At 72, former Motley Crue guitarist Mick Mars has finally released his first solo album. First proposed a decade ago, the project was put on hold when Mars, still with the glam-metal band he helped form in 1981, went on the road for what was to be the final time with the group, which made a very public spectacle of announcing its retirement.

When they broke their retirement agreement (during another very public spectacle) in 2018 by resuming Motley Crue for another tour - to capitalize on a biopic based on the scandalous 2001 autobiography The Dirt, among other things - The Other Side of Mars was again shelved.

Since then, Mars left the band for health reasons, got into a public feud with his former bandmates (Motley Crue seemingly can't do anything without notifying the world of their every move) and eventually finished his long-gestating solo debut, providing guitar and songwriting alongside a group that includes singer Jacob Bunton, Korn drummer Ray Luzier and keyboardist Paul Taylor, whose credits include Alice Cooper and Winger.

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Mars has said he wanted to show another side to his music outside of his band on The Other Side of Mars (hence the album title), but the 10 songs mostly exist within the same scorched world as Motley Crue's riff-heavy music. Bunton is a more polished singer than Vince Neil, and Mars' new band is more dynamic than his old one, so the songs on The Other Side of Mars tend to lean on more contemporary influences.

Still, besides a handful of guitar-centered tracks - "Loyal to the Lie," "Right Side of Wrong" and closing instrumental "LA Noir" - Mars does little to distinguish the album from most faceless hard-rock records released over the past 20 years. A different singer on two songs - left over from the 2014 sessions - adds to the unfocused nature of The Other Side of Mars. With more time on his hands now, maybe Mars' next effort will arrive with fewer delays and with more direction.

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Gallery Credit: Ultimate Classic Rock Staff

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