OSI - Office of Strategic Influence

Fates Warning guitarist Jim Matheos originally intended to create a progressive metal supergroup while Fates Warning went on hiatus. He recruited Cynic & Gordian Knot Fretless Bass and Chapman Stickist Sean Malone and then-Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy to work on the project. Matheos then asked Chroma Key and ex-Dream Theater keyboardist Kevin Moore to contribute by adding keyboard arrangements to the music he had written. Moore instead heavily edited the music, changing the song structures and adding vocals. Matheos decided to pursue this new direction, sounding closer to Chroma Key than standard progressive metal, over his and Portnoy's original idea.

Many vocalists were considered to perform on the album; Matheos and Portnoy briefly considered having a different vocalist perform on each track. Daniel Gildenlöw of Pain of Salvation wrote some vocal melodies and lyrics, but Moore ultimately performed most of the vocals and wrote most of the lyrics. Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree wrote lyrics and performed vocals on one track. Cynic and Gordian Knot bassist Sean Malone performed bass, but was credited as a guest musician because his schedule meant he was unable to join Matheos, Moore and Portnoy for the basic tracking sessions.

Matheos, Moore and Portnoy recorded the album at Carriage House Studios in Stamford, Connecticut from June 2 to June 9, 2002. Songs with a strong progressive metal influence were mostly written by Matheos, while Moore had greater influence over the vocal-driven tracks. Portnoy made minor arrangement suggestions but did not take part in the actual writing of the album. The album's recording sessions were the first time Moore and Portnoy collaborated since 1994 in their work in Dream Theater. In 2009, Portnoy recalled that he found the experience of making the record difficult, and that he was frustrated by the lack of collaboration between him and Moore. Differences between Moore and Portnoy led to his return on the follow-up album as a session drummer rather than full-time member.

InsideOut Music released Office of Strategic Influence on February 17, 2003. Moore chose the group's name and album's title, referring to the Office of Strategic Influence, established by the US Government after the September 11 attacks to spread propaganda. The album was critically well received. Critics praised the members' musicianship and the fact that the album differed significantly from the members' other projects.

 

The plugin used relies heavily on HTML5 for mp3 playback and so far I get acceptable results only when using Google Chrome. I hope licensing issues will be solved for Mozilla Firefox someday.

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Special thanks for the plug-in: Joseph Moore