Album Review: This Is War by Thirty Seconds to Mars
Satisfactory, Based on 4 Critics
Entertainment Weekly - 65 Based on rating B-
The surprise chart success of 2005’s A Beautiful Lie granted 30 Seconds to Mars frontman Jared Leto’s wish to be taken seriously as a rocker. And ”serious” is definitely the word to describe the aging heartthrob’s return. On the unashamedly epic This Is War, Leto doesn’t just shoot for the moon, he practically colonizes it, larding his proggy song suites with howling choruses, children’s choirs, and the sexy whisperings of Frenchwomen.
Review Summary: While the album is overblown and pretentious, the final product does turn out to be pretty good. It has been four years since 30 Seconds to Mars last release, and what exactly have the band been up to in that amount of time? Well apparently a thirty million dollar law suit with their label took place – the band apparently failed to fulfill contract agreements. While that was certainly an obstacle, they’ve also been quite busy at creating the “best album they can make” as well.
Emotional bloodletting never quite fit 30 Seconds to Mars -- perhaps it was residual prejudice from Jared Leto’s status as actor-turned-musician, but they always seemed to skim the surface, not even when they pushed roiling emotions to the forefront in the best traditions of grunge and screamo. When they were mining a post-grunge or nu metal or emo vein, this was a liability, but now that they’ve shifted their music with the shifting times, adopting a hybrid of the Killers’ retro new wave and My Chemical Romance’s gothic prog, they’ve wound up with a sound that suits their stance. Which isn’t to say that they’ve gotten any less ridiculous -- if anything, they’re more absurd, piling up Auto-Tuned vocals, gurgling synthesized loops, Kanye cameos, and a children's choir on almost every other song.
Such is 30 Seconds' huge success that many fans will know Jared Leto firstly as a singer and secondly as that junkie in Requiem for a Dream. This Is War is their third LP and may well be the one that jettisons the thespian associations for good. And, as if to prove that this isn't just That Band With Jared Leto, 30STM have sourced 2,000 different album cover designs from fans and a mates-rates choir to provide backing vocals.