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OSI ‘Office of Strategic Influence’ Inside Out 08565402 (2003)

OSI is the new project featuring guitarist Jim Matheos (Fates Warning), keyboard player Kevin Moore (CHROMA KEY/DREAM THEATER) and drummer Mike Portnoy (DREAM THEATER), with Kevin Moore on vocals. Sean Malone guests on bass/stick with Steven Wilson (PORCUPINE TREE) taking lead vocals on ‘ShutDOWN’. There is also a limited edition digibbook release that includes a video and extra tracks.

Obvious similarities will be drawn with Dream Theater as OSI features one current and one ex-member of the band but you can add to this bits of Peter Gabriel, Rush and the heavy riffing of Threshold. Kevin Moore’s vocals are distorted on some tracks such as ‘OSI’, which complements the heavy guitar well. Very hi-tech keyboards and effects dominate the album’s sound adding to the ‘future feel’, none more so than ‘When You’re Ready’.

Centre stage goes to the epic ‘ShutDOWN’ with Steve Wilson on vocals. Brooding atmospherics combined with Sabbath riffing meld to produce the album’s highpoint. Drummer Mike Portnoy puts in some sterling percussion work.

Superbly played music with some real standout moments like the ten-minute epic ‘ShutDOWN’ - Sabbath meets Floyd! Hopefully this will be a long term project as the band have set themselves a very high benchmark with this debut release. Fans of Dream Theater, Porcupine Tree, et al will enjoy this album big time.



Review by Jason Ritchie

***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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