OSI or Office of Strategic Influence has often been referred to as a super group of sorts, and one of the most well-known progressive rock/metal acts to have emerged out of America during the early 2000’s. And, considering the person who’s at the helm of affairs at OSI, this statement doesn’t come as an exaggeration. Jim Matheos, guitarist & keyboardist of Fates Warning and Kevin Moore, keyboardist & lead vocalist of Chroma Key are the two permanent members of OSI. Both of them have solid credentials in the field of progressive rock and progressive metal music.

Kevin is also a former member of Dream Theatre, a band that ruled the charts during the 90s and 2000s era. He’s more of a progressive rock guy than a follower of progressive metal. On the other hand, Jim has been playing guitars for Fates Warning for many years now. The other temporary members of OSI include Sean Malone (member of Gordian Knot, an instrumental progressive rock band influenced heavily by jazz-rock music) on bass and Mike Portnoy (ex-drummer of Dream Theater) on drums.

Many people have come and gone as members of OSI, but Kevin Moore and Jim Matthews have always been the mainstay of the band. As mentioned above, their music is heavily influenced by alternative metal and alternative rock genre, which had gained immense popularity during the 90s and 2000s era. While many progressive metal bands of that era had been influenced by the 60s, 70s and 80s music, mainly the pre-Nevermind era, OSI opted to veer away from the trend and drew influences from the likes of Nirvana, Radiohead, King Crimson, Yes and Pink Floyd. Their music is quite different from Kevin Moore’s Chroma Key and Jim Matheos’ Fates Warning. In fact a large number of Kevin’s fans feel surprised that OSI doesn’t sound the same as Dream Theater!

Their Debut Album

The band got its name from a short lived US government agency of the same name. They came out with their debut album titled OSI in the ear 2003. It was released by InsideOut Music. The album was recorded and mixed at Carriage House Studios, Stamford, Connecticut, US. It was very well received by both the progressive rock/metal listeners as well as the critics. A large majority of them showered praises on the band members for the quality of their musicianship. In fact, some critics went to the extent of comparing their sound with Porcupine Tree.

Jim originally started work on this album as a side project while his band mates from Fates Warning had taken a break from work, before starting with the Fates Warning’s next project. He engaged the Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy as both had expressed desire to work together on a project. Jim spent good seven months writing down material for the first OSI album. Once he was done, he sent some MP3 files to Kevin Moore (staying in Costa Rica), asking him to add the keyboard parts. Moore had already worked with Jim on three different Fates Warning songs earlier. Moore gave a completely different shape to the song, adding vocals and keyboard to it. That was how the work started on the OSI’s debut album!