O.S.I.

Blood

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Many of the progressive metal bands that emerged in the 1990s and 2000s have been caught in a stylistic time warp. Operating with a pre-Nevermind, pre-'90s perspective, they get all of their inspiration from power metal and prog rock bands of the '70s and '80s and show little or no awareness of alternative rock or alternative metal. But O.S.I.'s third full-length album, Blood, is a prog-metal outing that has a strong alt-metal/alt rock influence. No one will accuse Blood of going out of its way to sound like Dream Theater, which is ironic in light of the fact that the co-leaders on this 2009 release are singer/keyboardist Kevin Moore (formerly of Dream Theater) and guitarist/keyboardist Jim Matheos (of Fates Warning fame). If any prog-metal group should be oblivious to alternative, it should be O.S.I. But in fact, the sound on Blood is basically prog-metal meets alt-metal and alt rock. Prog-metal often has an overt power metal influence; Blood's approach, however, is Pink Floyd and King Crimson by way of Radiohead, Nirvana, grunge, alt-metal and alt rock. Instead of bright, shiny '70s/'80s-like guitars, we're talking chug-chug riffs and downtuned guitars. Blood has its aggressive, forceful moments, but even so, the material is quite melodic -- and most of the time, O.S.I. are moody and darkly atmospheric more than anything. Some of that moodiness comes from O.S.I.'s appreciation of Pink Floyd and King Crimson, but some of it comes from their appreciation of Radiohead. So there is no getting around the fact that this 47-minute CD draws its inspiration from different eras and different generations of rock. Some headbangers who know Moore from Dream Theater and Matheos from Fates Warning might be surprised by how much alternative appeal Blood has, but that alternative appeal is a plus on an album that falls short of earth-shattering but is still solid and worthwhile.

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