By the time the double-kick drums and blast beats explode on the new Creed album, I already needed to change my pants. Scott Stapp has apparently traded in his comical singing voice for guttural screams and Cookie Monster-grunting this time around. With their ‘reunion’ album Full Circle, Creed has undergone a transformation. Instead of the wussy radio-rock posturing they’ve been known for all those years, they have returned with a revamped sound, and it REALLY caught me off guard. I guess they grew tired of all the horrific clone bands they inspired (Theory of a Deadman, Nickelback, Crossfade, etc.) and decided to try to kick all our asses this time around.
Okay, okay, maybe not.
I just had to start this review in a way that amused me. This is Creed. We all know what that means. The songs will have buzzy guitars and Scott Stapp’s pompous macho posturing and incredibly irritating voice. And HEY, guess what? Those are all over this record.
I wonder why this record is called ‘Full Circle’….because no one gave a shit about Stapp’s solo album the Great Divide, and thus he had to come back to the band (i.e. come ‘full circle’) that somehow put him on the map? Because somehow Alter Bridge sucked more than Creed in the first place? The mind boggles.
This album actually starts off pretty well. Lead single Overcome sounds oddly familiar, maybe because it’s so damn formulaic, but it’s still a pretty solid song. And, oh yeah, it probably represents how Creed was able to overcome odds and critics/haters and record a new album. I get it.
Bread of Shame confused me at first, too. The guitar work by Mark Tremonti is SO down-tuned that it sounds somewhat Korn-esque, which is never really the kind of association I’d expect to make with this band. The guitar in this song reminds me of the riffage in Korn’s Did My Time. Bread of Shame is pretty much the hardest-rocking Creed song I’ve ever heard. It’s sludgy and dark, and the powerful chorus also sounds a bit Soundgarden-ish. Needlesss to say this song REALLY surprised me, and it’s a solid cut.
Of course, just when it might sound like I’m giving this album a positive review, I get reminded tenfold just how much it all sucks. I just can’t take Stapp seriously, because, well, he’s SCOTT STAPP, the guy who was so wasted onstage that fans tried suing the band for a bad performance. Oh, and he lost a fight with 311 (a band of stoners) in a hotel bar.
I remarked to my roommate “this would ALMOST be pretty cool hard rock music if it wasn’t Scott Stapp-affiliated”. That’s how much it detracts from the songs to me.
Just when I was almost convinced this was a new Creed with hard rocking songs and an edge, A Thousand Faces came along and puked all over my expectations. This is a typical sappy midtempo Creed tune, probably primed for FM radio play (if that even exists anymore). Blah blah blah, boring.
Time is unlistenable, insipid dreck, even compared to Creed’s usual toxic waste dumps of music. Stapp’s voice in this one is completely ridiculous and even more over the top than usual, with James Hetfield-ian flourishes like “this time-AHH I have nothing left to lose…I’m stuck, the second hand won’t move, it’s about time that I speak my mind-AHH”, and so on. Whereas Hetfield’s voice is funny and badass, Stapp’s little vocal spasms are just irritating.
I avoided doing a track-by-track review of Full Circle because I couldn’t get all the way through some of these songs. Creed’s just so damn boring. I’ll be completely honest: I do like a few songs from their career, such as What If, One Last Breath, and Higher (because I associate it with baseball games), but for the most part their songs are just too dramatic. Stapp sings with such an overly dramatic voice that pronounces every syllable with such a ridiculous overzealousness that it just ends up sounding silly. Tremonti’s guitar work is consistently impressive, but it all gets bogged down in the band’s muddled self-importance.
This album started off well, after the first two tracks I thought this might actually be a startling change of direction for Creed into a new, much more badass sound. Alas, these hopes were dashed as the other songs on the record are exactly what people would expect a Creed album to sound like.
In closing, I didn’t ever think the world would see a new Creed record. When the band broke up a few years ago I figured that was it, mainly because Stapp became a joke and the other guys seemed to be over it. Well, they’re back, and I’m not sure if anyone cares, since I’ve barely heard anything about this album at all. But it’s out now, and it’s just as unnecessary as one would expect.
I can see this album selling well in Wal-Marts, right next to the Daughtry and Nickelback records and 5 dollar DVD’s, in one big retail vortex of suck. I bet these people will buy five copies each.
I actually hope this record does moderately well – if it doesn’t, it might drive Stapp back to making another solo record, and the world needs that EVEN LESS than it does a new Creed album.
But yeah, Full Circle is pretty lame. No real shock there.