While scouring the net for new music, something I do from time to time, I came acrossOSI. Reading up on them, they sounded like they had some potential. A project formed by Jim Matheos of Fates Warning and Kevin Moore of Chroma Key & Dream Theater. The project has been focused on electronic music for the most part, but this release has introduced quite a bit of heavy guitar. This sounded like something that would appeal to me. There are a handful or artists that are masters at mixing electronic and heavy guitars (see Nine Inch Nails, Ministry, Skinny Puppy, mid-90’s Fear Factory and even Linkin Park) and when it’s done well it sounds so good to me.
With that in mind I came in with high expectations even though I had never heard them. What I got was a mixed bag of disappointment and excitement. The album starts off with a track that has some of the most generic nu-metal guitars I have ever heard. This was the disappointing part for me. Whenever the heavier guitars kick in on this disc it usually ends up ruining whatever good had been done previously within that track. One exception is Microburst Alert which is an instrumental that builds up wonderfully with a repetitive electronic drum loop that ends in a lovely clash of hard guitars and the backing electronics.
The excitement, for me, came in the tracks that were full on electronic or the tracks that used the guitar as more of an effect. The best track here, Radiologue, is nothing but a wonderfully laid back synth and an excellent vocal performance from Kevin Moore. I have read reviews on this that complain about Moore being too “laid back”, but I think that’s the point. He isn’t trying to overpower the music underneath him, he is trying to fit in with it and does a really good job. Another fantastic track is Stockholm which is a track that does use the guitar as more of a backing effect than a cheesy nu-metal rip off.
This disc is a great mix of agressive and laid back. It never really seems to try too hard. They stay in the zone they are comfotable with and it works. This really could appeal to a lot of people. There are parts of things like Assemblage 23 and even some Skinny Puppy but never coming across as hard as either one of those artists do. I hope the guitars grow on me through repeated listens, because the programming and vocals here are excellent. I can’t call this a must listen, but for people who like a little guitar with a lot of darker electronic elements should check this out.
3.5 out of 5