Mick Mars
The Other Side of Mars


4.2
excellent

Review

by Simon K. STAFF
February 24th, 2024 | 14 replies


Release Date: 02/23/2024 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Batten down the hatches, the war has begun.

If asked what band I outwardly dislike, not so much for their music but for their avaricious business practices, poor work ethic, and overall lack of respect for anyone outside of themselves, it would be, hands down, Mötley Crüe. Ten years ago, I could have appreciated their legacy despite not gelling with their music – which I think is style over substance, punk-swag attitude over musicality – however, Mötley Crüe have really gone the distance since 2014 to ensure what legacy they have is submerged in petroleum, waiting for the right moment for someone to drop a match on it all. Indeed, despite my ambivalence towards their music, I’ve observed their business decisions ever since I saw them at their “The End” tour in 2015 – an ironclad, legally-bound farewell tour that ostensibly prevented the band from coming back and touring under the moniker. This came with merch sold at ridiculously exorbitant rates and an average-at-best performance from the band, with a forced attempt at tear-jerking the audience with “Home Sweet Home” at the end of the set. Of course, that “legally-binding” contract was quickly discarded with a loophole when Netflix’s hugely successful The Dirt came along in 2019 and captured a new generation of fans. What has followed since is a comeback wrought in pernicious events, most notably the band’s infamous performances which show Vince Neil in a less than favourable light, shall we say, and a legal feud between Mötley Crüe and its former guitarist, Mick Mars.

Life has a way of delivering poetic irony sometimes: who would have thought the person standing over Mötley Crüe’s petrol-soaked legacy with a box of matches would be one of its founding members. Mick has been giving it the big licks leading up to The Other Side of Mars’ release, the question is, does he follow through with talking a big game? Well, like Sixx did with his solo-debut Heroin Diaries Soundtrack way back in 2007, Mick delivers something with almost equal potency. In fact, The Other Side of Mars shares a lot of common ground with Sixx’s side-project, in that it's heavy, epic, and filled with purpose and emotion. The distinguishing feature here though is that this is a lot heavier than most probably envisaged. There are vestiges of his bluesy playing, but this album leans more on heavy alt-rock riffs and big choruses. The pummelling stomp on “Broken on the Inside”, the girthy “Killing Breed” with its swinging grooves and dominating slides, and the power-driving rocker “Ain’t Going Back” solidify its place as being Mick Mars’ heaviest project hitherto. Yet, what I like about this album outside of the heavier approach is the authentic 80s imprint he leaves on the record. Album closer “LA Noir” is not only an overt fu*k you to Mötley Crüe’s narrative Mick can’t play guitar anymore – a near 4-minute stonker that sees Mars ripping out a solo for the duration – the song is drenched in this sleazy 80s rock n’ roll flavour, and an awesome way to close the album. While the airy guitars and flourishes of piano make “Alone” sound like a ballad with a contemporary mindset entrenched in the zeitgeist of 80’s hair metal. Indeed, for songs like “Alone”, “Memories” and “Ready to Roll”, it’s hard not to smile at the way he’s integrated an era of music that is intrinsic to his artistic DNA, but if nothing else, it just adds a layer of freshness to the album’s mainstay alt-rock sound.

Music aside, Mick has picked a vocalist that best represents the riffs on here. Jacob Bunton’s voice feels like a smooth blend of Corey Taylor and Michael Starr; he’s able to dish out the higher registers on “Undone”, “Alone” and “Memories”, but has the earthy growl and grit needed to embolden Mick’s riffs on “Right Side of Wrong” “Ain’t Going Back Again” and “Killing Breed”. Like James Michael did for Sixx:A.M., Bunton delivers a barrel load of accessibility, hooks, power and emotion, interchanging and adapting as needed. In short, The Other Side of Mars is bloody excellent. From a compositional standpoint, the songwriting is pithy, varied and interesting enough to make you want to go back to it straight after you’ve listened to it. It’s not a mind-bending adventure that’s going to redefine the genre, and for all intents and purposes it was never meant to be that. The Other Side of Mars was clearly written to send a message to his old comrades: a hard-hitting, no BS alt-rock album with zero fat attached to it. With Mötley Crüe primed to release a new album with John 5, Mars firmly lays out his position and bats the ball back into their court while looming over their legacy with a match in hand. Depending on how the court case goes and the level of quality pertaining to Crüe’s new album, it may well determine how their remaining years are remembered. All of the drama aside, Mick has proven, at 72 years old no less, this rocker’s creativity hasn’t waned an iota.



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user ratings (15)
3.5
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
Voivod
Staff Reviewer
February 24th 2024


10763 Comments


Need to listen to this, unlike 99% of mainstream rock, the singles from this were surprisingly catchy.

Will read later.


Edit

Good review, virtual pos.

Muzz79
February 24th 2024


3094 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Very interested too. The guy’s a legend

goodsitebaduserbase
February 25th 2024


253 Comments


been waiting for this a long time, mick is underrated

Lopan
February 26th 2024


104 Comments


Meat and potatoes 90's rock album.

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
February 26th 2024


18338 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

Thanks voivod!



@lopan



Very competently made meat and taty 90s rock

Lopan
February 26th 2024


104 Comments


Yes indeed but nothing close to albums like Ozzmosis for example. This is just decent, zero soul.

mkmusic1995
Contributing Reviewer
February 26th 2024


1816 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Pretty solid record from one of the most underrated guitar players. I'm not gonna pretend that this is mind-blowing by any stretch of the imagination but it's much more competent than anything Crue has done in many decades.

mkmusic1995
Contributing Reviewer
February 26th 2024


1816 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Also vocalist reminds me of Matt from A7X which is kind of interesting

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
February 26th 2024


18338 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

Agreed. Super solid and fun alt rock. Good to see mick showing his artistic merits outside of crue. Stuff on this is catchy af

Spec
February 26th 2024


39654 Comments


His guitar playing was the only thing I liked about Motley Crue. Checking.

tinathefatlard
February 27th 2024


2053 Comments


For better or worse, a good review should compel you to check out the album it’s written about. Top notch descriptions here. I’m so glad this only has 10 tracks. Most legends let their ego convince them that people want 15-20 tracks of the same song. Excellent choice and was pleasantly surprised at how much this shreds.

impoppy
February 27th 2024


2250 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

It's not the most unique thing I've ever heard, but it's far better than I would have ever expected.

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
February 27th 2024


18338 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

Thanks tina, appreciated.



Yeah, it was a very wise move keeping it lean, because it definitely works in its favour

DadKungFu
Staff Reviewer
February 29th 2024


4970 Comments


Read Jacob Bunton as Jacob Bannon for just long enough to frantically open a new tab



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