OSI - Blood
InsideOut Music
Progressive Rock/Metal
9 songs (47:21)
Release year: 2009
OSI, InsideOut Music
Reviewed by Goat

A project based around the creative vibes of former Dream Theater keyboardist Kevin Moore and Fates Warning’s Jim Matheos, OSI here present their third album, the first without Mike Portnoy and thus to many a bit of a step-down, although Porcupine Tree’s Gavin Harrison does an excellent job here. Any music stands or falls on the quality of its songwriting, and this band are no different; thankfully they know how to keep the listener’s attention, and as such OSI is a band that favours the song over the Prog. Few would argue with this style after hearing opening track The Escape Artist, yet after a whole album I did find myself wishing that the band were a little more capable of considered craziness, dropping the at times rather rigid confines (Dream Theater meets Porcupine Tree, with heavy emphasis on the latter, is the best way to sum this project up) and allowing the members’ skills to run free.

That’s what holds Blood back, the fact that the band are so restrained, even at moments falling into blandness, surely the ultimate death knoll for any Prog Metal group. Many of the tracks here are chained to the electronica that runs through them like a rather nasty flu virus, Terminal especially suffering from this, as whilst the melodies are superb where they are allowed to shine, all too often they’re crippled. Take False Start as an example, rocking out nicely with the Modern Metal guitars but descending into blandness once you allow yourself to forget who is behind this band. That, for me, is where OSI ultimately failed... with a line-up this distinguished, a little more originality should be expected, but little is delivered. Steven Wilson’s solo album, reviewed elsewhere, provides better songwriting than does this, a distinctly lifeless romp through territory that has been done many times before.

It’s not a bad listen, though, the band never descending utterly into dreadfulness. Doubtless Stockholm, with the Mikael Åkerfeldt guest spot, will get all the press, but it’s a distinctly average piece, even with the Opeth frontman’s skills at play. The casual catchiness of Radiologue is better, something actually happening rather than the meandering ambience of the former, but few moments are as excellently catchy as the likes of The Escape Artist. Sadly, this is one of those albums that works great as background music but should you try and get into it a little deeper is destined to disappoint, and the more listens I gave Blood the more it disappointed me. Fans of their past releases will find something to sustain them, but if you’re listening to OSI never having checked Porcupine Tree out, then you should definitely go for the English band over this.

Killing Songs :
The Escape Artist, Radiologue
Goat quoted 62 / 100
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