Full Circle – Album Review

Full Circle

After the release of Creed’s 2001 album Weathered, it looked like this was going to be the end of the post-grunge band but, 8 years later, Scott Stapp and Mark Tremonti reformed the band for a fourth album: Full Circle.

While said album didn’t receive the standing ovation that their first two outings enjoyed and received about as many mixed reviews as Weathered, it was still a full-on comeback with the band firing on all cylinders.

But there hasn’t been a follow-up yet, save for a Scott Stapp solo album, so was the album just not good enough to warrant another? Or is it mostly just a case of the band being too broken to literally get their act together?

The first single “Overcome” opens the album in an appropriately explosive way. Fans of the band should have been pretty satisfied with this comeback track which included a shamelessly catchy chorus and even a “Stapp rap” which the singer somehow pulls off without making a fool of himself. It’s a commercial track but a cool track all the same.

“Bread Of Shame” follows with an initially messy, off-beat guitar beat which ends up working surprisingly well when the vocals and the chorus kick in. It’s a very heavy track clearly designed for going nuts at live shows. Incidentally, it is followed by a much softer track.

“A Thousand Faces” boasts a genuinely beautiful melody and, all in all, it’s a bittersweet, heartfelt track which may just be the album’s highlight. The song goes in an unexpected direction towards the end before the terrific chorus kicks in one last time.

A heavy riff then kicks in as next track “Suddenly” begins. There’s a Middle-Eastern vibe to the chords in this one and we soon get another catchy, powerful chorus which makes the song. A clever key change halfway through also helps keep it worthwhile throughout. “Rain” is next and it’s a softer, more chilled-out track which certainly sounds closer to Christian rock, a subgenre Stapp would later embrace fully, of course. Though the song has an admittedly appealing chorus, this is still one tame, cheesy effort.

The sixth track, “Away In Silence”, starts off slow but hooks you in thanks to a catchy melody. This is another poppier, more commercial track but it’s pretty enough to still be likeable, though fans of the band’s heavier material might start to lose patience. Not for long, though, since we’re soon back to rockier stuff with “Fear”, an energetic but rather shapeless track which is nevertheless kept afloat by some good glammy guitar work and a solid chorus.

A strong contender for best song on the album has to be “On My Sleeve”, a moodier song with some hugely creative guitar moves, a kickass melody with a softer, yet still effective, break and a powerful chorus. Arguably one of the band’s all-time standout tracks. Title track “Full Circle” opens with a chilled bluesy riff which ultimately leads us to a solid chorus. It’s an optimistic, personal song about how the band finally got back on track but, ironically, it sounds more like a Puddle Of Mudd song than anything else.

I guess there’s worse bands to sound like!

Track number 10, which is simply called “Time”, is more melancholic but although the chorus is admittedly poetic, the song ends up sounding way too emo for its own good. “Good Fight” is a more entertaining but much messier track with a heavy chorus. The main problem with this one is it’s not too memorable. Finally, we have “The Song You Sing”, which is probably the closest Creed have come to a folk song with its acoustic riff. The track and its chorus seem to criticise artists who sing pointless songs with no message. This makes the track come off as a bit preachy but its point is not untrue.

Following the underrated Weathered this many years after was always going to be a challenge but Full Circle does a good job at reminding us why some of us liked Creed back in the day: Tremonti’s inventive riffs, Stapp’s unique tones.

The album itself may be a little uneven and unfocused at times but it’s got some good tracks in there, some of which are right up there with the band’s best work so if you like Creed, there’s a very good chance you’ll enjoy this one.

That’s a high 3 Happy Cobains out of 5 for Full Circle.

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