Creed has been absent from the rock world for five years, a personality-rift-imposed hiatus having effectively dismantled a unique band. They return to us now with the offering Full Circle, it's title indicating they've taken a journey back to where they used to be musically and are ready to head forward. Does Full Circle deliver?
On their other outings (1997's My Own Prison and 1999's Human Clay especially), Stapp and company had presented messages of hope and positivity in songs that felt like they had a very large canvas. On Full Circle, the band feels a little jaded. The album is one of plaintive regrets, full of songs that go on about loss, redemption, hope, and atonement. And that does give birth to some good songs.
Their return is announced by the first track, "Overcome," wherein the band tells us all that they are "entitled to overcome." True enough, as long as they do overcome what broke them down and they come out stronger. The song has a good rock anthem sound to it, but is a tad self-righteous. I don't mind skipping this song at all.
However, the second track "Bread of Shame" – this has what is classic Creed to me; it's kind of murky, with heavy guitar, and throbbing bass. Drummer Scott Phillips has always liked to use the bell on his cymbals (at least, that's what I remember) and I like the baleful character that imbues a song with. He uses them again on this track. It has a chorus that makes you go, "what?" but still sing along.
The standout track seems to be "Rain." It wraps all those plaintive feelings noted earlier into a very marketable song. It's worth listening to a few times and the lyrics seem to stay with you. Again, Phillips gives this song a good tempo, with quick bass/snare attacks.
Marketable may be a good way to describe Creed's latest. For some that may be a turn off. It's not as murky or rough or odd as the first two records, but that quality is there. The songs just have a better structure this time. Creed has matured as far as production and arrangement is concerned.
Of course, I do think that Full Circle is about five songs too long. It starts to feel like they are trying to convince us, by sheer repetition, that the sentiments expressed in the songs are worthy and true. It gets boring, basically. It ends with the song "The Song You Sing" and the band asks if the song they sing inspires us to sing along.