Review Summary: Let the Echelon riots begin!
Well, here we go again with another case of the overblown ego. As a fan of 30STM's older works and to an extent This Is War, this is quite a disappointing waste of talent. Gone are the somewhat good lyrics of TIW and the poetic nonsense of their self-titled masterpiece. Instead we are given something almost completely devoid of any type musical complexity. It's quite a shame because this is a talented group of people who at once point had the ability to exhilarate and create something thought-provoking. After the first listen of LLF+D the listener is left craving something much more, but not in the sense of actually wanting more if you know what I mean. This is an album that could have been something, but it never ends up that way.
Everyone knows the best known member of this band is the always easy on the eyes Jared Leto. He has always been an awesome singer with a versatile range and he has always impressed me. Sadly, his voice changed drastically and not in a positive way. He has always had A Chino Moreno-like voice, but he naturally sounded like Chino without trying. On LLF+D it is as if he is actually trying to forcefully duplicate him whether Leto knows it or not. It is extremely obvious that everything he does with his voice he can not do with grace and he often strains to hit a note like in "Conquistador." Come on Jared, we know you are capable of much more.
As for the rest of the band, everything is performed well, but that is the best comment I could really think of. The music lacks the substance or punch that made their past albums something worth while. Shannon has always been a decent drummer, but he is not really given much to do this time around. Gone are the consistent beats of Kings and Queens and the unique rhythms of Welcome to the Universe and Battle of One. He is left in the dust while his brother hogs the spotlight that he does not deserve. That aside, the band as a whole should give up the incredibly ostentatious attitude that they have developed over time.
The overall sound of the band is pretty much the same as This Is war. However, The Summit is a lot less prominent than on TIW and it is limited to 20-25 people which is extremely welcome. With that said, there are a lot more electronics and strings and the album, but none of them are used to their full advantage and nothing really works. "Up In The Air" has a bit of a sold out nature that sounds like anything you would hear on the radio and "Conquistador" is your standard rock sound with incredibly corny lyrics that run throughout the record. From the strange out of place intro to the overwhelming cinematic string last couple minutes, only one song really shows a glimmer of hope and that song is "City of Angels." The lyrics are actually somewhat decent and the music is actually engaging for once. However, this is not a thread on the album by any means. Most of the music is overblown and the lyrics are inane for the most part. "The Race" is also reminiscent of Search and Destroy off of TIW which is somewhat of a decent thing, but it's nothing I would listen to again.
Guys, what happened? Don't get me wrong, I absolutely adore when a band changes a lot over time and it usually shows a lot of maturity. This clearly did not work for 30STM. If you are a fan of TIW, you may actually like this one, but don't go into LLF+D expecting something as great as Kings and Queens. It is usually boring when a band releases a rehash of another record, but I wouldn't mind if they went back to Space Rock. That's what they are best at anyway. This is an overall difficult pill to shallow considering to talent at hand and how great they once were. Four years wasn't worth the wait for this mediocre record.