Thirty Seconds to Mars
30 Seconds to Mars


3.5
great

Review

by Steven McMahan USER (49 Reviews)
May 18th, 2008 | 38 replies


Release Date: 2002 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A overlooked little gem significantly better than the follow-up.

Escape. Leaving behind the tedious and dull drum of the everyday, 9-5 routine and forgetting about the everyday to delight in either physical or mental diversion. Said escape is essential for a healthy mind, and as a relief of stress. There are several ways to obtain this, whether it be drugs, entertainment, or music.

30 Seconds to Mars got their name from part of an essay by a former Harvard professor about the exponential growth of technology, but if you didn’t know this, you might guess it was a description of the music. Following that assumption would be the one that they are somewhat of a gimmick band, aimed at sounding futuristic and making quite euphoric music.

In 2002, Jared Leto (star of Requiem For a Dream and Alexander, among other films) formed 30 Seconds to Mars with his brother Shannon. After the idea quickly gained momentum, Matt Wachter joined as the bassist and keyboard player. Then after various guitarists came and went, Tomo Miličević finally joined and stayed as a permanent member.

Leto and company’s debut is a very solid rock album, with very strong electronic influences. None of the members display really noteworthy instrumental talent in these 50 minutes, but 30 Seconds to Mars is an excellent example of how great music comes through the sum of its parts. The overall effect of each song is usually slightly euphoric, and gives a fairly drifting, spacey feeling to the listener – aided perfectly by Leto’s abstract, metaphorical lyrics. Each of the twelve tracks varies in both heaviness and overall sound, coming somewhere between modern Muse, old Rammstein, and the Deftones track “Hole in the Earth”.

Quite like Rammstein, much of the album here rides on the crunchy, meaty guitar parts. They are often fairly simple, focused on backing Leto’s soaring vocals, or played with the intention of electronics backing them. There are several clean and acoustic parts sprinkled throughout as well, creating an organic contradiction to the electronic elements. The rhythm section is quite similar, doing its job but never really impressing the listener or throwing you off balance. A sad fact, considering the lesser-known Leto brother could probably put the rest of his band to shame. All this is either backed or aided by the electronics. Quite audible synths often switch from leading a guitar rhythm or adding to the overall texture, usually doing a great job. Some of the tracks add a simple techno beat, most notably “Capricorn (A Brand New Name)”, where the verse consists of just a beat, synth and Jared’s vocals.

Jared pulls the usual frontman load of vocals and lyrics, doing quite well in both areas. Unlike A Beautiful Lie, he hardly ever screams or yells, instead just singing catchy hooks in an excellent voice. Each specific lyric line is usually plain by itself, but the songs as a whole require thought and analysis. This is best exemplified by Buddha For Mary:

Mary was an acrobat
But still she couldn’t seem to breathe
Mary was becoming everything she didn’t want to be
Mary would hallucinate
And see the sky upon the wall
Mary was the type of girl
She always liked to fly


The album’s downsides are somewhat typical of any album. Most of the tracks feature nothing especially obvious to distinguish them from each other, and the album might feel fairly repetitive upon first listen. Although I’m quite sure he doesn’t need it, Leto’s voice does sound a tiny bit Pro Tool-ed up – and that’s excluding the parts where it’s an obvious studio effect. Perhaps the biggest problem is “Year Zero”, a song that doesn’t know when to end. Its lyrics and music that would make a proper 3-minute song are stretched out 2 minutes longer, and the song ends with "We'll never fade away" being repeated into painful absurdity.

Despite its problems, 30 Seconds to Mars is a quite overlooked tiny gem of an album. It molds electronic synths and alternative rock to create a somewhat unique sound that's too industrial for rock and too rock to be industrial. Try and forget about the beautiful lie you’ve been sold – this is something quite different.



Recommended tracks:
Capricorn (A Brand New Name)
Edge of the Earth
Oblivion
Welcome to the Universe
The Mission




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user ratings (721)
Chart.
3.3
great
other reviews of this album
Nick Mongiardo CONTRIBUTOR (4.5)
It took a moment before I lost myself in here......

VigorousDuck13 (3)
It's not often a band has a perfect debut. While "30 seconds to mars" has its short comings the albu...

pizzamachine (4)
“Jared Leto is not lost in space - he lives in it.”...

Davey Boy STAFF (2.5)
Passable over-produced & overlong album has a couple of impressive tracks, but is too repetitious bo...


Comments:Add a Comment 
ninjuice
May 18th 2008


6760 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

One or two more reviews to resubmit, and my internet's not quite working correctly. Forgive me.

kintups
April 24th 2009


491 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Everywhere I go I find your reviews! Once again I agree completely.

ScytheDamon666
August 11th 2009


7 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review and i agree that their music does require thought to get a meaning from Jarred's lyrics

CushMG15
December 1st 2009


1803 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Oblivion.

ninjuice
December 1st 2009


6760 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

...is good?

Kronzo
December 7th 2009


994 Comments


I might consider getting this. Good review.

AlexTM510
March 24th 2010


1408 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

End of the beginning is their best song musically in my book....the way it surges and the drums fill in...pretty awe inspiring.

oh yea kinda underated on this site...if the lead vocalist wasn't Jared Leto people would be eating this up

AtavanHalen
March 24th 2010


17927 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Fuck yeah life

Dunpeal
July 13th 2010


3801 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5



i remember finding this at Target and being like WTF is this and being pleasantly surprised when i went home and put into my CD player.

downloaded their latest and haven't even got to it yet :/

Digging: Aspherium - The Veil of Serenity

rodrigo90
July 25th 2010


210 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

best album of 30stm, jared try to demonstrate the humanity and the influence that the existencialism has in this century, deeper lyrics and great structures in the songs. best track personally: fallen

Nomos
August 20th 2011


865 Comments


So little comments? This is their best album bar far, and certainly in my top 10. It's really depressing to see how they changed to much for the second, then third, album. Constant decline in quality, and wasted potential.

CrimsonLies
August 28th 2011


2045 Comments


Best album from then imo.

TheVoiceAndTheSnake
October 25th 2011


3663 Comments


This really isn't that bad tbh

rodrigo90
January 4th 2012


210 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

comparing to ABL and TIW THIS ALBUM IS THEIR MASTERPIECE

Apostrophee
March 25th 2012


49 Comments


This album is f*cking good. They really should have kept this style.

IndigoXI
March 29th 2012


3 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The more I listen to this album, the better I like it...at this point, it might just be love. Most rock cds (even those that I like) aren't what I would describe as "epic", but it gets so intense here that it could serve as a soundtrack to a movie - granted, an alternative alien-action B-movie, but still a movie nonetheless. I really wish they'd kept more of this style in "A Beautiful Lie"!

nickg42084
September 21st 2012


88 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is their best cd it's the most progressive and different. I think they regressed with their next two albums, but they ABL is very good too. Mixed feelings on newer cd.

johnnydeking29
September 21st 2012


9561 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Their best by miles

Digging: Blueneck - King Nine

fromtheinside
January 19th 2013


19166 Comments


hey let's talk about this, we haven't talked about this in a while

Digging: Techno Animal - The Brotherhood of the Bomb

fromtheinside
January 19th 2013


19166 Comments


fallen is pretty dope



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