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OSI

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(SPV; US: 23 May 2006; UK: 24 Apr 2006)

A collaboration between Fates Warning guitarist Jim Matheos and Kevin Moore, former founding member of Dream Theater, OSI (or Office of Strategic Influence, to be specific) is very similar to recent prog metal duo Head Control System (a side project by members of Ulver and Sirius), in that it tends to stray from the typical metal template in an attempt at something a little more electronic influenced. The end result on the project’s second album, while not as enthralling as Head Control System, still has its moments, as songs like “Go” and “Free” sound like Gary Numan interpreting metal compositions. “Bigger wave” follows the example of Radiohead and the Gathering in its blend of electronic and guitar rock, and “Better” has a bubbly synth melody meshing with Matheos’s power chords, but if there’s a main fault, it’s that Moore’s vocals tend to have one note all the way through, and his monotonous droning does get tiresome. It’s an album that will be a challenge to fans of both Fates Warning and Dream Theater, and one that will surprise those who think this is just another slice of flashy prog metal bombast.

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Adrien Begrand has been writing for PopMatters since 2002, and has been writing his monthly metal column Blood & Thunder since 2005. His writing has also appeared in Metal Edge, Sick Sounds, Metallian, graphic novelist Joel Orff's Strum and Drang: Great Moments in Rock 'n' Roll, Knoxville Voice, The Kerouac Quarterly, JackMagazine.com, StylusMagazine.com, and StaticMultimedia.com. A contributing writer for Decibel, Terrorizer, and Dominion magazines and senior writer for Hellbound, he resides, blogs, and does the Twitter thing in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.


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