OSI: Fire Make Thunder
  • Production
  • Composition
  • Musicianship
  • Freshness
  • Use of sine lead

In the dark corner of a parking garage located at 600 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington D.C. — the Watergate Office Building.

2:00 am: The man I’m supposed to meet walks up to me. He’s wearing a dark duster, soft-soled shoes and a Redskins cap, just like he said he would — and he’s exactly on time.

2:01 am: He asks me if I can spare a smoke. I offer a pack, telling him that I only smoke Turkish, but instead of taking a cigarette he accepts my confirmed signal and reaches into his duster, pulling out a CD jewel case and handing it to me. He reminds me that this conversation never happened before turning and walking back into the shadows.

2:03 am: After taking a few dozen paces back to my car, I quickly unlock the driver’s side door, duck inside, place the key in the ignition and turn it until the car’s electronics are active. In the glow of the dash board lights, I can just make out the words on the spine of my prize — OSI – Fire Make Thunder. I open the case, pull out the compact disc, and place it gingerly in the car stereo.

2:05 am: As expected, I can make out cryptic news broadcasts over music that makes me feel like I’m in a Jason Bourne movie.

2:06 am: And, enter guitars and drums. Both are well played and well produced, but I’m struck immediately but how huge the guitar sounds. The distortion is perfect for the track, low and powerful but crystal clear.

2:09 am: More cryptic news broadcasts; it feels like some kind of conspiracy is just ready to be unearthed. The vocals on the first track can best be described as “mood setting” — it’s tough to picture any other vocal style doing a better job. This album has certainly set a tone early on.

2:10 am: Now I can hear some vocals with a sort of “radio” effect, and once again, they fit the track well.

2:15 am: Hold on to your seats — we have a style change. I’m hearing a wonderful acoustic riff, some vintage Kevin Moore keyboards right out of the book of “Space Dye Vest”, and a lot of talk of an Indian Curse or something like that. It’s nice, an overall sound that reminds me of Heavy Prog.

2:21 am: And… back to metal. But wait! Jim Matheos and Kevin Moore has just treated us to another nice section featuring interplay between Kevin’s keyboard stylings and some nice guitar effect work from Jim.

2:24 am: Cue Electronica. Full disclosure: I’m not a fan of the Electronica genre. Not that I have anything against minimalist artistic representation, but it’s just never caught my attention. That being said, OSI has done it right on this recording, with percussion effects that fit the composition nicely and really nice, clean guitar tone.

2:27 am: Fair warning, though: the start of Big Chief II delivers some straight-up techno. And I’m into it. What in the world is this recording doing to me?

2:37 am: According to the album’s dossier, I’ve reached the final track, which clocks in at a nice 9:54 in length. Once again, the Electronica influence converges nicely with the members’ progressive backgrounds to start the track.

2:39 am: Would any of you like a free lesson on how to properly use a sine lead in a song? Cue up Invisible Men to 1:48. This might inexplicably be my favorite part of the entire album.

2:44 am: The track has traveled seamlessly through several different sections, including a fun, energetic phrase around 6:30 that conjures up Porcupine Tree mixed with something heavier that I just can’t put my finger on.

2:46 am: As the final track fades out, I realize that I have uncovered no government conspiracy, no shady organization, and certainly no fodder for a groundbreaking and potentially lucrative news story. The reality of the situation is that some dude in a duster just gave me a great album, which I proceeded to listen to in my car in the Watergate complex at two in the morning.