Thirty Seconds to Mars is a truly ‘alternative’ rock band. Their surreal quality of sound is unlike any other artist out there. A mixture of driving rock with melodic backgrounds, 30STM ‘s debut self-titled release is sure to please those who have become fond of rock that is more than just loud guitars and harsh vocals or repetitive pop.
Thirty Seconds to Mars is headed by Jared Leto, with sibling Shannon on drums, and Solon Bixter providing secondary guitar and bass. The trio are not afraid to welcome others to their music and a quite a few of the songs on the debut album feature additional artists on backup instruments and synthesizer.
A central theme runs through the album; space. As one might expect from a band entitled 30 Seconds to Mars, their music deals with cosmic themes, planets, and travel. But not quite. It’s not a concept or story album but the songs all tie together with that sort of underlying theme.
Buddah for Mary has a sweeping driving rhythm that doesn’t kick in until halfway through the song but is well worth it. Edge of the Earth starts off strong, with Shannon Leto’s masterful drumming setting the tone. A techno edge to their rock keeps things very modern and ‘futurist’ without being too experimental or farflung.
They’re not afraid of taking a risk, though, and like other great alternative artists (such as Pink Floyd) they overlay spoken word over music to enhance a mood. Jared Leto’s voice is powerful without being overwhelming and gentle enough to provide contrast to the strong beat and strum of the guitar.
Those who are fond of alternative melodic rock, such as Tool or NiN, will likely be in approval of this album. It’s hard without being harsh and gentle without being soft. It finds the right blend of synth music and traditional instruments, and Jared’s voice sets the mood for it all, brooding yet hopeful and full of melodic promise.
Appropriately enough, the end of the album is brought about by a song entitled ‘Year Zero, which has a haunting chorus of ‘We’ll never fade awayÃ¢Â?Â¦.’ Let’s hope this is prophesy and not just statement. I look forward to hearing more and more from Thirty Seconds to Mars in the future.