Full Circle

Written by: PP on 07/01/2010 02:09:58

Creed are my guilty pleasure, if you can even call a post-grunge band that in the first place. A lot of people give them shit simply because they used to be the epitome of the Christian rock movement, spearheading a bunch of similar bands to mainstream success selling tens of millions of records in the process. Their music may be overly simple post-grunge and the members are probably only in it for the cash, but arguing against the quality of "Human Clay" and "Weathered" is just plain stupid. These albums contain some of the biggest rock hits of modern times, songs that everyone recognizes and songs that sold over 35 million copies of their albums combined. Nonetheless, it was with mixed feelings that I received the news of Creed re-uniting and releasing a new album, "Full Circle", their first since "Weathered" in 2001. And I was right to suspect that the band isn't able to live up to their past glory.

"Overcome", the lead single, opens up the record with a far more aggressive stance than we're used from these soft post-grungsters, a notion which continues throughout the whole record, probably as a result of Alter Bridge. Scott Stapp's grungy vocals haven't changed that much, but the instrumentals now lie halfway between in a spectrum where Creed is in one extreme and Alter Bridge is in the other. This translates to slightly more complicated guitar riffs than on their previous albums, although they're still completely devoid of the magnificence of most Alter Bridge tracks, giving away a dumbed-down feeling in comparison. But then again, Creed's riffs have always been effective precisely because they are simple. It has been more about the crunch than the actual content within the guitars, so to say. Which leads me to my next point. There are no megahits on this record. No "Higher"s, "With Arms Wide Open"s, "My Sacrifice"s, "One"s and so forth. Only a couple of second-tier tracks, with "Overcome", "Rain", "On My Sleeve", and "Away In Silence" being the strongest tracks. The latter two in particular bat the ball far enough for a homerun, but just before reaching home base, the runner stumbles down. They are the tracks that sound most like the older Creed material, but fall just short of the capability to turn around millions of people to the record store in these dire times. While there are a few decent cuts aside from these, the sad truth is that the rest fail to make an impression on the listener. They are too forgettable to make a difference, maybe because when Creed goes heavy....well, do I even need to justify myself here?

In the end, all signs on "Full Circle" suggest that someone initially laid a pile of cash in front of these guys to reunite, they refused, but the pile kept increasing and increasing until the old saying finally proved itself correct: everyone has a price. Which is why large sections of the record sound boring and uninspired in comparison to the band's past efforts. It's a prime example of the shoot-yourself-in-the-foot thinking plagueing major labels that are ran as businesses rather than record labels. The idea of reuniting a band who sold 35 million records in the past and somehow convincing yourself that they'll be able to shift the same amount today is borderline insane. It's just not gonna happen because thanks to the internet, the people have so much more music to choose from, and wallet content is limited. With only 200k sales since its release in October, "Full Circle"'s sales are modest to say the least (comparison: Fall Out Boy sold 150,000k on first week alone with their "Folie A Deux"), so my prediction is that the the band will put out one more album that's almost certainly going to suck before disbanding for good. After that, Alter Bridge will resume and put out another sublime album.


Download: On My Sleeve, Away In Silence, Overcome
For the fans of: Alter Bridge, Staind, Hinder, Theory Of A Deadman
Listen: Myspace

Release date 27.10.2009
Wind-Up Records

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