Review: Creed – ‘Full Circle’

Posted: October 27th , 2009
Contributed By: Nick

Purchase @ iTunes
Release Date: October 29, 2009 on Wind-Up Records

Creed are:

Scott Stapp (vocals)
Mark Tremonti (guitar)
Brian Marshall (bass)
Scott Phillips (drums)

Produced by: Howard Benson

Knowledge: Think Nickelback sales during the peak of the music industry. That’s Creed. ‘Full Circle’ marks the reunion of Creed’s four original members, their first album together in a decade.

Turn-Ons: Creed hit the ground running in the fast lane with the assertive “Overcome”, barking with signature Mark Tremonti flair then settling into layer upon layer of dripping harmony. Producer Howard Benson really does a magical job of concealing that gritty, coarse redneck in Scott Stapp’s voice (think “YEAH!”). Thank(god)fully by doing so, “Overcome” comes kicking like an old school Pearl Jam tune, a bold statement proved by its bridge. The grand finale of “Overcome” is ravishing, as Stapp belts out a final cry of “overcome!” that melts into the song’s very first groove. Had Sevendust made a studio recording in 1998 (between their 1997 debut and 1999’s ‘Home’), it would most likely sound like “Bread of Shame”, another slugger that keeps Creed’s brass-knuckle modern-rock engine burning. Scott Phillips pays homage to fellow drum talent Morgan Rose, opening things up a bit from the second pre-chorus onward, then icing a smooth hi-hat/bass drum dance. The angelic and delicate guitar playing in “A Thousand Faces” guides Stapp’s husky yet determined delivery in and out of its wondrous choruses. Abound with genius key changes and dynamics, “A Thousand Faces” almost transcends Creed times, sounding as if you were set free like a bird into the sky each and every time. With a rhythmic pattern that copied the homework of Creed’s “One”, “Rain” is solid start at recapturing their top 40 fan-base. Although “Rain” is incredibly cheesy, the snap of Scott Phillips’s snare HITS, ala Matt Taul’s snare used on Tantric’s 2001 eponymous debut. Wow the riff from “Fear” is dirty. How could you not like something like that-a Tremonti meets Clint Lowery riff assault with triplets sprinkled in for good measure? “Fear” sizzles with a sort of bubbling-under-the-surface feel adding a cool dynamic. Lucky song seven loves to indulge, choosing choruses sweetly coated with early 90’s pop and a bridge that can’t say no to a tall, ice cold, crisp, refreshing drink from Creed’s fountain of youth, which is pretty much as good as that sounds. “Fear” is an unquestioned standout of ‘Full Circle’, with a sleeper chorus that you should not…. Creed decide to rock the title track of ‘Full Circle’ like emcees, throwing down a deep pocket of syncopated groove and glamorous, melodic mood that keeps you bouncing hypnotically. “Full Circle” is poetically gifted, and while it may not have rhymes, it certainly captures luminous chemistry between Tremonti and the two Scotty’s. And Brian’s bass keeps the song’s rolling flowing, never slowing, always going, like the name of this song, “Full Circle” stays strong all along.

Turn-Offs: “Suddenly” is just average, as Scott Stapp’s caterwauling of “my breath!” does nothing but help sink the ship faster. I know what Creed are trying to do with “On My Sleeve”-create a faux-epic rock tune aided by symphony and woven with dramatics and theatrics. But at the end of the day, Creed’s take on things do little to excite. The neat ambiance of “Time” was unfortunately washed away in the wave of Scott Stapp’s brutal delivery early on, a loss that arrived too soon before the 3:35 mark of “Time” to really matter actually. Picking on the single, I must say that the “Oh me!” belted out by Stapp in “Rain” at the bridge’s end is the only disastrous vocal moment he has on “Full Circle”. However with “Away in Silence”, Creed and The Great S. Stapp force us to relive that hideous image we’d all love to forget-Stapp, standing one-leg out at the edge of a windswept cliff at sunset, singing basically anything. So, with that in mind, beware your steps through “Away in Silence”, a track surprisingly worth dealing with for the sexy snare drum sound; for a little bit.

King: “Full Circle”

Queen: “Overcome”

FAIL: “Away in Silence”

Cool Points: Scott Phillips is one of the most underrated yet most skilled drummers out there. Not only are his accents precise, his triple strokes are flawless, and his sense of rhythm is enviable. Mark Tremonti makes a statement for himself on “Full Circle”, proving he not only wants to be heard as a great guitarist but as a great songwriter too. Howard Benson has been spitting out albums at a dizzying pace the past couple years. Not to fear, as “Full Circle” is easily one of Benson’s best works from 2009 proving there’s no slowing down for the self-proclaimed “king of ballads”.

Moral of the Story: I think a lot of people either don’t realize (or won’t realize) that underneath all the negative stigmas and stereotypes that come with being an international sensation, Creed were and are a really tight band. And now that the dust has settled and Creed has much of the spotlights of their past turned the other way, you’ll be able to hear Creed as they do-a group of four talented musicians that jams the hell out of twelve great rock tunes collectively titled ‘Full Circle’.

TuneLab Rating: 9.5 out of 10