There are not many albums I have given 4.5 stars too.. but this one deserves the 4.5. I have waited a long time for this album. Many years with other Thirty Seconds To Mars fans. this album will be the first release since 2005´s "A Beautiful Lie." On the new record "This Is War," the band outdoes anything they have previously released, touching on all aspects from the prior records. Don´t get me wrong, I love the first album and the second, but this album is the most mature sound the band has shown on albums whilst keeping the most commercial as well. With all the drama the band has been through with the label and whatnot, they really turned up the heat on this record. The album starts off with Escape, which maybe isn´t the best opener for the album (i could have picked a better opener) but it still gets the job done. Next is "Night Of The Hunter," as Leto is always fond of using the word "Hunter" in his music, the is a great throwback to the first albums electronics mixed with a great sing along chorus. Next its single time. "Kings and Queens" if you haven´t heard it then you are really missing out. This has all the elements of the major hit "From Yesterday" mixed with higher vocal patterns and a great sing along chorus.This introduces the sing along from many people call "the kids." These are actual fans that were invited to "The Summit" to be a part of the record. Man, are they a part of the record, almost every song has bits and pieces of the crowd singalongs (which to some may be a little much). Jared Leto´s voice has really matured and has gotten into a higher range. "This Is War" follows right where "Kings and Queens" left off with the faster clean guitars and the probably one of the biggest choruses i have ever heard. The fans get a great prominent vocal pattern in the tune, following this song is "100 Suns" which is a short interlude almost of Leto with the acoustic guitar and fans gently in the background. "Hurricane" feat. Kanye West is next on the list. This is a very odd pairing for the band, but on the record it was the experimental choice. The Kayne West parts are soaked in auto-tune, so ultimately you wouldn´t really know it was him unless you read it. His solo part of the song isn´t my favorite, which I may skip here and there. A great experimental choice though for the band to break out into another genre. The whole song has more a hip hop feel mixed with classic 30stm rhythms. i can only hope that "Closer To The Edge" is the next single. This is the song I mainly skip to because of the great vocal display and musicianship. "Vox Populi" once again gets the fans involved in the beginning and reminds me much of Angels & Airwaves but the next level. This song has the elements of AVA with the digital programming and the huge drums. "Search & Destroy" is a good song, nothing really pops out of this song for me, more of the digital drums and the electronics. This song will grow on me though, no doubt. "Alibi" is the slower song on the album, filled with ambiance and maturity. This reminds me of "A Modern Myth" vibe but with more emotion and a killer vocal display at the huge ending by Leto and the gang. Leto ends the song with the repeating lyrics yelling at the top of his voice and lungs "I fell apart, but got back up again." Thirty Seconds to Mars end the album well. "Stranger In A Strangeland" has a great vibe much different than what we have heard before and "L490" the slower instrumental ends the album well. All I can say is go out and buy this album. If you liked any ounce of any of their previous work, then this is the album to get. Leto can easily say now that he is just as good (if not better) at being a musician and songwriter as he is an actor, if he couldn´t before. Even though there are 2 songs that i think they could have done better, this is still getting the 5 stars. Who knows when the next time I will give another 4.5 out. Well done. Album of the year in my book. This lived up to all my expectations.