"After years of study scientist were astonished to discover a new breed of entertainer: the actor turned musician that doesn't stink to high heaven.30 Seconds To Mars is the project of vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Jared Leto (the guy with the cornrows in Panic Room) and his brother Shannon, who provides the drums. Their self-titled debut album is quite impressive, exceeding expectations not only by the standards of thespian vanity projects, but also those of modern rock in general.Musically, 30STM draw a heavy influence from classic prog rock bands like Pink Floyd, but the Letos have thrown in a healthy dose of synth-rock in the vein of Deadsy (whose synth player, Dr. Nner, contributes his skill to the opening track). Lyrically, they are even closer to prog, with songs that on the surface are about living in space, but have an underlying message that can be interpreted in many different ways, depending on the listener (a quality that Jared admits is intentional). If you're looking for something different, you've definately found it.One thing's for sure: these guys DEFINITELY aren't Dogstar."
Very, very surprising
Locke Scholar 815 | Baltimore, MD United States | 08/09/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"30 Seconds to Mars are something of an anomaly on several levels. First of all is the matter of their frontman, one Jared Leto, who accomplishes a nearly impossible feat in that he is both an actor and musician, and exceeds in both fields. This is not entirely unheard of, since one need not look any further than William Shatner to find proof that this sort of thing is possible (a-cough). But anyway, the band also stands out (note the use of the word band - this is not simply an outfit for Leto to sell his face to the public) in that on this, their debut album, everything sounds surprisingly well-crafted. That is not to say that it's a perfect album - it has its flaws, primary among them the fact that the creative songwriting runs out of steam for roughly a third of the album. Also irritating is the "concept" behind the record. Now I've nothing against concept albums, but when a band tries so blatantly to be thought-provoking and cryptic it ends up sounding rather pretentious and ultimately quite silly. Despite this, at certain points the lyrics actually come close to the lofty intelligence they crave, as on the songs "Edge of the Earth," "Fallen," and "End of the Beginning." Musically, the majority of this album is pretty average hard rock, though with some spacey technical influences and metal sensibilities thrown in for good measure. Highlights are "Fallen" (which features a pretty simple yet memorable drum beginning and a nice atmospheric feel for the verses, and builds to an almost alt. metal-sounding chorus), "Oblivion" (a rather addictive piece ridden with cliches but still rather well-orchestrated), the radio-friendly "Welcome to the Universe," and my personal favorite, "Echelon," complete with almost darkly romantic overtones and an epic chorus. But not all of the album is quite so listenable. "93 Million Miles" begins promisingly but is marred by a chorus that lacks any real saving grace, melodic or otherwise. "Year Zero" drives its simplistic melody into the ground and then adds insult to injury by piling on the standard-issue spoken-word concept jargon. And then we have "Buddha for Mary," which seems to be a perennial favorite among listeners of this album. While not terrible, I just can't get into this song for several reasons. First of all the conceited lyrics and their even more pompous and out of place symbolism are pretty terrible. When you couple this with the fact that this song is essentially a diluted and very thinly-veiled attempt to write a song akin to Tool's "Reflection," you get what I consider the low point of the CD. The remaining songs are all decent and reasonably memorable, especially the stop-start pattern of "The Mission" and the chorus of "Capricorn (A Brand New Name)." Despite all my criticism, this is a surprisingly solid release. Though the general tone of this review may seem negative (as it does to me upon looking at it), I can't help but like this CD. Sure it can be grating at times (mixing formulaic melodies and then trying to sound complex through the use of white noise or high-concept lyrics has never really worked), but it can also be beautiful. As such, it is worthy of four stars, and a place in every open-minded rock fan's collection."
When Actors Try New Things
Mirai | 02/11/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Alright, Jared Leto is the frontman of this band. You know what that means, right? Right. Start laughing. Now listen to the first 2 tracks or so, and then promptly stop your laughing, because if you have any shred of musical taste you'll realize this band is much, much, more than just an actor's way of idling his time when he's not in a movie. Actually, I found this band when I was very much into the industrial sound. Also, I had no idea of who Jared Leto was at the time. 30 Seconds to Mars has geniunely good music to offer and a much needed injection of originality in the mundane world of mainstream rock that we are experiencing today. The album throws you against a wall with a double team of 'Capricorn' and 'Edge of the Earth' and from there, takes you in all directions from the trippy 'Buddha For Mary' to 'Echelon', which should captivate listeners with its vivid imagery and powerful chorus.
However, that isn't to say that this is a perfect album. The theme, while interesting, will lose your attention in certain points. But, while this album falters, it will regain its former energy and bring right back into the world they're trying to create. This minor flaw is even more forgivable because their second album, 'A Beautiful Lie' remedies the problem by bringing 30 Seconds to Mars back to Earth for a time, showing true versatility by varying the themes of their sound, and even successfully covering the song 'Hunter' (Originally written by Bjork.) So aside from these minor issues, this is a SOLID album and is well worth your time and your money. In conclusion, I give it 4 Stars, but only because I can't give it 4.5."
A Diamond in the Rough
KJ Glow | Iowa | 06/01/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The landscape of rock, and music in general, is pretty flooded with bands, but sometimes, a band will come out of nowhere and blow you away. 30 Seconds to Mars fits that exactly.
30STM is the brainchild of actor/musician Jared Leto, the band takes a very unique approach to the scene, lyrically they have alot in common with bands like Pink Floyd. That's a pretty lofty comparison, but they do it pretty effectively.
There are really no rough spots on the album, it is a masterpiece of prog, new-wave, metal, and industrial mixed into one. Leto's vocals are excellent and really hit high points all over the album. If you like bands with a standout frontman, check it out, Leto is amazing.
The album hits from many directions and keeps you entertained throughout.If you are into synth at all, check them out. The synth man from the band Deadsy provided keys for the opening track.
It's a great release from most popular music. It is a great band with a great debut album...if you are a fan of experimental rock, or rock in general, then you owe it to yourself to check this one out."
Welcome To The Universe
Ash M | Springfield, IL USA | 09/30/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"30 Seconds To Mars is without a doubt the best new band I have heard for the past few years. With a futuristic twist and just the right touch of 80's synth, these musicians have tapped into somewhat forgeign territory for the music industry. And their self-titled debut album will instantly tap into your psyche with their insightful and thought-provoking lyrics, unique and driving percussion and their delicious and addicting bass lines. Not to mention Leto's vocals which seem to successfully grasp and express every emotion one could possibly posess. With the opening synth crescendo of "Capricorn", you begin a journey of self-transformation, alienation, unity and sexual appetite. Thirty Seconds To Mars will take your hand and guide you through their world up until the last track, "Year Zero". The entire album grasps your mind and senses instantly and guides you to foreign destinations and new worlds. When the album is over you find yourself as you always were, never having left where you began. But with Thirty Seconds To Mars you'll be asking yourself 'Or did I?' Make one of the best purchases you can this year. Pick up a copy of 30 Seconds To Mars and let yourself go. Take the journey. Welcome To The Universe."