The album incorporates a variety of musical genres, including classical and industrial rock, and the lyrics are often esoteric. For example, the tempo and instrumentation in "Descent into the Inferno" is infrequent: the song's first half is sparse and percussive; in the latter stages the song gathers momentum and features synthesizers. "The Overture from Pigdom Come", a composition resembling a classical piece of music, is juxtaposed with perhaps the most brutal track on the album, "Private War", a track that features one minute of various grinding noises.
There are various obscure references within the songs, some more lucid than others. "The Throne of Agony" has the lyrics "Alas, poor Yorick, I knew me well", a paraphrase of a line from Shakespeare's Hamlet (Hamlet: "Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio..."). The line "Turn on, tune in, drop out" in "DI-1-9026" refers to the Timothy Leary phrase. Jack and the Beanstalk is also referenced, with a variation of the chant "Fee, fie, foe, fum!" appearing in the final track.