In a music genre overcrowded with collaborations , guest appearances and 'supergroups', it's pleasing to report that OSI have come up with something interesting and valid ,although not as groundbreaking as had been hoped.
If you are a fan of Dream Theater circa 'Awake', then this is certainly for you ; some frenetic riffing , a virtouso keyboard performance and quite melancolic lyrics demonstrate what a loss Kevin Moore was to that band.Mix in his love of voice samples and tape loops and OSI takes on a more experimental direction often remeniscant of Nine Inch Nails.
Outstanding tracks are the Eastern sounding 'Head' very much in the vein of the Tea Party , the opening 'The New Math' and 'Memory Daydreams Lapses'.Mike Portnoy's drumming is outstanding throughout - doesn't the guy ever take a break - though his lack of song writing credits suggests he is giving OSI more of a profile than actual direction.This is most definately Moore's baby although Jim Matheos' contribution can't be underestimated- witness his two outstanding instrumental tracks and some stunning guitar work.
The fly in the ointment (and loss of one star) is the centre piece of the album, 'Shutdown' - co-written and sung by Steven Wilson - it merely plunders a plodding Sabbath riff and sounds like a reworking of Russia On Ice from Porcupine Tree's Lightbulb Sun ,it spoils the feel and sound of the album , and is completely out of place.
Excellent packaging from InsideOut -why can't all labels spoil us like this? - and the bonus disc is a real treat, particularly their take on the Floyd's 'Set the controls for the heart of the sun'.It captures the originals' sense of menace and forboding but with a much heavier and darker sound ; in fact it captures the feel and direction of the album proper.