This progressive super group lasted for ten years or so following formation in 2002 and managed to issue four full-length records and a remix EP called Re: Free in 2006. Jim Matheos lead the act that was meant to act as a one-off project. Neither the LP nor the Free EP was given away. Joey Vera appeared on the EP. Matheos often took over the bass.
The band often wrote and collaborated remotely. The band’s moniker was taken from an American governmental agency put together as part of the American war of terror. The band expressed interest in touring, but given the cost and logistics remained a studio act.
OSI - OFFICE OF STRATEGIC INFLUENCE - INSIDEOUT
OSI is a band of contradictions. Clad in a jacket resembling an American passport, the group comprised of members of Dream Theater, Fates Warning, etc. has a few things to say. It is not immediately clear what the band's exact message is (put away the torches), but the packaging supports the concept behind the artwork and band's name. As far as the music goes, OSI is indeed a strange animal. Part progressive, part new age, part hard rock, OSI sounds like a band of care-free musicians which is odd given the amount of arrangement gone into songs like Dirt From A Holy Place or Shutdown. Then music takes centre stage, while the vocals take a back seat making the occasional cursory appearance. The sound is good, but this being a side project the band has not attempted to reproduce the grandeur of say a Dream Theater. Instead the musicians, nay friends, have come together and slipped into something comfortable. Which is hard to say given the band's name and album's concept. The CD is available as a limited edition double-disc and also features a video for the song Horseshoes and B-52's. - Ali "The Metallian"
OSI - FREE - INSIDEOUT
Heavier than Sieges Even but not as heavy as King’s X and Fates Warning the new OSI release is a collection of cool and collected progressive rock songs played with extreme clarity and control. The effects have a futuristic Pink Floyd quality to them, while the drumming is reminiscent of late Genesis. Several songs have the necessary crunch, others have a serene atmosphere and none of it may matter. As a super group the band probably ahs a built-in fan base. In all cases, this album is 'free' of disorder, chaos or bedlam and is an exercise in controlled emotions and production. Trivia: the beginning of the title track is a replica of Men Without Hats’ song The Safety Dance. - Anna Tergel
OSI - BLOOD - INSIDEOUT
Jim Matheos of Fates Warning has attempted to create something avant-garde. From the start of The Escape Artist the band, with the almost spoken word and downtrodden vocals of Kevin Moore, sounds like an awkward mix of industrial, experimental, progressive and ’nu rock’. OSI (Office of Strategic Influences) find it hard to generate positive emotions here. The songs are often either too laid back or underwhelming and certainly rarely heavy metal. Very little to move or excite and there isn’t much of catchiness to compensate either. Some of this may be more attractive when one is in an altered state of mind however. Gavin Harrison of Porcupine Tree and King Crimson fame handles the drums as a guest and Mikael Åkerfeldt of Opeth the vocals on the appropriately titled Stockholm. – Anna Tergel