OSI is a side project of Dream Theater’s long time drummer, Mike Portny and former DT Keyboardist (now with Chroma Key) Kevin Moore. The music they perform 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”).
“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!
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 relly should look into the limited edition version before you buy.
Yes there are a couple so so tracks 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.