Dream Theater's first official release gave an indication that this was a talented band that combined the styles of Yes, Rush, and Queensrÿche. The latter seemed to be too big of an influence at this stage of their career. Vocalist Charlie Dominici's voice is not powerful enough to carry out the band's otherwise convincing intensity, and his attempt to sound like Queensrÿche's Geoff Tate was unsuccessful. The music here is not as heavy as it would become in the '90s but could still be classified as progressive metal. Guitarist John Petrucci and drummer Mike Portnoy established themselves as competent musicians, but their individual styles were not yet refined. The band's originality does shine through on "Light Fuse and Get Away," "The Ones Who Help to Set the Sun," and "Only a Matter of Time." The odd-meter measures and numerous time changes gave the group a complexity that hadn't been experienced for an entire decade in the rock genre. "YTSE Jam" was essentially their answer to Rush's "YYZ" and became a staple in the band's live set. The session was marred mostly by subpar singing, too many metal clichés, and poor production. There is, however, enough interesting playing to make it a worthwhile listen for fans of this genre, and is certainly essential for Dream Theater fans.
AllMusic Review by Robert Taylor