Another great album of flawlessly performed, shimmeringly produced melodic metal. Although I find this took lots of listens to get into properly, and I still feel I haven't got into this as much as it deserves. It's long and sprawling, and maybe lacks the coherence of its predecessor "Images and Words".
Most of the individual songs on it hold up well on their own, starting with the jaunty clockwork theme of "6.00". "Caught in a Web" and "Innocence Faded" are less interesting standard rock, but the heavy, multilayered instrumental "Erotomania" brings the excitement back. The album plunges into darker and heavier territory with "The Mirror" and "Lie". "Lifting Shadows off a Dream" has a beautiful melody, and even a gothic feel, with keyboards that wouldn't sound out of place on The Cure's "Disintegration". "Space Dye Vest", written by keyboard player Kevin Moore, has a powerful dynamic buildup - on the surface its unison piano theme might seem repetitive, but it's all that the track needs.
The two extended tracks "Voices" and "Scarred" don't really have enough interesting ideas to fill up their ten minutes. James La Brie's singing does sometimes go over the top, that is, yell so high that all the syllables sound the same! But the band playing is as strong and tight as ever.
October 30, 2003