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

Wednesday, 28 February 2024 Written by Issy Herring

Given the furore over his retirement from Mötley Crüe after four decades of riffs and glam-metal excess, Mick Mars had a lot of fuel with which to approach his first solo record. On ‘The Other Side Of Mars’ the guitarist seeks to display, you guessed it, another side to his work, pairing his undimmed skills as a guitarist with the dominant vocal abilities of Jacob Bunton and Brion Gamboa. When they click, they are something of a force of nature together, but too often they don’t. 

With a recognisable creative team at the helm — including Korn drummer Ray Luzier, former Winger keyboard player Paul Taylor, and producer Michael Wagener, who was responsible for mixing Mötley Crüe’s debut — this could have been slick from front to back. And yet there are plenty of lows to balance out some major highs.

Mars — who has been living with with ankylosing spondylitis for some time — can still cook and the opener Loyal To The Lie hits hard, heavily referencing his oft-publicised legal wrangling with his former bandmates.

“All your little stories / Giving you the glory / Always fucking with my mind / Cause you’re loyal to the lie,” Bunton hollers in its compelling chorus. 

Broken On The Inside and Right Side Of Wrong are bangers that show off each side of the record, from the former’s alt-metal groove to the latter’s chugging riffs, while Ready To Roll is a three minute Mötley Crüe rerun that fans will adore. You really start to sense vulnerability in Mars’s sound by the time Undone, one of two songs fronted by Gamboa, hits like a crushing power ballad.

The rest of ‘The Other Side Of Mars’, though, is like listening to a failed tribute band. Alone is colourless and mediocre, while Killing Breed and Memories are straight filler. Even then, the overall balance is in Mars’s favour. With his fretboard skills to the forefront, he finds a way to keep us engaged right the way to the finish line.


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