30 Seconds To Mars A Beautiful Lie

Jared Leto is Hollywood’s undisputed king of pain. As an actor, he’s taken more lead than 50 Cent and the Game combined, been stabbed, brutally beaten, decapitated, dismembered and been forced to make googly eyes at Colin Farrell whilst clad in a pair of chain-mail boxers. But so far, his most cringe-inducing performance has been his recurring role as Jared Leto — singer/guitarist for pompous space-metal no-marks 30 Seconds to Mars. And while A Beautiful Lie, the band’s emo-spackled second album, is an improvement on their bloated 2002 debut, the band still take their sublimely ridiculous songs far too seriously for their own good. Like its predecessor, Lie’s offers sandblasted slabs of alt-metal riffage buffeted by cloudbursts of exploding drums and synthetic squiggles; a squeaky-clean tactical strike of heavy sonic ordnance. The bombast runs hot and thick, and through it all, Leto sings in a scorched, electronically-altered rasp, groaning convoluted gobbledygook about betrayal, isolation and revolution (sample lyric: "Defy yourself just to look inside the wreckage of your past…” Huh?) with the wide-eyed conviction of a first-year philosophy major. Through a cloud of bong fuzz, it probably sounds brilliant, but without chemical assistance Leto’s confused poetry is just recycled Jim Morrison-isms repackaged for post-modern space cadets. Still, chunky riff-rockers like "Attack,” "The Kill” and the title track serve up a enough volatile, hyper dramatic deliverance to satisfy kids caught in the no-man’s-land between modern rock’s alt-metal and emo-punk camps. 30S2M have chops, the wickedest studio toys money can buy and an indefatigable belief in their own genius. If they’d just get over themselves, they’ll be all set. (Virgin)