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Full Circle

To say that Creed had a lot to prove with this, their first album in eight years, would be an understatement and a half. After being one of the biggest bands of the late '90s (and their last album Weathered holding the #1 spot on the Billboard charts for a remarkable eight weeks), Creed collapsed in one of the most embarrassing ways possible, being sued by several concert goers after singer Scott Stapp was too intoxicated to properly sing at a 2002 concert. On top of that, the remaining members of the band went on to form Alter Bridge with the immensely talented Myles Kennedy on vocals, which probably left even less people itching for a Creed reunion.

But here they are anyway, and while Full Circle certainly does nothing to win over any of the band's previous haters, it's most definitely a step above their last outing, and a decent album overall. Following the powerhouse Myles Kennedy has only further magnified Stapp's limitations as a singer, but what he lacks in range he makes up for with conviction; although his lyrics are frequently heavy-handed and overblown, there's never a moment where he sounds like he doesn't completely believe in what he's singing. And while guitarist Mark Tremonti doesn't burn up the fretboard as much as he does with Alter Bridge, he remains in fine form throughout. The band also receives a slick sonic upgrade courtesy of producer Howard Benson and mixing engineer Chris Lord-Alge, and the frequent blending of acoustic and electric guitars gives this one a bit more dynamics than the typical Creed album (though the band will always have the subtlety of a sledgehammer).

There's a couple of forgettable, derivative rockers ("Bread Of Shame", "Suddenly") and at least one plodding, sappy ballad ("Away In Silence"), but overall it's a fairly solid collection of tunes, with "A Thousand Faces", "Time", and the title track being immediate highlights. If you hated this band before, you should probably still stay away. Fans of the band however (even those who haven't listened since 2001) should check this one out.


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