For instance, note the album cover.
The track 'Another Prophet Song' has the following lyrics, which serve covertly to reference or characterise it:
Opposite four corners lie,
Rise to kiss to meet the sky,
In images the secrets hide;
How could they have known them?
Now Jupiter deceives the stars,
To dance in masquerade with mars,
While sabbath moon casts shadows far
To wake a final dawn.
The heretics that gazed the sky
Left us not a reason why,
Nor did they try.
[...]The general imagery here mirrors the cover, with the 'masquerade' or dance as well as the sun and dying creatures, and draws clearly on the image of 'four corners.' It states that 'in images the secrets hide.' Hence, even the cover image is drawn into a part of the album or its atmosphere, albeit subtly. The listener might notice a change in their reception of the album cover, but they aren't given an indication of why - for one thing, it's been made a central source of the imagery of a song, if indirectly. Hence, not only the music but also the album generally is made a coherent experience, but without much inclination towards saying so.
The flames of sorrow blazing on,
To light the sun of Babylon
While bloody moon lies dying on her own sword
Child of tomorrow cries
Unsung hero lays and dies.
The name 'Another Prophet Song' is slightly hidden and if anything distracts focus from this - both by the word 'prophet' conjuring grandiose expectations, and 'another' perhaps allowing the song to blend quite easily in with the rest of the album. On a more amusing note, the phrase 'say goodbye' is often highlighted and does turn out to be 'a social grace.' Apart from this, it is often quite eerie in the context of the songs.
The cover itself has a slightly eerie resemblance to the flag of the United States of America. In a nice touch, the band's logo performs a similar movement to the 'astral' background, hence further tying the music and album together.
There are other nice touches: on '...And the Devil Cried,' it ends on a slightly dark note as the singer 'cries' out the title. The word 'cried' is elongated and at times wailed out, which can be slightly eerie given that it is the 'devil' who is supposed to be crying. They have earlier acted out such a part, but seem to make that claim more covertly there. One of the 'bonus tracks' added later is 'Spiral Tower,' about people who have constructed something and then regret it as it spirals out of control, while the other involves the curious case of a dying sparrow at night. This helps make the funerary sound of 'Sleeping Dogs' even more sinister. At times, that song might resemble the Lavender Town music that famously inspired tales of mass suicide. However, the title track, '...And The Devil Cried,' can serve to almost over-familiarise the cover's 'devil' figure there conjured, which might limit its impact. At the same time, it does hide that theme somewhat.
On their next album, they further stress their atmospheric element by starting with a series of slightly mysterious sounds and using a transition from this to establish a more 'conventional' sound. Although this might seem normal, it is nonetheless at base something which is eerie. This furthers the theme of the devil's covert offers in the previous album, or offers which seem normal but lead somewhere strange.
The stress on the album cover also helps the effect of the eerie cover of 'Mosquito':
Along with this troubling album cover, an album involving several references to things like 'the scream of the morning,' as well as autopsy-like samples of voices, can prove highly disturbing - and not only to priests. The track title 'All the Voices' is an effective evocation of the sound of the 'mosquitoes' that the album cover mentions. Having that album hanging around nearby could be troubling.
That album also seems to contain a slight reference to things like the Vietnam War and napalm, with, 'when the sun shines let your bullets fly like rain / let 'em fly, let 'em fly like rain,' a slightly elegant connecting of mosquitoes and bullets. This was later followed up with, 'Words fly like missiles, / They're flying on now,' etc., on the song 'Need' from the 'Bleeding' album. That album by itself is quite well named as a follow-up to 'Mosquito.'
In any case, Psychotic Waltz hence stand out not only for their album's content, but also for their ability to have the album as a whole cohere and have a unified atmosphere. Even 'Mosquito' has lines notably eerie in the context of the album cover, "Flashes of the devil's eye / Crying at the shadow of the sun / Faceless, and godless / Dancing through the mazes of the sky." While lyrically we have noted their many similarities to Fates Warning, their albums generally tend to revolve around a certain aesthetic more than Fates Warning's more eclectic albums. Fates Warning did eventually attempt a highly coherent album, however, and even earlier on occasionally attempted slightly eerie things. Their band's name meant that the dark track titles and themes of 'The Spectre Within' could become more sinister and portentous in tone - talking of epitaphs and apparitions in a way which might seem to warn the listener of things to come. John Arch's delivery also recalls the Delphic mode of prophecy where the speaker would channel foreign voices and spirits. This adds further to such an atmosphere, although again Fates Warning often tend to stray from this theme or their tracks can sometimes have an uncertainty to them. Lines like, 'I'm a misconception never had affection / I don't even know my name / Just as well who would know locked in the closet all day,' from John Arch are still a nice touch, with the lines surrounding their statement about this 'gypsy's' name seeming to resemble their own name. The mention of the 'closet' which they like because people 'leave them alone' is also reminiscent of Criimson Glory's 'Lost Reflection.' If perhaps slightly more convincing than Crimson Glory's attempt at a heavy metal ballad centering around the words, 'Life in the attic.' Nonetheless, Fates Warning's 'A Pleasant Shade of Gray' also has a cover with a bunch of activities with an uncertain chronology, just as the song itself takes the form of a continual progress of a person through the period of a night. Such things allow the music to become atmospheric in a way which goes beyond the generic features of things like 'atmospheric metal,' and is more organically and closely integrated into the album.