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Experimental/Post Metal • United States

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OSI biography
Founded in the USA in 2002

O.S.I. (stands for: Office Of Strategic Influence) 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 al...
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OSI discography

Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help to complete the discography and add albums

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

3.96 | 277 ratings
Office Of Strategic Influence
3.39 | 193 ratings
3.70 | 211 ratings
3.60 | 157 ratings
Fire Make Thunder

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)

3.91 | 119 ratings
Office of Strategic Influence (Limited Edition)

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

2.87 | 39 ratings

OSI Reviews

Showing last 10 reviews only
 Office Of Strategic Influence by OSI album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.96 | 277 ratings

Office Of Strategic Influence
OSI Experimental/Post Metal

Review by MaxnEmmy

4 stars This group consists of Fates Warning members and special guests that put out a really good debut recording which only gets better with repeated listening sessions. I like the satirical approach they take to government and current state of affairs, as they comment on the media and the masses. OSI has released some very strong albums over the years but I find this one to be their strongest and best. They strive to make music that makes you think, which like Rush is the hallmark of great progressive rock. All the OSI catalogue is worth checking out but I would definitely start with this one.
 Office Of Strategic Influence by OSI album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.96 | 277 ratings

Office Of Strategic Influence
OSI Experimental/Post Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

3 stars Taking their name from the abbreviated form of the briefly engaged US government agency named OFFICE OF STRATEGIC INFLUENCE (which serves as the title of this debut album), this supergroup was the brainchild of Fates Warning guitarist Jim Matheos who collaborated with Kevin Moore, keyboardist and vocalist for the art rock band Chroma Key. Adding to the well known musicians on board came Dream Theater's Mike Portnoy to fill the percussionist spot and Sean Malone of Cynic to play the bass. Originally the band pursued Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree to be the vocalist but he declined leaving them to fend for themselves and adopt many of his influences without him. Although intended to be a one-off project and studio band only, OSI continued recording new albums after their debut was met with positive reviews which led the band to continue the project and release future albums.

While touted as a progressive metal band, the truth is that there is little of Dream Theater or Fate Warning influence to be found on this one. The focus of hero worship on this one is primarily limited to the likes of Porcupine Tree's more metal ventures as heard on 'In Absentia' or 'Deadwing' except Kevin Moore's vocal ability sounds more like Eric Woolfson of The Alan Parsons Project fame. Despite his refusal as lead vocalist Wilson did however contribute to the outstanding track 'ShudDOWN' which is the best Porcupine Tree track not on a PT album. Overall the music on OSI's debut is tantamount to the heavier riffing style of PT with songwriting compositions to match all painted with the art rock electronica heard on Moore's Chroma Key project.

The fact is OSI sounds so much like Porcupine Tree that i had to scan my liner notes upon first listen to find out if this was some clandestine Steven Wilson project but other than the guest spot on one track it is clearly not. I feel the band borrowed a little too heavily from the Porcupine Tree sound and granted Steven Wilson's sound was more than a worthy supply of inspiration, OSI tries a little too hard to fully replicate it leaving them with very little original sound of their own. The fact that a Fates Warning and Dream Theater combo effect is totally absent is rather disappointing. The project could've been a much better one if they had. While i can't say i don't enjoy listening to this one as the tracks are catchy, sombre and excellently produced, the combo effect of the PT influences reigning supreme with the lackluster vocal talents of Moore leaves me slightly cold on this one. For those who care less about blatant ripoffs of other's signature sounds, you might like this more than i do.

 Office Of Strategic Influence by OSI album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.96 | 277 ratings

Office Of Strategic Influence
OSI Experimental/Post Metal

Review by martindavey87

4 stars Now I love Dream Theater! And I love Fates Warning! And I kinda like Chroma Key too! So when Mike Portnoy, Jim Matheos and Kevin Moore banded together to form OSI and release their debut album 'Office of Strategic Influence', I knew it was an album I had to have!

OSI blends all the elements of each individuals respective bands perfectly. Jim Matheos' unique guitar riffs are as impressive as always, especially when backed by the insane drum skills of Mike Portnoy. And Kevin Moore's eerie keyboards add so much depth and ambience to the album, and whilst his vocals do, at times, seem to drone on, they do suit the music very well. It's a very experimental, at times electronic-sounding take on progressive metal, and it works well!

Highlights include 'The New Math (What He Said)', 'When You're Ready', 'Hello, Helicopter' and the haunting 'Shutdown'. It's evident in the songwriting that these guys all know each other well and have a great chemistry when it comes to working together.

But that's not all! If you own the special edition version which comes with a bonus disc, you're in for a treat! While bonus discs are usually nothing more than excuses to release various different versions of an album at higher prices, this one really is worth the price. 'Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun' and 'New Mama' are both nice little ambient pieces, but the real gem is 'The Thing that Never Was', a 17-minute instrumental track that comprises of all the best parts of the album. Doesn't sound like much, but it's actually a pretty decent little extra.

Overall this is a great album for fans who like their progressive metal to be a little more experimental, and if you're a fan of any of the individual members or their respective bands, you will not be disappointed.

 Free by OSI album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.39 | 193 ratings

OSI Experimental/Post Metal

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic Team

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.

 Blood by OSI album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.70 | 211 ratings

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 )

 Fire Make Thunder by OSI album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.60 | 157 ratings

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.

 Fire Make Thunder by OSI album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.60 | 157 ratings

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.

 Office Of Strategic Influence by OSI album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.96 | 277 ratings

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.

 Blood by OSI album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.70 | 211 ratings

OSI Experimental/Post Metal

Review by progbethyname


   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. 


 Fire Make Thunder by OSI album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.60 | 157 ratings

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 on August 11th of the year 2012.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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