30 Seconds to Mars at it again but this time it means war

Article By: Ashley Maceli

30 Seconds to Mars has returned with their third album, This Is War (Virgin Records/EMI, 2009), which was released this past Tuesday. 

Jared Leto, frontman of the band, is better known for his roles in such movies as American Psycho, Requiem For A Dream and, of course, Chapter 27 where Leto dedicated his body to play Mark David Chapman, the crazed man who murdered John Lennon 29 years ago outside of the Dakota Hotel in New York City. It is clear that Leto has a knack for acting, which transcends into his music career as well. He has a quality voice that is made for pure screaming. The latest album portrays just how crisp his voice is, however, some of the music is not good enough to back it up. 

When first listening to This Is War, the album may seem rather bland compared to their past two albums—at least in the beginning. 30 Seconds to Mars has always been known for completely different and epic songs, but even the single “Kings And Queens” is nothing too special, in fact, it just kind of drags on. The album truly starts when the title track, “This Is War,” begins. The song feels the same as previously released songs “From Yesterday” and “The Kill,” featured on their second album, A Beautiful Lie (Virgin Records, 2005), arguably their best album to date. “This Is War” is over five minutes of triumph and power that transitions into the next track, “100 Suns,” which slows the album’s pace, while an acoustic song comes into play—a beautiful choice after “This Is War”. 

Another great song, “Closer to the Edge,” continues the line of great songs with its catchy beats. An even better song, “Von Populi” starts off strong, featuring drums and claps, giving the message of community and strength. The song “Hurricane,” featuring Kayne West, sounds similar to “Kings And Queens,” but isn’t as great as one would expect it to be. “Stranger in a Strange Land” seems to continue on the same feel of the album, yet with a little bit more space-age feel. This makes it a completely random and odd addition that seems like 30 Seconds to Mars fails at making a different song for the album. Finally, the album ends with “L490,” a completely instrumental piece that brings a sense of calmness and closure to the album. 

A continuous background chorus of what sounds like kids with gorgeously raspy voices is one of the best features of the album that really pulls heartstrings. These voices compliment Leto’s voice as well as the album’s message and the overall feel of strength and persistence. The background chorus throughout the album is just hundreds of 30 Seconds to Mars fans helping out with the sound, a fact that makes it more personable to the fans. This also brings a more intimate relationship between the band and the fans, especially for someone listening to the songs. 

Even though it’s maybe a little different from their older stuff, This Is War is still a pretty good album. While it may have some weaker songs, the overall feel of the album is what 30 Seconds to Mars is known for.