30 Seconds to Ma
Studio album by 30 Seconds to Mars
Released August 27, 2002

(See release history)

Recorded 2001–2002 at Cherokee Studios, Los Angeles, California; Sunset Sound, Los Angeles, California; The Center for the Advancement of the Arts and Sciences of Sound
Genre Progressive metal[1][2][3]Space rock[1][4][5]Post-grunge[1][6]
Length 53:15
Label Immortal, Virgin
Producer Bob Ezrin, Brian Virtue, 30 Seconds to Mars
30 Seconds to Mars chronology
30 Seconds to Mars


A Beautiful Lie


Singles from 30 Seconds to Mars
  1. "Capricorn (A Brand New Name)"

Released: July 23, 2002

  1. "Edge of the Earth"

Released: January 27, 2003

30 Seconds to Mars is the debut studio album by American rock band 30 Seconds to Mars, released on August 21, 2002. The album was produced by Bob Ezrin, Brian Virtue and 30 Seconds to Mars, and was recorded in Los Angeles during 2001 and early 2002. 30 Seconds to Mars is a concept album that focuses on human struggle and self-determination, with personal lyrics that sometimes use otherworldly elements and conceptual ideas to illustrate a truthful personal situation.

Upon its release in August 2002, 30 Seconds to Mars reached number 107 on the Billboard 200 and number one on the Top Heatseekers. The album received generally positive reviews, many of which compared 30 Seconds to Mars to Pink Floyd, Tool, and Brian Eno. The album produced two singles, "Capricorn (A Brand New Name)" and "Edge of the Earth"; the former peaked at number 31 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks. 30 Seconds to Mars promoted the album by opening concerts for bands such as Puddle of Mudd, Incubus, Sevendust, and Chevelle.

Following the release of this album, 30 Seconds to Mars music differs notably from it, both musically and lyrically. Whereas this concept album's lyrics focus on human struggle and astronomical themes, A Beautiful Lie's lyrics are more personal and the music introduces intense screaming vocals and synth effects.

Writing and developmentEdit

On May 23, 2001, 30 Seconds to Mars announced that they are working with Bob Ezrin on the debut album, tentatively titled Welcome to the Universe, and they wrote over fifty songs before paring it down to only ten.[8] 30 Seconds to Mars retreated to the isolation of Wyoming to record the album.[9] The band and Ezrin chose an empty warehouse lot on 15,000 acres. Brian Virtue joined to work with the band and Ezrin later.[10] Leto described the 30 Seconds to Mars experience of working with Ezrin and Virtue: "Bob Ezrin is one of the world's greatest producers. He was at the top of our list from the very beginning, literally. We felt he had the ability to help us bring the size and scope of what we wanted to this album, and he did. Brian Virtue is an amazing new producer and was with us every step of the way and was a key element in helping us define our sound."[11] Studio musicians Renn Hawkey, Elijah Blue Allman, Maynard James Keenan, Danny Lohner, and producer Bob Ezrin also contributed performances on select tracks.[12] Some of the songs had different names before the album was finalized and demo versions were also slightly different. "Fallen" was previously called "Jupiter," "Oblivion" was called "The Reckoning" and "Year Zero" was called "Hero." Demo versions of "Fallen," "Buddha for Mary" and "93 Million Miles" floating around.[11] The band has also recorded a few other tracks as "Valhalla" and "Occam's Razor," that were released on an early 1999 demo, and "Phase 1: Fortification," that was released on a promotional single for "Capricorn (A Brand New Name)" in the United Kingdom.[13][14][15] "Revolution" was not included in the track listing because its lyrics could be misinterpreted; the band chose not to include the song in light of the September 11, 2001 attacks.[11] "Anarchy in Tokyo" was included as a bonus track on the Japanese release of the album.[16][17] The lyrics of the hidden track, "The Struggle," were taken from Sun Tzu's The Art of War.[18]

Musical style and themesEdit

While some influences come by way of Dune (one of the band's favorite books) and similar, the space theme is meant as a metaphor for the human experience.[18] Jared Leto explained "everything on this album is about real human experience. That is the single most inspiring source for us, the human struggle. Lyrically, it's a very personal album that sometimes uses otherworldly elements or conceptual ideas to illustrate a truthful personal situation."[11] The band drew influence from Pink Floyd, The Cure, Björk, Rush, Depeche Mode, The Who; according to Shannon Leto "mostly big conceptional bands; bands that had depth; bands that were dynamic."[11][19] Karin Lowachee, describing the meanings of the songs, said "Admittedly interested in things otherwordly and their relationship to (sub) cultures, lyricist Jared allows the listener to draw his or her own conclusions to the songs' meanings. This makes the music especially personal, as whatever images you conjure from the sound and words can be interpreted by your own inner language."[18]

Jared Leto explained, "Capricorn (A Brand New Name)," the album's opening track, is "about a desire for renewal. But I'd rather let people take their own understanding and meaning from the song. I think that is one of the exciting things about music, the interpretation, from individual to individual and how it can change so much."[11] "Fallen" is about escape. It is the oldest of all the songs on the album and, initially, it was not going to be included. There was a demo floating around that the band wasn't satisfied with but there were some that had strong feelings about this song within the 30 Seconds to Mars camp, so they decided to rework it.[11] "Buddha for Mary" is not about a specific person, it's "definitely a metaphor," Jared said.[11] About "End of the Beginning" Jared explained "I think we are all looking for something, and we always will be. I think it's our nature."[11] Describing "Revolution" as an anti-American song, Jared commented "We don't feel it is an anti-American song at all. That is a song that can be taken many different ways. If it is taken literally or politically it could be misinterpreted. We didn't want a song like that to overshadow what we are about. And considering that people have a tendency to take things very literal we felt that especially after 9/11 it didn't fit thematically with the rest of the record. It took on new dimensions."[11]

The band's phoenix logo, which 30 Seconds to Mars named "Mithra", bears the phrase "Provehito in Altum", the band's motto. Roughly translated from Latin, this means "Launch forth into the deep"; but a more stylized version would be "Rocket in(to) High(ness)". It can also be translated in "March on into higher grounds" or "Launch forth into higher grounds." The phoenix is a bird in Egyptian mythology that lived in the desert for 500 years and then consumed itself by fire, later to rise renewed from its ashes. The arrow is a visual representation for "Provehito in Altum", the progressive leap. Is believed that the four glyphics have had two different meanings. The first explanation is that they stand for the band's name: the first symbol is two intertwined threes representing "30". The second is rotating in the opposite direction, almost as if it is counting down which symbolizes "seconds". The third is three vertical lines, that looking in between them, is got the Roman numeral two which stands for "to". The fourth represents Mars with its two moons Phobos and Deimos. The second explanation is that they symbolize each of the four terrestrial planets. The first symbol is two intertwined "M's" which stand for Mercury. The second looks like it is rotating in the opposite direction and Venus rotates in the opposite direction of all the terrestrial planets. The third is the roman numeral three which stands for Earth, the third planet from the Sun. The last symbol is Mars with its two moons Phobos an Deimos. 30 Seconds to Mars has not officially commented on the glyphics. However the band has said that they represent different elements in the band.[11][20]


After the September 11, 2001 attacks, 30 Seconds to Mars was notified by the label that all artwork in production for the album was discontinued due of the graphic content of the image. Included were 10,000 posters that had an image of a fighter jet exploding in mid-air with the pilot ejecting safely from the plane. 30 Seconds to Mars fully agreed the images were inappropriate at that time and said that they never saw the artwork as a violent image.[21] On July 29, 2002, 30 Seconds to Mars announced the new cover for the album.[22]


Although the released dates were changed many times, 30 Seconds to Mars was released in the United States on 27 August, in Canada on 24 September, and in the United Kingdom on 30 September. The compact disc contains enhanced material developed by Little Lion Studios: the flash video for "Capricorn", directed by Lawton Outlaw, created and produced by Black Dragon, and the Behind the Scenes Footage, edited by Ari Sandel.[12] The Japanese release of the album includes "Anarchy In Tokyo" as bonus track.[23] After five years of its original release, 30 Seconds to Mars was released in Australia on April 7 and in New Zealand on August 7, 2007.[24][25] On December 2, 2009, the album was re-released in limited edition in Japan.[17]

The band chose "Capricorn (A Brand New Name)" as the lead single from the album. The song entered the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks at number 40 on September 7, and reached the peak position of 31 on October 5, 2002, remaining eight weeks on the chart.[26][27] The song also peaked at number one on the Heatseekers Songs chart. Upon its release, 30 Seconds to Mars entered and peaked the Billboard 200 at number 107, and remained four weeks on the chart.[28] The album also debuted on the Top Heatseekers at number one, remaining three weeks at the top and nine weeks on the chart.[29] On October 5, 2002, 30 Seconds to Mars reached number 142 on the French Albums Chart.[30] On the week commencing June 18, 2007, the album peaked at number 89 on the Australian Albums Chart and at number 12 on the Australian Rock Albums Chart.[31][32] It reentered the chart in 2010 after the release of This Is War.[32] The album sold more than 121,000 copies in the United States alone.[33] In early 2002 was released the promo "Songs From 30 Seconds to Mars," which included "Capricorn (A Brand New Name)" and "End of the Beginning."[34] The second single, "Edge of the Earth," was released on January 27, 2003.[35] On January 11, 2010, the song "Fallen" reached number six on the weekly Twitter's MusicMonday.[36]

The song "Echelon" is featured in the 2003 Jon Amiel's film The Core.[37] "Edge of the Earth" was also featured in the trailer for Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit which played at Electronic Entertainment Expo 2010.[38] The song is also featured in the game, and is the main title track.


Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic (49/100)[39]
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic [1]
Alternative Press [2]
BBC [40]
Blender [4]
Blistering (favorable)[41]
E! Online (B)[3]
The Gazette [42]
Jay Gordon [43]
Kludge (7/10)[44]
Karin Lowachee [18] [5]

Upon its release, 30 Seconds to Mars received generally positive reviews. However, the album holds, based on four reviews, a score of 49 at Metacritic.[39] Megan O'Toole of The Gazette praised the album, stating that "every track on this record is beautiful; each is a unique masterpiece that simultaneously operates on a number of different musical and spiritual levels" and that "30 Seconds to Mars have managed to carve out a unique niche for themselves in the rock realm."[42] E! Online gave the album a B, stating that "[Jared] Leto sounds more like Tool/A Perfect Circle frontman Maynard James Keenan than a member of the Screen Actors Guild--even if his lyrics are kind of space-case lame."[3] Smiley Ben of BBC described the album by writing "Alt-rock for the 21st Century (or perhaps the end of the world), with titles such as 'Capricorn (A Brand New Name)', 'Echelon', and 'Welcome to the Universe', they knowingly push boundaries and produce great music with an edge."[40] Ryan Rayhill from Blender wrote that the band "emerged with an eponymous debut that sounds like Tool on The Dark Side of the Moon," and praised the album saying "30 Seconds to Mars manage a high-minded space opera of epic scope befitting prog-rock prototypes Rush."[4]

Johan Wippsson of felt that "musically 30 Seconds to Mars has something new to add to the world with their space influenced modern rock," and praised the album saying that it is "one of the most unique album when it comes to an own style."[5] also placed the album at number 22 on The Best Records of 2002.[45] Amber Authier from Exclaim! praised the album, stating that "this epic record has conceptual similarities to bands like Queensrÿche and Depeche Mode."[46] Mitch Joel of Blistering commented that "this electric and electro mix of modern rock has fundamentals that must have made famed producer, Bob Ezrin fascinated and 30 Seconds to Mars is worth more than most of their peers on a song-by-song magnitude."[41] Jay Gordon praised the lyrics and wrote that 30 Seconds to Mars has been hailed as the next Pink Floyd and has been compared to David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust.[43] Karin Lowachee gave the album four out of five stars, and wrote that "listening to it from the beginning track, Capricorn, to the final offering of Year Zero, you get the distinct sense that for the duration you are in a decidedly different world, whether physical or inner."[18] Jaan Uhelszki of Alternative Press praised the album and wrote that they "are made of sterner stuff, with their prog-metal foundation enhanced by an unexpectedly powerful sense of melody."[2] Jon O'Brien from Allmusic praised the album saying "its 11 tracks are packed full of heavy, riff-laden guitars, prog metal beats, and Hollywood star Jared Leto's soaring vocals and sci-fi lyrics, making it one of the more convincing actor-turned-rock star efforts."[1]

Some reviews were more critical, however; Kludge magazine's review summarized the album by saying "The entire project as a whole is top-heavy, with the strengths of the album crammed tightly into the first five songs," and continued "the song quality drops off completely at the halfway point."[44] Peter Relic of Rolling Stone, stated that the "album is undone by [Jared] Leto's baffling, pretentious poetry and the sanitized quality of the heavy guitars," while Q described the album as having "a polished sheen, but Leto's delivery of his earnest, sci-fi-tinged lyrics gets monotonous over the course of the album."[39]


To promote the album, 30 Seconds to Mars did several performances in North America. Their first televised appearance was on Last Call with Carson Daly on November 18, which aired on November 27, 2002.[47] The band also performed on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn, the first band's performance with Tomo Miličević.[48][49][50] On January 30, 2002, 30 Seconds to Mars began a promotional tour, performing in North America and in England for a concert at Barfly in London.[51][52] Even before the album was released, Puddle of Mudd invited 30 Seconds to Mars to open a six-week tour for them in the spring of 2002, even though they were totally unknown and no one had yet heard their music on the radio.[53] In July the band embarked on the Incubus North American tour, and a month later 30 Seconds to Mars began the Club Tour.[51][54] In October, the band embarked with I Mother Earth, Billy Talent and Pepper Sands on the MTV Campus Inviasion, playing ten dates in Canada.[51][55] 30 Seconds to Mars was also scheduled to open the Adema Spring tour, but they have had to pull out.[56] After three concerts to support Our Lady Peace, 30 Seconds to Mars opened the Sevendust Animosity tour.[57][58] In 2003, the band went on tour with Chevelle, Trust Company, Pacifier, Fingertight, and played thirteen Lollapalooza shows.[59][60] In 2004, 30 Seconds to Mars played three concerts. On February 21, the band played a concert at The Roxy in Los Angeles, where they performed "Where the Streets Have No Name" with Mike Einziger.[61] The band's performances received positive responses from critics.[18]

Track listingEdit

All songs written and composed by Jared Leto, except where noted.

No. Title Length
1. "Capricorn (A Brand New Name)" 3:53
2. "Edge of the Earth" 4:37
3. "Fallen" 4:59
4. "Oblivion" 3:29
5. "Buddha for Mary" 5:45
6. "Echelon" 5:50
7. "Welcome to the Universe" 2:40
8. "The Mission" 4:05
9. "End of the Beginning" 4:40
10. "93 Million Miles" 5:20
11. "Year Zero" (includes hidden track "The Struggle": Jared Leto, Shannon Leto) 7:53

Enhanced extrasEdit

No. Title Length
14. "Capricorn" (Flash video) 3:33
15. "Behind the Scenes Footage" (Video) 5:52

Credits and personnelEdit

Credits adapted from the album's booklet.[12]

30 Seconds to Mars
  • Jared Letoguitar and vocals on all tracks except "The Struggle;" bass on all tracks except for "Echelon" and "The Struggle;" synthesizer on all tracks except for "Welcome to the Universe;" programming on "Capricorn (A Brand New Name)," "Edge of the Earth," "Oblivion," "Echelon," "The Mission," and "End of the Beginning"
  • Shannon Letodrums on all tracks; guitar and vocals on "The Struggle"
  • Solon Bixler — guitar on "Oblivion;" bass on "Echelon;" additional guitar on "Edge of the Earth," "End of the Beginning," "93 Million Miles" and "Year Zero;" additional synthesizer on "93 Million Miles"
Additional musicians
  • Additional synthesizer on "Capricorn (A Brand New Name) by Dr. Nner Tesy of DreamWorks Records
  • Background vocals on "Fallen" by Maynard James Keenan
  • Programming on "Fallen" by Danny Lohner
  • Additional programming on "Oblivion" by Joe Bishara
  • Additional bass on "Buddha for Mary" and "93 Million Miles"; extraneous bass and guitar on "End of the Beginning" by Jeffrey Jaeger
  • Synthesizer on "Echelon" by Brian Virtue
  • Additional bass and guitar on "Welcome to the Universe" by Exeter courtesy of DreamWorks Records
  • Piano on "The Mission" by Bob Ezrin

Chart positions and salesEdit


Chart (2002)[2] Peak


French Albums Chart[30] 142
US Billboard 200[28][62] 107
US Billboard Top Heatseekers[62] 1
Chart (2007) Peak


Australian Albums Chart[31] 89
Australian Rock Albums Chart[32] 12


Country Provider Sales
United States Nielsen SoundScan 121,000[33]


Single Chart (2002) Peak


"Capricorn (A Brand New Name)" US Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks[63] 31

Release historyEdit

Region Date Label Format
United States[64] August 27, 2002 Immortal, Virgin CD, digital download
Canada[65] September 24, 2002
Japan[66] September 26, 2002
Netherlands[67] EMI
Germany[68] September 27, 2002 Immortal
Italy[69] Immortal, Virgin
Austria[70] September 30, 2002
United Kingdom[71]
Taiwan[72] November 1, 2002 Virgin
Australia[24] April 7, 2007 Immortal, Virgin, EMI CD, digital download
New Zealand[25] August 7, 2007 Virgin
Japan[73] December 2, 2009 EMI Music Japan CD (limited edition)a
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