With their third album, Weathered, Creed have mastered the art of echo. Every good rock god knows you must piously render the name of the Lord with enough reverb to reach the ears of heaven. “Spiritual insinuation seems to shock a nation,” sings Scott Stapp on “Signs,” his vocals sweetened to the sugar-shock threshold, ensuring that his sermonic and woeful tales of persecution are pounded home from the pulpit. But it’s not Creed’s insinuation that has shocked but, rather, their head-over-heels spiritless sanctimony. This time around, Stapp has toned it down a bit (save for a few song titles—“My Sacrifice,” “Freedom Fighter”) while guitarist Mark Tremonti has pumped up their sound on tracks like the forceful “Bullets.” Stapp’s apparent Messianic complex could, of course, just be failure to communicate; the sweetly acoustic album closer, “Lullaby,” proclaims: “If there’s one thing I hope I showed you/Just give love to all.” Written in first person, the song’s message gets lost in the same hollow pit of obscurity as the band’s previously uplifting efforts. Like Human Clay‘s “Faceless Man,” the track “Who’s Got My Back” begins with a relatively restrained performance but predictably trumpets into Creed’s typical brand of testosterone-rock. However pretentious it may be, the 8-and-a-half minute epic proves Creed is at least mastering their own mess.
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