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Office of Strategic Influence

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(13 Reviews)

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  • OSI is a “super-group” project consisting of Jim Matheos (Fates Warning) on guitar, Kevin Moore (Chroma Key, ex-Dream Theater) on vocals and keyboard, and Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater) on drums. It also features Sean Malone (Gordian Knot) on bass and Steve Wilson (Porcupine Tree) as a guest vocalist on one song. Being a big fan of Chroma Key, Fates Warning, and Dream Theater, I had very high expectations for this CD ever since I first heard about it several months ago. Now that I finally have the CD in hand, I am very impressed. I would describe the music as a blend of Chroma Key and Fates Warning (not surprising since Matheos and Moore co-wrote most of the songs). The tracks range in style from very heavy (lots of “balls and chunk” as Portnoy would say) to very subdued. All of the tracks are marked with Kevin Moore’s signature production style (i.e., multi-layered soundscapes with lots of voice samples and electronic sounds — fans of Chroma Key will know exactly what I’m talking about). The result is something that has many elements of prog-metal, but which is very different from a typical prog-metal album. I am extremely pleased with this end result, however someone buying this disc expecting to hear a clone of Dream Theater or Fates Warning is likely to be disappointed. Another caution that I would like to mention is that Kevin Moore’s voice might not appeal to everyone. I have no complaints about it — in fact I think it fits the music very well — but he does not really have a “lead singer” voice.If you do decide to buy this album, I would recommend paying a little extra to get the limited edition, which includes a second CD with three bonus tracks. The first two tracks on this bonus CD are cool cover versions of Pink Floyd’s “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun” (performed by Moore and Portnoy) and Neil Young’s “New Mama” (performed by Moore). The third track is a 17-minute instrumental demo by Matheos and Portnoy (“The Thing That Never Was”), parts of which ended up forming the basis for five of the ten OSI songs. In summary, I think that anyone who is a fan of both Fates Warning and Chroma Key will love this disc. Fans of Fates Warning and/or Dream Theater who are NOT familiar with Kevin Moore’s Chroma Key albums may like this disc, but they should definitely take into account the cautions that I mentioned above.

    Posted on January 27, 2010