Mick Mars- The Other Side of Mars (Album Review)

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Back in the ‘80s, Mötley Crüe stood out among others with their raw and aggressive approach on decade defining albums such as 1983’s Shout at the Devil and 1989’s Dr. Feelgood. Driven heavily by the guitar tone and overall attack, the man responsible for that is none other than Mick Mars.

Mars, the eldest member of Mötley Crüe, and perhaps their wisest, was indisputably a vital part of their success. Their co-founder, plus the one who came up with the name, sadly, has not been a part of Mötley Crüe since 2022. An ugly split that outsiders are anything less than torn up about, thankfully all of this did not spell the end of music from the guitarist; because on February 23, 2024 he will unleash his first ever solo album. Difficult to imagine after the body of work Mars has built through the decades that this would be his debut solo album, you would have to imagine that all those years of touring and recording with Mötley Crüe took up a massive chunk of his time. A service Mötley Crüe fans are grateful for, now they get to hear a different side of Mars’ guitar playing with the album The Other Side of Mars.

Being put out there through Mars’ own label 1313, LLC, and MRI, it is interesting to note that he actually had the vision for a solo album all the way back in 2014; but again, did not have the time for it. Well, good things come to those who wait, and with that, Mars assembled a talented group of contributors to create this new album. Running down the lineup, the album features Winger Keyboardist Paul Taylor, Drumming from Korn’s Ray Luzier, but also work from the Emmy Award-winning Guitarist/Vocalist Jacob Bunton, Bassist Chris Collier, and additional lead vocals from Brion Gamboa. On top of all of this, sealed the deal is Michael Wagener (who has worked with everyone from Dokken, Metallica, Skid Row, to Mötley Crüe as well) handling the production.

All of these pieces in place, Mars created an environment he felt comfortable expressing each side of his playing in a fashion that is unapologetic. You see, he has been so long in the trenches with Mötley Crüe… that perhaps the entire spectrum of what he can do has not been entirely exposed. This in mind, with The Other Side of Mars he shows you a wide array of his playing abilities and styles. Really not sticking to just one approach, Mars dips and dives all over the map on the ten songs that make up the album; sometimes even going in directions that would be a surprise.

Each song truly a separate entity, yet cohesive as a collection, some of the heavier moments come with the single “Loyal to the Lie” and “Undone,” but absolutely “Broken on the Inside.” Each emotionally charged Hard Rock rounded out by great vocals and rich production, in truth, they are only the tip of the iceberg here.

The remainder of the record takes you down various paths full of a wide range of feelings that emerge in different lights; some more shadowed, others more in your face. What this means is the moods are not wholly aggressive nor melancholy, but like any real human being, expansively diverse. This is vividly pronounced for the duration, but a few bullet points to make note of would have to be tracks like “Alone” or “Memories,” as well as “Right Side of Wrong,” and the heavy, bluesy instrumental “La Noir.”

Overall, Mick Mars’ The Other Side of Mars is everything you would expect, but also very much also some things you would expect from him. If this seems like a contradiction, it is not, because Mars has consistently been one of the more three-dimensional figures in the world of Mötley Crüe that always piqued your curiosity. Well, now it seems like the vail is being lifted and we are getting more insight about Mars and his music. A great grouping of songs that are both heavy and full of thoughtful introspection, Cryptic Rock gives The Other Side of Mars 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Mick Mars - The Other Side of Mars
Mick Mars – The Other Side of Mars / 1313, LLC (2024)



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