OSI Office of Strategic Influence

This is an interestingly packaged two-disc set of some dually interesting neo-nouveau modern prog rock — visually a passport and aurally, a sonic moving picture that tells a kind of story about moving quickly and adapting to different environments. The group, a super-group of sorts in the prog world, consists of Kevin Moore (Chroma Key), Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater), Steve Wilson (Porcupine Tree) and Sean Malone (Gordian Knot) and Jim Matheos (Fates Warning). The collective take fusion and mathematic jams and totally surpass the curse of sameness, which is something inherent in many modern prog bands that consist of older members. OSI are much more menacing sounding, aggressive and confident — each stroke, beat and delve pummels the listener into submission, while the mellower passages (like the techno side of Peter Gabriel) bring extreme relief — somehow, the group manage to take both extremes and make the listener confuse one for the other, in a good way of course. The second disc consists of bonus material, the highlight being a cover of Pink Floyd's "Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun,” and also includes various Quicktime movie clips of in-studio action. This is for those who have always been wary about the genre — this album might finally be their ticket in. (Inside Out)