Song of the Day: Stockholm by O.S.I. (lyrics: Mikael Åkerfeldt)

Blood is the third studio album by American progressive rock band OSI, released by InsideOut Music on April 27, 2009 in Europe and May 19, 2009 in North America.Guitarist Jim Matheos and keyboardist and vocalist Kevin Moore started work on the album in 2008, collaborating by email. Matheos would send Moore a song idea which Moore would edit and send back to Matheos. Mike Portnoy of Dream Theater, who performed drums on Office of Strategic Influence and Free, was replaced by Porcupine Tree drummer Gavin Harrison on Blood. Matheos played bass guitar on the album, having hired guest musicians to perform bass duties on the first two OSI albums. Mikael Åkerfeldt of Opeth and Tim Bowness of No-Man wrote lyrics and performed vocals on one track each.

Lyrics:
A boy looks like an old man
He huddles in the cold
And reaching for the darkness
Away from the half-lightA dark girl wanders on, and on
She bears a wound for youA car comes to a halt
Inside a man is waiting
He is calling his house
Eyes fixed at the gun

A bag is tossed to the ground
It’s content’s already used
The cold subsides and someone dies
There in the half-light

He is calling his house
Eyes fixed at the gun

A language she don’t know
Telling her about love
She lets him in
He takes his chances

……

Matheos asked Opeth vocalist and guitarist Mikael Åkerfeldt to write lyrics and perform vocals on one track, which would become “Stockholm”. Matheos and Moore sent him the track they wanted him to work on, and he sent back a rough mix of his vocals. “We were really happy with it,” Moore said. “We didn’t do any revisions or ask for any changes, like we were expecting to… It was a different approach than I would have taken, and that’s what was refreshing about it. That’s why we wanted to get somebody else to do some vocals on the album.”

Critical reception of Blood was generally positive. Writing for Blogcritics, Marty Dodge praised the album as “jaw droppingly impressive”, considering it to “[have] the potential to be up there in top albums of the year”. Andrew Reilly of MadeLoud lauded Blood as OSI’s best album, although considered other individual songs from the band’s catalog to be stronger than those on the album. Alex Henderson of Allmusic regarded Blood as “an album that falls short of earth-shattering but is still solid and worthwhile”.

Sea of Tranquility reviewer Batmaz praised the production of the album describing Phil Magnotti’s work as “phenomeal.”

Reilly described Blood as “fully mastering the techno-informed brand of progressive metal so many others have pursued to no avail… with Blood the two have finally found the stylistic fusion their first two discs hinted at”.Henderson described the sound of the album as “Pink Floyd and King Crimson by way of Radiohead, Nirvana, grunge, alt-metal and alt rock.”

Reilly lauded Moore’s lyrics, describing them as closer to his work in Dream Theater and Chroma Key than on the first two OSI albums. “Moore turns conventional phrases… into thinly-veiled warnings to some unknown subject,” Reilly commented. “OSI has long been Moore’s avenue for exploring the political as the personal, but here those two subjects fully cannibalize each other which, given this group’s past efforts and considerable talents, would not at all be an impossible intention or unforeseen consequence.” He praised Gavin Harrison’s drum performance, describing it as “phenomenal”. He considered “Stockholm” and “Blood” to be the highlights of the album. Dodge praised “Radiologue” as “stunning”.

OSI (Office of Strategic Influence)

Origin United States
Genres Progressive rock, progressive metal, industrial
Years active 2002–present
Labels InsideOut Music, Metal Blade Records
Associated acts Chroma Key, Dream Theater,Fates Warning
Website http://www.osiband.com
Members Jim Matheos
Kevin Moore
Gavin Harrison
Past members Mike Portnoy

image by ~MadLittleClown

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