Fire Make Thunder marks the fourth undertaking for the collaborative duo known as OSI (Office of Strategic Influence). Formed in 2002 by Jim Matheos (Fates Warning, Arch/Matheos) and Kevin Moore (Chroma Key, former Dream Theater keyboardist), OSI is a long distance partnership, both musicians typically writing and recording alone and sending song ideas back and forth for further elaboration. Written and recorded throughout most of 2011, this latest release once again reflects the eclectic influences of both Matheos and Moore.
Returning as the band’s session drummer is Gavin Harrison of Porcupine Tree, this time co-writing one of the tracks with the band. All other instruments and programming were performed by both Matheos and Moore, while vocals and lyrics were handled exclusively by Moore.
All of the recording for Fire Make Thunder, with the exception of drums, was done by Moore and Matheos at each musician’s respective home studio with drums being recorded at Harrison’s home in London. Final overdubs as well as some additional writing/arranging was completed in July 2011 in Jamaica, Iowa, where the band mixed alongside engineer Matt Sepanic at Sound Farm Studio and Recording Environment. Mastering was handled by renowned engineer Roger Siebel. The record was produced by both Moore and Matheos.
And what an album this little beauty is! To be perfectly honest with you, if the previous 3 OSI releases rocked your little world, then Fire Make Thunder is tailor made for you. A heady blend of Rock, Electronica and Progressive Metal, equal parts Dream Theater, Depeche Mode (I know it’s strange), and the likes of Porcupine Tree which all equates to one great big OSI experience. Kevin Moore isn’t the greatest singer. Heck, he probably isn’t the best singer in OSI, but his voice is a perfect fit for OSI’s hypnotic and rhythmic unique sound. This is probably my biggest and only gripe. I just want Moore to let rip a little (preferably a lot!). Jim Matheos has some great riffs laid down, but Moore’s laid back and relaxed vocal style doesn’t get past 2 on the Richter scale. Then again, this is my third OSI album so I really should know better by now. Despite the one gripe, it’s one I and hopefully most of you can live with.
Fire Make Thunder is definitely an album that gets under your skin – in a good way! Broody, pulsating, intriguing, yet mellow and none more so than the opening track ‘Cold Call’ and is a song that typifies the OSI sound from the last 3 albums. The second track ‘Guards’ OSI switch it up a bit. In comes a drum loop, combined with a funky drum beat, and Matheos’ chunky and aggressive guitar riff. Overall is a quite dark affair, but each album sees OSI growing into a band, and not just two blokes with a bit of a side project. Even the slower songs have more going for them than previous, each song proving more enjoyable with each and every listen, what with the interplay between Moore’s delightful and multi layered synth, and Matheos’ guitar. Neither get in the way of each other, and there’s a mutual respect going on for each of their talents to blossom and shine through
OSI after some decent albums, have one in Fire Make Thunder that sticks its head above the parapet for some truly cracking moments. I guess it’s their finest yet!
SCORE : 90/100
Jim Matheos (Fates Warning, Arch/Matheos) – guitars, bass, keyboards, programming
Kevin Moore (Chroma Key, ex-Dream Theater) – vocals, keyboards, programming