewel, where Wilson grabs the mike forcefully and delivers a world class performance, a ten minute classic piece of prog that has all the ingredients, flavors and aromas down pat. A slow blooming edifice of harder Pink Floyd girders, a brutal beat and the dreamiest vocals this side of "Radioactive Toy", loaded with vaporous effects, whispers and screams, a prelude of the bolder Tree style that was brewing at the time (just before "In Absentia"). I bought this album for this song and it does not disappoint. The arrangement is stretched out nicely and has a heavy psychedelic feel that evokes vast horizons and deepest space, Matheos raging constructively on guitar, Portnoy punching all the right holes and Moore coloring the universe. "Dirt from A Holy Place" is a smooth instrumental from Matheos that sounds like the ChromaKey material, bubbling synths colliding with an assortment of electronic effects, the guitar soloing in a more symphonic style (read Hackett/ Latimer/Gilmour), at times playfully suave. Again , its original and different from either prog polar extremes, a satisfying voyage to say the least. "Memory Daydream Lapses" possesses that PTree feel once again, brooding melancholia conveying the apathy of our cynical world (a Wilson fave subject), obtuse lyrics not withstanding. The primarily acoustic "Standby" closes out this interesting disc, stamping this with venerable praise and deserving of a high rating. I have the 2 CD version with adds a full roster of extended pieces, the nearly 9 minute cover of Pink Floyd's classic "Set the Controls For The Heart of the Sun" and the thrilling 17 minute "The Thing That Never Was", both highpoints for this release! It's not a 5 star MUST but close enough to deserve a place on your shelves. The artwork is first rate brilliant and classy. 4 vivid visas
Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The special edition of OSI's debut adds a techno-trippy cover of Pink Floyd's Set the Controls For The Heart of The Sun. Interesting but inferior to all versions I've heard from Floyd and Roger Waters.

New Mama is the odd one out. It's a Neil Young cover with harmonic vocals that make it sound like Pure Reason Revolution, a band still non-existing around that time. Again it's interesting but not really overwhelming.

The last bonus is The Thing That Never Was, an obvious Metallica pun. It's a 17 minute instrumental ride through the riffs of the main album. Even the sequence in which the pieces are linked is the same as the running order on the album. Without the vocals something is missing here but still it's a great listen.

Interesting edition but nothing essential to spend extra money on. Apart from the beautiful artwork that is.

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3 stars With the recent shocking departure of Mike Portnoy from Dream Theater, it seems somehow apt that one of his numerous side projects should benefit from a re-release, in this case the debut from OSI, originally released in 2003. It's a common misconception that OSI was a project put together th ... (read more)

Report this review (#381621) | Posted by usa prog music | Monday, January 17, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Well, I first picked up this album because I am a fan of old school (and new school) Dream Theater. I also had one Fates Warning album: No Exit. I wan't familiar Jim Matheos's work other than that one album, and I hadn't really listened to Chroma Key. I was expecting a prog metal supergroup th ... (read more)

Report this review (#238753) | Posted by Tarquin Underspoon | Saturday, September 12, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I really need to rate this album for two reasons: First, I'm a great fan of this band since their beginning, and in that time I still wasn't a prog music fan, but I feel now very influenced by the prog music, and specially for this group. Second, and most important, since the release until now al ... (read more)

Report this review (#234145) | Posted by kchtcr | Saturday, August 22, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Whether you hear the limted Edition or the original your not missing anything, and your not over purchasing anything. I finally had the privilage of hearing the few extra tracks and I'd have to say that if your desperate to hear them, you won't be disapointed, their good. The Thing that Never was ... (read more)

Report this review (#93257) | Posted by Xeroth | Tuesday, October 3, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I've been a huge fan of Mike Portnoy side projects and always wanted to know what OSI was like. luckily enough i was able to get their debut album but more importantly i got the special edition of the debut. At first listen i was kinda confused i guess you could say about how experimental eac ... (read more)

Report this review (#76869) | Posted by Progdrummer05 | Monday, May 1, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars CAN I CLASSIFY THIS AS EXPERIMENTAL / PSYCHEDELIC METAL?? O.S.I is a Mike Portnoy (DT) side project, featuring Kevin Moore (ex Dream Theater, Chroma Key), Jim Matheos (Porcupine Tree) and Sean Malone, a "supergroup". I must say I expected a Dream Theater - Porcupine Tree sound but what I hea ... (read more)

Report this review (#72319) | Posted by Barla | Sunday, March 19, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars An album that is different from DREAM THEATER although PORTNOY'S drumming is easy to recognise. The album is, as it seems to me, more of a work by the keyboardist KEVIN MOORE. This might have been the musical direction that DREAM THEATER would had taken if MOORE still had been in that band wit ... (read more)

Report this review (#60233) | Posted by | Tuesday, December 13, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars when i get up in the morning to go to work and that i feel this day will not be the one(you know, ridding the bloody jubilee line never be a nice thing) i get my minidisc and just let myself getting lost for about 35mn with this guys.... its just that everything is cleverly blended, even the f ... (read more)

Report this review (#40316) | Posted by | Monday, July 25, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I bought this album completely on a whim - I had heard none of the tracks, but had heard about it (that it was another one of Mike Portnoy's side-projects). I payed almost 45$ (CAN) for it, and though I don't think it was quite worth that much, I don't regret it one bit. This album's style was ... (read more)

Report this review (#36795) | Posted by | Friday, June 17, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I dislike Dreal theater and metal a lot. but mike portnoy is really a progressive fanatic. after the ultra classic transatlantic, he explore the real metal progressive O.S.I is really great. complexity of progressive and powerful of metal without unbearing vocals, demonstrative guitars with so ... (read more)

Report this review (#17058) | Posted by anesthésie | Sunday, May 15, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Someone said this sounds as Porcupine tree: not really exepting the one song steve wilson actualy was involved in. The rest is exactly like that: it all sounds as the ones involved in it. That is: its sounds like Fates warning, with chroma key, and some DT. If you happen to like those three gr ... (read more)

Report this review (#17050) | Posted by | Tuesday, May 18, 2004 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Those who have heard Chroma Key will understand the soul of this record, an strange record that nutres itself from the sounds of sadness and space, clean playing, and great performance; Kevin Moore's voice is something else, in a way like his counterpart Steve Wilson, Matheos matturing every single ... (read more)

Report this review (#17048) | Posted by | Monday, March 29, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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