Not far removed from say Fates Warning, they were darker and dropping more acid when you take in the atmosphere layered in their vision of progressive metal. The vocals which are at a higher croon have more soul and substance than many of the operatic yodelers that populate progressive metal at this time. "Out of Mind" goes from having a very tense yet flowing guitar riff to thrashing very smoothly. These guys can change a time signature at a whim. Yet this is song oriented and not just a bunch of wanking. "Tiny Streams" winds around and chug in a creepy yet angular and unique fashion. Nevermore's "Into the Mirror Black " album would come the closest to the sonic zip code these guys were dwelling in.
The title track is like a dark trippy power ballad. They were walking in a sonic wonder land that Tool had yet to delve in. When it kicks in the results are pretty powerful. Lyrically they also deserve props for the surreal tapestry of words woven together. Things we hear a great deal of from bands today but when this came out not so much. The guitar solos are also on point if you are into that sort of thing as they flow with the vibe of the song rather than senseless masturbation. Though the do delve into a bit of shred on "Little People" but even then, it does not feel like the rest of the song is a bookend for guitar solos. One thing about the metal yodels on this album, they are pretty soulful rather than just vocal gymnastics are sounding like Steve Perry. You get some lower range from him at times as well. They return to a more traditional balladic formula on "Hanging on a String". It is a well written and sung one for sure, though not every metal head's taste.
"Freakshow" is one of the album's more adventurous excursions into all things progressive. It still retains a metal edge, perhaps one that looks the most back to the 80s they had emerged from. There is a controlled chaos to the arrangement. "Butterfly" starts off very melodic and subdued before launching off into a cosmic adventure. Fans of dazzling fret work should take note of the song. Midway into the song it takes on jammy feel as they go into melody of sorts touching on "Purple Haze", " Cross Eyed Mary" and "Celebration". I will round this one up to a 10, as even the ballad sections are cool, but the more rocking moment compensate for them enough that if you are just here for the metal you will walk away with your head properly banged.