OSI’s First 4 Albums

Jim Matheos, the Fates Warning guitarist approached Kevin Moore for a collaboration with him in a new project involving Daniel Gildenlow (front man for Pain of Salvation) and Mike Portnoy (ex-drummer of Dream Theater), in the year 2003. The band formed as a result of this collaboration was called Office of Strategic Influence (OSI). The name was derived from a short lived government agency. In terms of music, the band could be best described as a nice mixture of melodic and dark focus of Chroma Key and heavy guitars of Dream Theater and Fates Warning. Both Gildenlow and Moore took Matheos’ ideas into completely different directions. Eventually, Matheos engaged Moore for vocal duties in their debut album.

April 2006 saw the release of the second album of OSI by Matheos and Moore, titled Free. This one too had Mike Portnoy on drums, but he came on board only as a session player. Fates Warning’s Joey Vera took over the bass guitar responsibility in this second album. Soon after, OSI released an EP titled Re:Free, which comprised of remix versions of 3 songs from the Free album as well as a video version of its title track. During the spring of 2006, Matheos and Moore indicated during several interviews that they had been contemplating touring for promotion of their second album, however things didn’t materialize. Since that time the band has maintained a stand that OSI would only stay a studio project, with artists working from remote locations and coming together only for conclusion of the projects.

The third studio album of OSI was released in April 2009 and was titled Blood. Apart from Kevin Moore and Jim Matheos, it featured Gavin Harrison (drummer of Porcupine Tree) coming in as a replacement for Mike Portnoy. One of the tracks also featured the Swedish progressive metal band Opeth’s lead vocalist Mikael Akerfeldt as a guest vocalist. British art pop duo No-Man’s Time Bowness contributed vocals to one of the bonus tracks as well. The song creation process of this album went something like this – Matheos would send out the song ideas via email to Kevin Moore, who would then chop them up, adding all sorts of effects from his repertoire. The modified versions would then keep moving to and fro between different artists and worked upon in the process. While promoting their third album, Kevin Moore and the rest of the band members were of the opinion that Blood is by far the best album to have come out from OSI.

Year 2010 saw an announcement from OSI that their fourth studio album was also in the works, and that the band had made a switch from their German record label partners InsideOut music to Metal Blade Records. The latter was the same label that Jim Matheos had been using for releasing Fates Warning albums. An announcement was made by the Metal Blade records regarding release of the fourth OSI album during the late 2010. However, the recording couldn’t conclude owing to other commitments of the band members. Finally, Fire Make Thunder, an eight track album was recorded and released by Matheos and Moore. It also featured Gavin Harrison on drums, just like their third album. This fourth album was mixed in Iowa at the Sound Farm Studio and Recording Environment.