OSI
Blood


3.0
good

Review

by Trey Spencer STAFF
July 12th, 2010 | 49 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Despite Jim Matheos and Kevin Moore's half-hearted approach, Blood still ends up being a good album.

How often do so-called “super groups” live up to the hype or even equal the sum of their parts? The reality is that it doesn’t happen very often. With that in mind, it wasn’t a surprise when Kevin Moore (Chroma Key, ex-Dream Theater), Jim Matheos (Fates Warning), Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater) and Sean Malone (Cynic, Gordian Knot) couldn’t live up to the hype surrounding OSI’s debut album. The band’s second album, Free, managed to come a bit closer to meeting fan expectations, but it still wasn’t the dream-album that people envisioned. It was definitely an excellent album, featuring some of the best Jim Matheos riffs this side of 1990 and was as rockin’ as it was inventive and progressive – but it still wasn’t super-group material. Unfortunately, Blood doesn’t even manage to reach the same levels as the previous two releases.

Overall, the performances on Blood just don’t seem to have the same energy or level of innovation. The most prominent reason for this is that the creative effects and electronic sounds are almost entirely missing. In their place typical sounds found on any stock keyboard program, and instead of lush effects we’re offered generic blips and bleeps. Kevin’s only saving grace is found in his level of musicianship; it allows him to deliver a multitude of great melodies despite their generic tones. As it turns out, whatever caused Kevin Moore’s apathetic approach has also found it’s way into Jim Matheos’ performance as well.

While playing with OSI, Jim Matheos has always skirted the line between mainstream and progressive metal, providing the best of both worlds, but on Blood he has opted to push things more towards mainstream metal. Anyone that has heard Jim’s early work with Fates Warning knows that he can play some metal, but he doesn’t even seem to be trying here. Instead of applying his own innovative style to the riffs, he is content to emulate the popular sounds. On “False Start” he becomes the millionth guitarist to blatantly copy Meshuggah’s rhythmic riffs, and “Be the Hero” reeks of Porcupine Tree. As with Kevin Moore, Jim’s only saving grace is that his level of musicianship is such that he is able to do integrate the occasional original idea into his otherwise copy-and-paste method of playing.

As should be expected, the songs that eschew the generic metal approach are the one’s that end up standing out the most. These songs allow enough space to develop the atmosphere that previous OSI albums are known for, and they utilize more then stock riffs and effects. Songs such as “We Come Undone” and “Radiologue” exemplify the kind of quality this band is capable of when they make an effort. They both employ a thick layer of unique synth melodies and rhythmic electronic percussion as their base and allow Kevin’s vocals and Jim’s guitar to act as accentuation. Unfortunately, the song co-written by Mikael Akerfeldt (Opeth) isn’t one of those exceptional songs. “Stockholm” wastes Mikael’s vocal talents by relegating his role to short bursts of lyrics that never allow him to establish himself. The music also reverts back to the stock sounds that plague much of this album, turning a song that could have been a huge crowd-pleaser into a disappointment.

When the band released Free they set the bar very high in terms of quality and innovation, and they’ve simply failed to hit the mark twice. The thing that makes this realization frustrating is that it often feels as if Jim and Kevin aren’t even trying. Much of their performance comes off as dry and generic, as if their heart wasn’t really into the music. Fortunately, the band’s level of professionalism and musicianship is high enough that even when they’re phoning in their performances they’re still good. The dilemma here is that on its own this isn’t a bad album, but compared to their previous release and their full-time projects this is a disappointment. For those that decide to look into this album, approach it with caution and take it for what it is – a solid metal album with the occasional hint of better things.



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user ratings (86)
Chart.
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Willie
Moderator
July 12th 2010


15976 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This is a re-submit of an old review. I don't even know when the other one was even deleted.

Digging: Necropoli - I

Bitchfork
July 12th 2010


7584 Comments


lol album.

AnotherBrick
July 12th 2010


9770 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i love radiologue

Powerban
July 13th 2010


2380 Comments


"Despite Jim Matheos and Kevin Mooore's half-hearted approach, Blood still ends up being a good album."

Just an extra "o" in Moore. Just seen it on the main page and thought I'd let you know.

Willie
Moderator
July 13th 2010


15976 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Thanks. I back up my reviews but not the summaries (mostly because they're crap anyway).

BirdOfFeather
July 13th 2010


8 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is one of the best of 2009. Amazing album. I absolutely love those "standard" electronica sounds when they are put to good use and the blend between those and the guitars is done beautifully well in here (as well as Free).

Most riffs are simple and "standard" yes, but they serve the music in a creative way most of the time. It adds a certain charm too, these riffs contrasting with the amazing electronic touches and their balance with the longer and ambient stuff.




Rhino
July 13th 2010


71 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I thought it was kind of odd to see this on the front page. Agree with the review. It is super-obvious the players literally mailed their parts in (as in, emailing their protools files to Moore for assembly). No real cohesiveness to the record. Radiologue stands above the rest of the album, with some interesting bits in other songs as well. Average.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
July 13th 2010


6105 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

but compared to their previous release and their full-time projects this is a disappointment

Not quite.

Indeed the two previous albums are better, but this doesn't make Blood a disappointment.

Digging: The Sabbathian - Ritual Rites

Willie
Moderator
July 13th 2010


15976 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

It makes it a disappointment based on prior expectations and the fact that they're better than this. It's still good (hence the "3"), but it's disappointing as well.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
July 13th 2010


6105 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

tbqh, during the listening sessions of this album, i didn't feel let down by its musical quality nor i compared this record to the band's previous ones.

If this is worse than the band's previous work, it is only by a relatively slight margin.

I strongly felt that kind of disappointment you're talking about Trey with the new Nevermore album (i mention Nevermore solely as a similar example, in terms of artist's work in general), but - curiously how - not with the new OSI album.

Now that i'm thinking of it, it's quite strange not feeling let down in the first case rather than the second, whereas both bands issued records that didn't topped their previous efforts.

Willie
Moderator
July 13th 2010


15976 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I could see that. The new Nevermore seems even more apathetic than this.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
July 13th 2010


6105 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The only song i really don't like in this is the one with the Akerfeldt vocals.

AnotherBrick
July 13th 2010


9770 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i liked this more then the other 2

Willie
Moderator
July 14th 2010


15976 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Really? What made you like this one more? I'm assuming it's the metal direction that this one took.

Enotron
July 14th 2010


7695 Comments


haha Willie I can always tell it's you before I click on the review. must be the band names or something

egothelivingplanet
July 15th 2010


11 Comments


I haven't been very active on the site, but this calls for a reaction. What these guys actually
accomplish on this album shouldn't be taken so lightly. What is wrong with blending hard hitting
(rather than complex) progressive metal with some rather crafty pop electronics reminiscent of
Radiohead? I find it brilliant, and Dream Theater wish they could pull something like that from time
to time. Also, Mike Portnoy isn't on this album, he was replaced by Gavin Harrison (from Porcupine
Tree and King Crimson), and his classy touch definitely changes something. His fills are smoothier
than Portnoy's usually tight-ass "I'm the best drummer in the world" drumming. I will try to review
this soon, hope y'all will read it and debate some more on it.

Willie
Moderator
July 15th 2010


15976 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

What is wrong with blending hard hitting (rather than complex) progressive metal with some rather crafty pop electronics reminiscent of Radiohead?
Nothing would be wrong with it if it hadn't turned out kind of generic and lazy sounding. Also, I'm not sure if Radiohead is the best comparison that you could make to this.
Also, Mike Portnoy isn't on this album, he was replaced by Gavin Harrison (from Porcupine Tree and King Crimson), and his classy touch definitely changes something.
I never said he was. I said he was on the debut album. Gavin wasn't mentioned because his playing is unremarkable.



reaganomics777
July 16th 2010


401 Comments


OSI sounds like Radiohead? They're more like a downtempo, electronic version of Opeth. And I wouldn't blame Gavin for the uninspired drumming, the other music on the album didn't really allow him to break out like he does in PT and his solo stuff.

Willie
Moderator
July 16th 2010


15976 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I'd agree with that - to an extent. I think you could force a comparison to Opeth easier than to Radiohead, but I still wouldn't call it a good comparison. To me, I'd say this is more similar to down-tempo Pircupine Tree (with more electronics) and that still doesn't describe the vocals.

As for Gavin, no one should blame him for his playing on this album because he probably did as much as he could with what he was given.

Parallels
July 16th 2010


6641 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

SOMEONE FINNALY REVIEWED THIS!!
SWEEEEET.



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