Album review: Thirty Seconds To Mars – It’s The End Of The World But It’s A Beautiful Day

Jared Leto proves there’s still life on Mars after five years with 30STM’s electro-tastic sixth album...

Album review: Thirty Seconds To Mars – It’s The End Of The World But It’s A Beautiful Day
Nick Ruskell

Thirty Seconds To Mars don’t like to rush things, do they? It’s been a full five years since we last heard new music from the brothers Leto, 2018’s America. It was five between that and 2013’s Love, Lust, Faith And Dreams, which itself came a relatively quick four years since This Is War, and so on, often to the point one might assume things were done, that This Is War Is Over.

Fingers might point to all sorts of speculative factors in explaining this – pandemic this time around, making records takes ages, Jared Leto is an Oscar-winning actor with a presumably full diary, simply not being arsed. Whatever it is, one upshot has resulted a body of work in which, for better or worse, entries stand with their own personality. Not a man keen to repeat his artistic fancies, it seems that a long wait simply provides creative distance from what’s gone before.

So it is with It’s The End Of The World But It’s A Beautiful Day, an album for which Jared has said the band amassed the ideas for 200 songs, with enough actual good ones to make, he reckons, more than one volume. Those still pining for the slick, sparkly, arena-sized rock bombast of the masterful This Is War will be left wanting, but such is how things go on Mars, and it’s a hearteningly better album than the awkward, confused America. The guitars are back, for one thing, though now sitting far more casually among things than as the grandstanding main character. The general vibe, meanwhile, is far cooler and sharper, at its best, such as on Stuck – which opens with a teasing guitar line – where a big electronic beat mingles with an effectively simple bassline.

Elsewhere, Life Is Beautiful thumps along on a dramatic rhythm and hip-hop-ish tack, before suddenly going into a chorus that sounds like Bring Me The Horizon at their most stripped back, a vibe that continues on the defiant Get Up Kid. On World On Fire, things positively soar when the electronic chorus kicks in, while Lost These Days – an acoustic song until a massive bass drum says it’s not halfway through – will slot easily into their sets. For backward nods, rare as they are, closer Avalanche feels similar to Closer To The Edge if it was mostly electronics, while on Seasons Jared intones about, ‘A beautiful lie and it never gets old.’

Given that the band recently, and unexpectedly, stepped out with screamy Knocked Loose singer Bryan Garris for the most aggressive version of The Kill you’ve ever heard, it’s forgivable to have expected something heavier here. Would that have been a step back, though? Quite possibly. And as another move forward, It’s The End Of The World But It’s A Beautiful Day succeeds in part because, once again, Thirty Seconds To Mars haven’t sounded like this before. More power to them for that.

Verdict: 4/5

For fans of: Bring Me The Horizon, twenty one pilots, Paramore

It’s The End Of The World But It’s A Beautiful Day is released on September 15 via Concord. Get your exclusive, limited-run cassette version of the album at the Kerrang! Store

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