One of the reasons why many music listeners don’t like progressive metal is because the works of a large majority of progressive metal artists turns out to be something akin to duct-taped and lose-bolted monster sounds that simply come across as sum of distinct parts.

Office of Strategic Influence (OSI) which features artists like Jim Matheos (guitarist, Fates Warning), Mike Portnoy (ex-drummer, Dream Theater) and Kevin Moore (ex-keyboardist, Dream Theater and present keyboardist, Chroma Key), believes that their music could have easily turned out that way too!

However, if we look in entirety, it has not! Actually, not by a long shot! What you get to hear in the debut and other albums of OSI, bears a great resemblance to the kind of music that Costa Rican musician Kevin Moore plays. It actually worked out pretty well for the band because Kevin had left Dream Theater quite some time ago, owing to his growing distance from the contemporary progressive metal niche. He went on to create several beautiful records in his new avatar in Chroma Key.

The end result of the collaboration between these talented musicians was the debut album of OSI and other subsequent works, which had progressive influences of Jim Matheos, plenty of keyboards, sampling, editing and vocals of Kevin Moore and amazing drumming by Mike Portnoy (in first 2 albums). The debut album appealed tremendously to the fans of Radiohead, Pink Floyd, Dream Theater, Symphony X, Porcupine Tree, David Sylvian, Wire as it Will, Fates Warning, Vanden Plas and Pain of Salvation.

Kevin had plenty of influence on the album as he had done 90% of the lead vocals, apart from plenty of work on the sequencing and editing. Actually, the debut album took plenty of turns, starting from its inception to the final outcome. It was intended to travel in the direction of progressive metal work initially, as Mike and Jim had envisaged. However, with Kevin coming on board, he steered it in a completely different direction, which was interesting too!

The end product was a result of three different leaders and writers of the band, engaging in plenty of push and pull! Regardless of how Chroma Key-like it sounds, the sounds of individual band members could still be clearly heard. Mike can be clearly heard with his shimmery, shining cymbal-smashing percussions; Jim blends in with the acoustics using his crushing guitar-riffs that are a trademark of his work in Fates Warning, taking his fans into emotional spaces; and then everything gels in so well with Kevin’s vocals. The vast array of technologies that Kevin brings to the table, can be heard all through the album.

Although he was not an integral part of the writing job at OSI, Sean Malone brings about a slipperiness to the OSI sound with his amazing bass guitar abilities. Jim had always been a Gordian Knot (a jazz-rock fusion band) fan and talked Sean into coming on board at OSI while he was doing some solos for the band.

The entire thing happened through online collaboration with Jim and Mike sitting in one part of the United States, Kevin Moore in Costa Rica and Sean Malone at his home in Portland.

All in all, OSI has come a long way since its inception in the year 2002, producing four amazing albums till date!