They now return with “This Is War” and I must admit that this is not just a step forward, it’s a massive leap forward. Pretty much all the criticism I had on the previous albums, it seems the band took to heart. The songs are much better, in pretty much all the aspects. The songs are tight and solid, the songwriting is actually pretty strong and at times there’s even room for some creativity. But what I think is the best part of the band’s progress is the use of their enthusiasm and energy. On “This Is War” they use it to their advantage and it gives the songs more kick and that way 30 Seconds To Mars is able to perform them very convincingly.
The first song I heard was the lead single Kings And Queens and when I heard that I asked who this was. It has an almost U2-esque epicness and it’s pretty much the best vocal performance I heard Leto do. Other songs that I thought were pretty impressive are Closer To The Edge which has a good drive and would make for a killer live track. The slower, art rock influenced Stranger In A Strange Land. The band has come together, they’re doing what they do best and they know where their strengths are. You can hear that reflected in the songs. It probably won’t end up in a whole lot of top lists at the end of the year (even though it should probably be judged in 2010 as it is released in December) but for 30 Seconds To Mars, this is the album that validates their status as rock stars.