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Office of Strategic Influence

(Inside Out)

With alumni from bands like Fates Warning, Dream Theater, Chroma Key, Porcupine Tree and Gordian Knot as members you know this is going to be something unique and probably quite special. All veterans of the prog-scene and countless collaborations between them, OSI was hopefully going to be a special event. This lot, including Portnoy and Jim Matheos deliver the goods. This is not an easy album to get into at all, much like Dream Theater’s last effort or Porcupine Tree releases, but that is not to say it’s a bad thing either. Early versions of the album (a gatefold mock passport) feature a bonus disc with a 3 additional tracks and a video documentary on the making of the CD, CD1 contains 10 tracks and the video for ‘Horseshoes and B-52s’. This very well could have been an exercise is braggadocio (there is quite a bit of noodling but no too much), instead it’s a rather interesting collection of bleeding edge prog tracks. There are no real stand-outs since its all very good. Be warned this is not for the prog neophyte, it takes some investment in time and patience. But after a few spins you find yourself being pulled in by this prog-supergroup. Nothing essential, but still a treat for the ears.

Rating: 4.5/5

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About Marty Dodge