Were it not for the fact that I received these two promo CDís ("Genesis Effect" and "7") in the mail, the band OSV would have gone completely unnoticed. As a matter of fact it's almost as if the group has intentionally gone underground, off the grid, and traveling incognito because there is so little info on the internet that might direct you to the band. Even 'Progarchives', my 'go to' source for information collected on nearly every band (past and present) working in the prog/rock genre and it's many sub-categories has no listing for them. And what little information I could gleam directed me to CD baby, which I listed as the group's contact point. And it's there where you can purchase any one of their seven CD.
That's right ... seven!
Since 2007 OSV has recorded seven instrumental progressive metal albums which include: "Mission One" (2007), "Second Thoughts" (2009), "Chapter Three" (2010), "4 Warned" (2011), "Evening Sky" (2012), "Genesis Effect", and "7" (2014).
And it's about time headbangers and metal heads take notice of this underrated Alabama band. These guys don't need talent - there they excel ... what they need is someone well versed in marketing and promotion to push them to the forefront of prog metal where they belong.
My first question upon receiving the CD was in their name ... was it an abbreviation of the musicians in the band, a cryptic anagram, or initials for something else like the band O.S.I. (Office Of Strategic Influence)?
Well as for the name of band members there was an 'O' (Gary Oppert) and a 'S' (Steve Sexton), but no 'V' on either CD, so I moved on to other possibilities. My quest for the possible meaning of OSV lead me to: OSV-98 (a Russian anti-material rifle), Old Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts, Offshore support vessel, Original Sound Version (a title used for old video games and movie soundtracks), Operating System Vendor (a vendor of operating systems such as Microsoft and Apple), Our Sunday Visitor (a Catholic newspaper), Opel Special Vehicles (a subsidiary of the car manufacture Opel), and OSv (an operating system for virtual machines OSV-96).
Since none of that made any sense to me I refocused my attention on the band members and went all the way back to their debut album "Mission One", and it's there where I discovered the members on the first album included Gary Oppert (drums), Steve Sexton (bass) and the missing 'V' proved to be Brandon Vaughn (keyboards). Apparently Vaughn departed sometime after the third album, replaced by Mathieu Fiset on the album "Four Warned"; leaving only Oppert and Sexton to carry on - opting to keep the same name even though they were short a 'V'.
Another thing which became apparent when digging back in the band's history is that OSV is more of a studio project than a band, since the core members (Oppert and Sexton) embellish each recording with an array guest guitarist. Over the course of their seven albums the guest guitarists have included: Marcel Coenen (who has appeared on nearly all the albums), Jonas Tamas, Agah Bahari, Boerge Olzen, Mathias Holm, Paco Hernandez, Achilleas Diamantis, Gianiuca Ferro, and Phi Yaan-Zek.
But by the time the band was recording the two albums sent for review "Genesis Effect" and "7", Marcel Coenen had established himself as the group's main guitarist - and is listed as the sole guitarist on "Genesis Effect", while on the album '7' guest guitarist Jonas Tamas appears on the single track "Elevation".
These two albums from OSV should appeal to aficionados of prog/metal artists like Dream Theater, Planet X, Steve Via, Visual Cliff, Symphony X, Steve Morse, Joe Satriani, Opeth, Vinnie Moore, and Yngwie Malmsteen. As well as instrumental progressive metal artists like Derek Sherinian, Pelican, Liquid Tension Experiment, Sepia Dreamer, Spastic Ink, Behold The Arctopus, and two artists previously reviewed here at ProgNaut Adrian Galysh ("Tone Poet") and Alessandro Bertoni ("Keystone").
The members of OSV are not only extraordinary musicians but accomplished tune-smiths, which is evident in their slick and sophisticated compositions, all skillfully arranged as bona fide songs and not just simple chord progressions augmented by laser light speed finger exercises. A fatal flaw which plagues a great many instrumental prog/metal bands.
But don't get me wrong, that doesn't mean the members don't delight in showcasing their talents with attention grabbing virtuoso performances as guitarist Marcel Coenen and keyboardist Mathieu Fiset trade off supersonic arpeggios. And bringing it all together is the rhythm section of Oppert and Sexton who, over the course of the years, have formed a near symbiotic relationship as the driving force behind the band.
The line-up for the 2013 release "Genesis Effect" includes Sergey Boykov (keyboards) who has been with the band since "Evening Sky", Marcel Coenen (guitar), Gary Oppert (drums) and Steve Sexton (bass). While the 2014 release "7" sees the return of keyboardist Mathieu Fiset, and additional guitarist Jonas Tamas as well as Oppert, Sexton, and Coenen.
Both albums are indispensable for fans of instrumental progressive metal.
Reviewed by Joseph Shingler on May 20th, 2014