O.S.I. - Office Of Strategic Influence (Limited Edition)

Year of Release: 2003
Label: InsideOut
Catalog Number: IOMCD 116
Format: CD
Total Time: 47:33:00

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.

Released in North America by InsideOut Music America (Regular edtion: IOMACD 2049-2)

Disc One: The New Math (What He Said) (3:36) / OSI (3:48) / When You're Ready (4:09) / Horseshoes And B-52s (4:18) / Head (5:17) / Hello, Helicopter! (3:44) / ShutDOWN (10:35) / Dirt From A Holy Place (5:10) / Memory Daydreams Lapses 5:56) / Standby (Looks Like Rain) (2:09) / Videoclip: Horseshoes And B-52s

Disc Two: Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun (8:49) / New Mama (2:22) / The Thing That Never Was (17:21) / plus: video documentary

Jim Matheos - guitars, keyboards, programming
Kevin Moore - vocals, keyboards, programming
Mike Portnoy - drums
Sean Malone - bass, stick
Steven Wilson - vocals (7)

Office Of Strategic Influence (2003)
Free (2006)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin US

Added: April 20th 2003
Reviewer: Keith "Muzikman" Hannaleck
Artist website: www.osiband.com
Hits: 854
Language: english


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