FIRE MAKE THUNDER
We're definitely in a different musical age. Certainly, the digital age has produced a new way to record music, but I doubt a nationally signed act has ever done a full, completely fleshed out project quite the way OSI did. For those that don't know, OSI is a project featuring Jim Matheos of Fates Warning fame, and Kevin Moore who's best known for his time in Dream Theater. What's so different about this? Well, the guys have created a completely intricate, deep and fully fleshed out sound without ever spending a moment in the studio. That's right - FIRE MAKE THUNDER is 100% the product of the electronic age. I think if I was in this band, I would have called this EMAIL, since they undoubtedly spent hours emailing back and forth, skyping, and FTPing tracks back and forth.
FIRE MAKE THUNDER is a great record, to say the least. Given their prog metal backgrounds, you would expect more of a progressive undertone than you get here. Instead, this is a dark, moody and almost ambient release that capitalizes on the two guys being apart by featuring a purposeful, cold vibe throughout. Listening to songs like "Indian Curse", you are embraced with a chilling wind reserved for fans of bands like Anathema more than either of these guys previous work. Kevin Moore has a dulled down, spooky voice that looks to accentuate a feeling of drastic despair, and he capitalizes on this time and time again. Songs like "Guards" bring a chill up your spine while listening to Moore drone on and on.
Musically, it's surprising how all the pieces fit so well together. Matheos creates the majority of the music with his always killer guitar and bass playing. There's nothing here that really jumps out as amazing or noodling, but it all works well together. The thick bass line underneath the desperate guitar wailing on songs like "Enemy Prayer" just works. All the while, the programming of Moore and Matheos adds subtle nuances that keep you locked into each song. Porcupine Tree drummer checks in as well, playing drums throughout without ever overstepping past being a beat keeper.
PITRIFF RATING - 85/100 - There's something masterful in the cold, emotionless and yet compelling sounds captured on FIRE MAKES THUNDER. Being a fan of this type of sad, depressed metal, I can appreciate what they were going for, and can fully get why they went for this sound given how they recorded the record. It's definitely a cold-feeling record, but it works on a lot of levels.