Music review: Creed, Full Circle

Posted: November 13, 2009 in Album Reviews

creed

It’s hard to believe, but at the turn of the century, Creed was perhaps the biggest rock band in the land.
With a charismatic frontman and talented lead guitarist pumping out anthems rooted in Christianity, Creed produced tunes many people could relate to.
I have to admit, Creed has always been a guilty pleasure of mine. When they were in their heyday, Creed was one of the few rock bands which received consistent play on Top 40 radio. Back then, radio (before the days of satellite radio I might add) consisted of boy band drivel like N’Sync and Backstreet Boys, a bevy of hip hop acts, teen pop like Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. It was a bad time in general for music, rock in particular. The only other rock acts getting much attention were talentless nu-metal hacks like Limp Bizkit and post-grunge whiners like Staind.
Creed’s sound never was incredibly original, and lead singer Scott Stapp was often (and accurately) portrayed as an Eddie Vedder clone. Still, a few of their songs like “My Sacrifice,” “Higher,” “What If” and the overplayed but still good “With Arms Wide Open” have stuck with me over the years.
The band parted ways acrimoniously in 2002, mainly due to Stapp’s addictions. An infamous concert where he was wasted and barely coherent caused fans to sue the band, seemingly providing the final nail in the coffin for guitarist Mark Tremonti, a longtime friend of Stapp’s.
They went their separate ways, with Stapp eventually sobering up and releasing an utterly forgettable solo album, and the other members of the band joining Tremonti and new singer Myles Kennedy for a pair of medicore Alter Bridge albums.
Last year, Tremonti and Stapp worked out their differences and decided to reform the band. They went out on tour earlier this year and recorded a new album, called “Full Circle” (get it?)
The results of the reunion are surprisingly good. It’s probably the most consistent record the band has ever put out. There isn’t a bad song on it. One song in particular “Away in Silence” is one of the best tracks they’ve ever recorded, as Stapp deals with his personal demons as it pertained to his marriage, begging his wife to stay with the line “I’m not the man I used to be, I’ve changed”. “Overcome” and “Bread of Shame” are two of the heaviest songs Creed has ever laid down, and the title track has a bluesy feel not present on their previous work. There aren’t any surefire hit singles (although with the time between albums and the obvious change in the musical landscape, a hit would be hard to come by) but I don’t skip many tracks like I did on previous releases. Overall, a strong return to form.
The Sod rating: *** 1/2
Other Creed releases:
My Own Prison (1997) ***
Human Clay (1999) *** 1/2
Weathered (2001) ***

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