Monday, October 10, 2011

#18: O.S.I. - Office of Strategic Influence

Release Year: 2003

In 2003, 9/11 was fresh on our minds, and one of the big sticking points was how much civil liberty we were willing to give up in order to achieve more security (or, some of us argue, the perception of more security).  Ex-Dream Theater keyboardist Kevin Moore was invited by Fates Warning guitarist Jim Matheos to collaborate on an album, and what we got was one of the most awesomely paranoid albums I've ever heard.

The term "Office of Strategic Influence" refers to the propaganda machine set up by the US government after the terrorist attacks.  The lyrics are centered around this theme, and indeed, the lyrics and music take on a somewhat sardonic tone, with Kevin Moore's signature sound bites topically spread throughout.  This is an excellent protest album: it does not come across as trite, shallow, or even angry, but instead more sarcastic.

Besides Moore and Matheos, this album features ex-Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy, some melodies and lyrics by Daniel Gildenlöw, a song featuring lyrics and vocals by Steven Wilson, and another guest or two.

This album is a perfect mix of heavy and atmospheric, and the vast difference in styles between the respective projects led by Moore and Matheos yields a very diverse and interesting album; yet, it still manages to stay true to its specific theme.

Standout tracks:
  • Head
  • Dirt From A Holy Place
  • When You're Ready
  • shutDOWN 

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