Thirty Seconds to Mars
30 Seconds to Mars


2.5
average

Review

by Davey Boy STAFF
May 31st, 2008 | 375 replies | 12,509 views


Release Date: 2002 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Passable over-produced & overlong album has a couple of impressive tracks, but is too repetitious both musically & lyrically to do anything more than show potential.

I would love to go through this entire review without mentioning the obvious, but it’s simply too large a fact to ignore. Ladies and gentlemen, if you were not aware, 30 Seconds To Mars is fronted by a rather well-known actor; Jared Leto. If you don’t know him by name, I’m sure most would have at least seen him as he has acted in such films as Fight Club, Switchback, Panic Room & Requiem for a Dream. As soon as it becomes known that the lead singer of a band is an actor, the groans of disapproval are almost instantaneous and unanimous… Russell Crowe anyone!?!?!?

But hold the phone (Russell Crowe pun fully intended), Leto is actually a half decent singer. His range doesn’t exactly extend to all points of the compass, but he gets the best out of his talent and rarely attempts to go where his voice cannot take him. Of course, I am specifically talking about on record here as the level of production is not hidden and there is clearly some degree of technical wizardry involved.

First single and opener ‘Capricorn (A Brand New Name)’ is a good example of the points I have already raised regarding Leto. Effectively smooth vocals highlight this track which is probably the best on the album. He clearly has charisma, even through the speakers, and it’s difficult not to be initially drawn into the songs themselves. Musically, the opener also lays down what to expect, as the band’s music is clearly guitar-driven with simple chords and riffs being occasionally effective, but too cleanly produced to leave a lasting quality mark. Elsewhere, synths are clearly heard to add something different to the formula, while drums are taken up a notch to give a semi-epic feel to them.

As tracks 2 through 4 follow, you begin to see that the songs are all variations on the same theme. Second single ‘Edge of the Earth’, ‘Fallen’ and ‘Oblivion’ all employ synths to some extent, while the guitar and drum sounds are siblings to the opener. The over-production and synth use is admittedly rather gimmicky, but is impressive and effective at the end of the day. This is especially since the slight variations work more often than not in these songs; The epic drum beginning of ‘Fallen’ and especially the unplugged sounding guitar transforming into a chainsaw-like effect in the lead up to the chorus of ‘Oblivion’.

If I was to be overly harsh, the album is pretty much over and done with following the first 4 tracks. The little which is done differently in the remaining 7 tracks is simply ineffective. By the time track 5 ‘Buddha for Mary’ opens with robotic voices, it is clearly a sign of a downhill slope that disappointingly does eventuate. This near 6 minute track not only shows the band struggling with any significant change of pace, but also spotlights another of the band’s weaknesses; Their lyrics. They are corny here whilst being way too similar and repetitive elsewhere. There is a space theme to it all and if you drink a shot of your favorite spirit any time a planet, the sun or the universe is mentioned, you would have undoubtedly collapsed come the end of the album.

Not only do the lyrics become repetitive, but so does the music. In fact, it is all summed up well by the penultimate track ’93 Million Miles’. It actually has a good chorus and is a bit of a grower, but by simply rehashing most of what has come before it, it comes off as nothing better than an average album track. There is a chainsaw guitar effect similar to ‘Oblivion’, there is the epic-sounding drums of ‘Fallen’, the same old lyrics and to make matters worse, the song drags out to over 5 minutes in length.

In fact, that is another problem with the final 7 tracks on this album as over-length plagues it. ‘Echelon’ is a perfect example of a pretty good song that is worse off because it stretches out to nearly 6 minutes. Track 7 ‘Welcome to the Universe’ is almost refreshing purely for its sub 3 minute length!

Reading over the review, it comes off as overly negative. But this is one of those efforts which is definitely still passable despite the album’s clear weaknesses. Individual songs aren’t necessarily awful in any way, while a couple of them are actually very impressive. It is just that as a single body of work, there is simply too much repetition spread over the (overlong) 53 minute duration. More variety and the exclusion of a song or two would have improved the album markedly. The potential is there for 30 Seconds To Mars, but it definitely doesn’t all come together here on this self-titled debut.

Recommended Tracks: Capricorn (A Brand New Name), Oblivion & Edge of the Earth.



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user ratings (700)
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.”...

Steven McMahan (3.5)
A overlooked little gem significantly better than the follow-up....


Comments:Add a Comment 
AtavanHalen
May 31st 2008



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Still could never understand how you could rank this below Beautiful Lie, Dave! Kerrazy.
Welcome back to the site, anyways, good to see you getting your reviews back up. Hit the forums if you wanna restore your comments.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
May 31st 2008



20856 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Hey there fellow Aussie. I hope all has been well.
Just personal opinion on the two 30 Seconds To Mars albums. I think I am indeed in the minority though.
Yep, I am slowly reposting all my reviews. 23 was a lot to lose and it feels like it is taking an eternity just to get back to where I was. I will hit the forums once I am back to that stage.

AtavanHalen
May 31st 2008



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Yeah, been a'ight. I lost a chunk of reviews as well, thank fuck I backed shit up. Done two new reviews, as well, on Maiden and Hanson, lulz. Check 'em out when you've got the time.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
May 31st 2008



20856 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Maiden & Hanson!!! Do not let anybody ever tell you that you do not review the broad end of all spectrums, as they are as diametrically opposed as any 2 bands can be!!!

AtavanHalen
May 31st 2008



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Are you kidding? They're both metal as FUCK

jason_f90
May 31st 2008



203 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I like Echelon. Epic Track. Nice review too. I'll vote.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
May 31st 2008



20856 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Thanks for the positive feedback Jason.

Gyromania
April 13th 2009



15461 Comments


Echelon is the first song I ever heard from this band. I still think it's their best. Great review.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
April 13th 2009



20856 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I look back at this review & have real mixed feelings. The rating seems too low since I actually enjoy listening to this album every now & then. But I cannot really dis-prove any of the number of weaknesses that I mention in the review. I dunno, maybe a 3 is a better rating.

Gyromania
April 13th 2009



15461 Comments


As generic as it is, I think they do a good job of it. There are just some really enjoyable tracks on here.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
April 13th 2009



20856 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I hate the word "generic" in terms of music. I could maybe consider someone like Nickelback or a by-the-numbers female pop singer as generic. I personally think this album is NOT generic with its use of spacey synths in between the guitar-driven sound (albeit a heavily produced sound).

But yeah, there are definitely some enjoyable tracks on here, hence my confirming that I still to this day give this album a listen every now & then.

JAV
April 13th 2009



1923 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

It's good but it really doesn't have lasting appeal to me.

Gyromania
April 13th 2009



15461 Comments


Should probably up your rating. Nickelback is insanely generic and although 30 Seconds to Mars have the cool synth's, i still see it as generic, especially their newer release. I still enjoy em though.

Captain North
April 13th 2009



6784 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This album blows their new one out of the water. And...I actually don't mind the lyrics, they're not that atrocious or generic when it comes to hard rock. Pretty inventive for hard rock actually. And Echelon is such a great song.

Gyromania
April 13th 2009



15461 Comments


Echelon is amazing. I do like this more than their newest release, but not by a lot.

Fugue
April 13th 2009



7352 Comments


I've heard Capricorn but that's about it. A Beautiful Lie is a good album though, so if this is anywhere near as good as that then it is probably worth a listen.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
April 13th 2009



20856 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Well, I'm in the minority and think that 'A Beautiful Lie' is actually better than this. The self-titled is definitely more imaginative & (for want of a better word) original than 'A Beautiful Lie', but have a read of my review for all of its weaknesses.

Like Captain North says, the lyrics aren't necessarily bad here, it's just that the themes are so repetitive. If I can quote myself from this review: "There is a space theme to it all and if you drink a shot of your favorite spirit any time a planet, the sun or the universe is mentioned, you would have undoubtedly collapsed come the end of the album."

I dare anyone who rates this album highly to prove me wrong on that... And no, I won't be providing the spirits as I'd be up for a fortune! LOL!

Fugue
April 13th 2009



7352 Comments


Yeah I have a tendancy of commenting your reviews before I read them Davey. Needless to say solid stuff, and I think I will look into this at some point.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
April 13th 2009



20856 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Haha Ross, are you saying that the comments to my reviews are better than the reviews themselves? ;-)

Seriously, if you liked 'A Beautiful Lie', you will probably like this. And if you are in the majority, you will like this even more.

Fugue
April 13th 2009



7352 Comments


Lol nahh, its just I know your reviews are always to such a consistently good standard that I just assume it'll be good.

Also, being on the first page of a DaveyBoy reviw this seems like a great place to whore my Boy Kill Boy review.This Message Edited On 04.13.09



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