I give it 5 stars only because of Gambale's guitar solos throughout the album. it is a great showcase of gambale's command of the instrument and his advanced knowledge of harmony and theory- his solo's are FULL of musical vocabulary and insightfulness. As a guitar player, this album is indispensable and a firm indicator that Gambale is arguably one of the greatest electric guitarists ever.
On the negative side, it sounds way too 80's to me although i know that was the time period it was recorded in...hence the album artwork. the songs go on too long as everybody takes a 5 minute solo. ( it's worthy to mention that i skip to the next song once Gambale's solo is over.) and the compositions don't have alot of emotional depth to them. there is not a great deal of dynamics or feeling from the band (although the band features top notch musicians all across the board, playing their roles with great authority). For me, this album is appealing only on an intellectual level. It makes me THINK "wow, i can't believe somebody can play like that.". but It doesn't do anything for me emotionally.
but 5 stars because gambale is just stupid, crazy, insanely good at the guitar.