This Is War review by 30 Seconds To Mars

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  • Released: Dec 7, 2009
  • Sound: 9
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8.7 Superb
  • Users' score: 7.9 (193 votes)
30 Seconds To Mars: This Is War
6

Sound — 9
Modern rockers 30 Seconds To Mars never stop stirring up emotions, and their latest recording This Is War from Virgin Records pushes all the right buttons in the listener's motor cortex. The rock trio's arsenal of prog rock stimulants and symphonic metal boosters spurs their album into a heated run with the arpeggiated vibrations of Night Of The Hunter followed by the eruptions of charging choruses in Vox Populi (Voice of the Population) and the voluminous orchestral sails of Stranger In A Strange Land. Granted the tracks are overly produced, but that has become the band's trademark and what the public expects from them so why knock 30 Seconds To Mars for making songs that they like performing, and are a genuine expression of themselves? You know this Is true because the only music that is comparable 30 Seconds To Mars is their own. Lead singer/guitarist Jared Leto drives his vocals into the songs with the force of meat-hooks as he and guitarist Tomo Milicevic produce choppy riffs that cleat mountainous blazes through the chord dynamics held together by the hyper-pounding of Leto's brother Shannon on the drums. Their album stokes a recurring theme in the lyrics unveiling human flaws as the band builds up the tracks to a big, overwhelming sound with the exception of the finale L490 which wilts into liquidity electro-pop waterfalls. The title track lets Jared and Milicevic rip into the chorus parts with a chain-mail of guitar shreds as Shannon's drum strikes cleave into the melodic hooks. The intensity of the music is persuasive in drawing audiences to join the band's cause like in Closer To The Edge as Jared's vocals tear through the whipping slashes engraved by the guitar chords when he recites, This never-ending story / Paid for with pride and faith / We all fall short of glory / Lost in the sun. Keeping the album's temper pounding hard, the dramatic tones pulsating in the piano motifs opening Hurricane are moving as the orchestral swirls of that angelic strings halo the piece with Jared's vocals nailing the lyrics into the melody. The music re-enforces those emotions that surface when feeling battle-enraged and threatened by opposing forces. The album does not lead to a peaceful resolution but rather provides an outlet for feelings that go oppressed and refuse to remain hidden.

Lyrics — 8
The lyrics are driven by an honesty to bare feelings that are not so pleasant to admit like in 100 Suns as Jared Leto reflects, I believe in nothing / Not the end and not the start / I believe in nothing / Not the earth and not the stars / I believe in nothing / Not the day or not the dark / I believe in nothing / But the beating of our hearts / I believe in nothing / 100 suns until we part / I believe in nothing / Not in sin and not in God / I believe in nothing / Not in peace and not in war / I believe in nothing / But the truth in who we are. Some songs seem influenced by the present situation of inner turmoil which is keeping nations warring with each other like in the title track as Jared expresses, A warning, to the people / The good and the evil / This is war / To the soldier, the civilian the martyr, the victim / This is war / It's the moment of truth / And the moment to lie / And the moment to live / And the moment to die / The moment to fight / The moment to fight / To fight, to fight / TO FIGHT To the right, to the left / We will fight, to the death / To the edge of the earth / It's a brave new world / From the last to the first To the leader, the pariah / The victim, the messiah / This is war. Through the dark, Gothic sandstorms comes a ray of hope in Kings And Queens as Leto projects, Into the night / Desperate and broken / The sound of a fight / Father has spoken / We were the kings and queens of promise / We were the victims of ourselves / Maybe the children of a lesser God / Between Heaven and Hell The age of man is over / The darkness comes over all / These lessons that we've learned here / Have only just begun.

Overall Impression — 9
This Is War is 30 Seconds To Mars' third full-length album following their self-titled disc in 2002 and their sophomore release A Beautiful Lie in 2005. Using a combination of art-rock, power punk, symphonic metal, and orchestral tones, 30 Seconds To Mars is a viable proponent of modern rock and a major driving force in keeping the genre evolving. Though the tracks are overly produced in their amplified version, the band's material has merit, and every song can be imagined in an acoustic form. The band's progressive tendencies affect the songs in a positive way, and influence the mechanics of the tracks to follow contemporary models. 30 Seconds To Mars will excite fans once again, and This Is War is the right vehicle for them to re-assert themselves in modern rock circles.

29 comments sorted by best / new / date

    stueey
    I fricken LOVE this album. Its a big contrast to anything thats been released this year. I love the use of delay and reverb on this. And how simple the songs actually are, but how complex the orchestration to some tracks are. Excellent songwriting.
    padgea7x
    Don't know if I'll check this album out, I only like about 5 songs off their last..... I like Kings and queens though (stfu it's catchy)
    TheClincher
    I was disappointed with the change of style..I mean, I can handle electronica just fine, but when a band does something like 'A Beautiful Lie,' which I though was amazing, and then puts out stuff like this, it just disappoints me. And when Kanye came in on Hurricane, I just HAD to stop listening...completely ruined the song.
    A.Beautiful.Lie
    And i swear, the next person to call them emo or gay i am going to stab them in the eye. They are not emo, nor are they gay, and they have meaning behind their songs, and if you didn't know, the reason they have the "War" theme to alot of their songs, is because they went through hell and back to get this album out. Honestly, i have listened to this CD about ninety-something times since Dec. 5th when i got it, and it still doesn't bore me. If you're gonna write a review, don't have a ****ing biased opinion, because that isnt fair to the fans, and you give them a shitty opinion about the CD before they even listen to it. Thats about all i have to say on the matter, so peace out dumbasses. oh, and PS, A Beautiful Lie blew away the first album.
    H251FMLtd
    i love this album!!! i got on dec. 5th at a concert tht 30stm was at and they signed it for me!!!!! it was amzing!!!!!
    axeslinger0u812
    A.beautiful.lie: really? You're REALLY going to harp on someone for having a bias? Why? Because their bias ( which I honestly can't see in the review) doesn't fall in line with YOUR bias? Dude...look at your username. If I do a glowing review of van halen III, do you think anyone would take it seriously? No. Because I'm obviously a van halen fan. If there was a review done by 30s2m_sucks that gave it 2 for sucking, I could see your point. But come on. Maybe, juuuuust maybe, this album isn't that good. I personally like a beautiful lie, and can't stand this album. What I liked about the previous disc was the obvious Thrice connection in a lot of their songs. This album has a touch too much U2/coldplay/NIN/AFI/MCR feel to it. They aren't the most original band out there, but they did the post-hardcore sound decently. Again though, this is all opinion. You need to relax. Not everyone is going to fall in line with you, chief.
    rko
    lol@ A Beautiful Lie being bias, people aren't dumbasses cause they don't like the same stuff as you, Grow up. Rubbish band, rubbish album - not like that was a shock anyway
    A.Beautiful.Lie
    H251FMLtd ME TOOOOO! AND FUCK YOU ALL WHO THINK THIS ALBUM SUCKS!!! WHY DONT YOU GO AND LISTEN TO THE FUCKING INTERVIEWS AGAIN AND LISTEN TO HIS MOTIVES BEHIND THE ALBUM! I could do a way better job on this interview, considering the fact that you listened to it, what, once? Listen to the words and the music dumbass...
    JephStiph
    I'm a big fan of the first 2 records. I love Jared's voice. I can handle the electronica. But they lyrics all seem to be about the same thing, "lets band together and conquer the future". Maybe a better title for thw album would be : "Emo anthems for a 21st century Communist Rally. "
    Deflection
    silencerock wrote: awesome album \m/
    Don't you dare do the \m/ in 30STM-context. Metal jesus is going to rape you anally.
    smartfella90
    Deflection wrote: silencerock wrote: awesome album \m/ Don't you dare do the \m/ in 30STM-context. Metal jesus is going to rape you anally.
    hahaha
    Jsteele1408
    Apparently nobody on the UG Team reads and corrects their articles. It seems like there are always spelling and grammatical errors that cause parts of the article to be confusing.
    hairy-southpaw
    If you're gonna write a review, don't have a ****ing biased opinion
    You couldn't possibly be biased, not with a name like A.Beautiful.Lie. Garbage band that puts out mediocre unoriginal material, but that seems to be par for the course nowadays. You want to listen to something good? Go listen to Cynic. They blow the balls off of 30 Seconds to Mars.
    bignuts20
    King afed wrote: I hated this album and think they sold out.
    Yep, a band puts out an electronica influenced album that doesn't have a song under 5:30 minutes long and they sell out. That's the way it goes nowadays. /sarcasm
    wastedthelight
    Worst album of the year (that I was looking forward too) Horrible, sucktastic, craptastic crap. I'm a huge fan of the very first CD. I was so/so on A Beautiful Lie but this...what the crap? Jared said they'd be going back to their older sound and with longer songs...well...the songs are longer but not even close to the original sound. They are just another hot topic band. And I agree with 365_days_gone, what the heck is up with almost every song having a choir??? Massively over used. I give it a 2/10.
    killfrenziezzzz
    their first album is still their best by far.. Its one of my all time favorite albums.. But this one isnt bad.. I just wish there were more songs as "heavy" as 'Kings and Queens'
    gardenofgibson
    acade365 wrote: Rather than starting things off with a big, catchy song worth of Top 40, the band opts for a dramatic, haunting, and quiet interlude Escape". You know, you can't start something with an interlude. If it't in the beggining of the album it's called prelude.
    Haha, excellent point
    Krorp
    Love Kings and Queens but have yet to hear the rest of the album.
    winjones
    I was going to buy this album but then I realized I could could go to the bar and buy 2 beers instead... 30s2m rocked in their first album... and then died and became some emo band with the same name
    b_flo
    Just worked with them over the weekend. Great show....but he reminded me of Bono...the mannerisms. Kings And Queens reminds me of early U2....but then again, their producer, Steve Lillywhite did U2's 1st 3 albums.
    acade365
    Rather than starting things off with a big, catchy song worth of Top 40, the band opts for a dramatic, haunting, and quiet interlude Escape".
    You know, you can't start something with an interlude. If it't in the beggining of the album it's called prelude.
    365_days_gone
    wastedthelight wrote: Worst album of the year (that I was looking forward too) Horrible, sucktastic, craptastic crap. I'm a huge fan of the very first CD. I was so/so on A Beautiful Lie but this...what the crap? Jared said they'd be going back to their older sound and with longer songs...well...the songs are longer but not even close to the original sound. They are just another hot topic band. And I agree with 365_days_gone, what the heck is up with almost every song having a choir??? Massively over used. I give it a 2/10.
    Nope. Whenever bands says they are going back to their roots, NEVER EVER believe them!!! Every band says this when they stray too far from their original sound. But they can never EVER get back to it!!
    unclenono
    Deflection wrote: silencerock wrote: awesome album \m/ Don't you dare do the \m/ in 30STM-context. Metal jesus is going to rape you anally.
    I'll put up the horns for damn Elvis if I want to, man. \m/ Long live the king. Metal satan is gonna sodomize you.
    365_days_gone
    ok. Honestly. These gusy are the definition of sell-outs. They made a perfect heavy atmospheric debut CD. Then followed-up with a commercial sound. A lot of bands do this, but what makes these guys "sell-outs" is that they changed EVERYTHING! Even their look. They changed their appearance, vocals, sound, everything all to sound like these other teenage heart-throb bands. ITs disgusting really. Whiny vocals now and everything. Now, A Beautiful Lie pretty much sucked. Absolutely terrible album. But this one wasnt THAT bad. Heres my issues with it though: Every song seems to sound the same. And man, I have listened to this CD AT LEAST 10 times now. The first listen through, by track 8 I was bored with it. Anyone notice how almost every song has the kids choir chanting in it? I swear every song has it. Also. The lyrics are good, but he mentions Jesus, Devil, Heaven, Hell, Faith, etc. in every song except for 1! Look: Escape I don't believe in faith Night of the Hunter Pray to your god, open your heart Kings and Queens Maybe the children of a lesser God Between Heaven and Hell This is War The Good and the Evil To the leader, the pariah, the victim, the messiah 100 Suns I believe in nothing not in satan, not in god Hurricane where is your God? Closer to the Edge This never ending story, it falls with pride and faith. A call to arms Want to be god and devil like me? Search & Destroy Found my faith Living in sin Talk about a hell Alibi Stranger in a strange land F*** you like the devil If you're looking for Jesus