25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
The welcome return of the voice of Creed,
This review is from: The Great Divide (Audio CD)
Last year, Creed-one of the biggest bands in rock at the time-made a shocking announcement: they were breaking up. More specifically, Scott Stapp was leaving while the rest of the band reformed as Alter Bridge. Rumors flew like crazy with blame thrown to both sides of the camp. Stapp's strange behavior in recent concerts had gotten so out of hand that fans in one city actually sued the band for their money back, claiming Stapp collapsed on the stage in a drunken stupor. It seemed like they had all hit rock bottom. Parting seemed the logical option, though no real reason was ever given beyond "creative differences".
Then something miraculous happened. Fans of Creed's music had often commented on the spiritual message throughout their lyrics, most always written by Stapp. Was Creed a closet Christian band? No, but Stapp always acknowledged his Christian upbringing. Even though he admits he wasn't a Christian at the time, he always knew there was something more out there. After the breakup of the band, Stapp took a hard look at his life and found what he'd been searching for in God. After announcing his plans to make a solo record, fans clamored for information on it. The record company kept their fingers crossed as their biggest act now became two separate entities. Alter Bridge's record met with moderate success and sounded like Creed musically, but was weak lyrically. Now almost two years after Creed's last concert, Scott Stapp has released The Great Divide, and it was worth the wait.
I don't think you could have hoped for a more honest record. Stapp has said this was sort of a concept album of the past few years of his life, and it's easy to see that theme. You know you're in for a great ride when the opening lyrics of the first song (Reach Out) are:
Welcome friends I have nothing to hide
The journey's end has left a mark inside,
I'm sure you've heard the rumors, jealousies, and all the lies,
I do not fear you
Do you fear me?
This will end...
Stapp wastes no time with pretenses. Each song gets progressively better, detailing an overall message of hope.
Don't think the whole record is happy songs though. "Hard Way" gives a possible insight into the "behind the scenes" of the breakup. Stapp sings "So what am I supposed to do when all I've got is God and you? I guess I'll trust the One I can't see."
Make no mistake, this CD rocks. The title cut is the first single and it's easily as strong as Creed's "My Sacrifice" or "Higher". The chorus is built for radio and it only takes one listen to love it. He sings:
You set me free, to live my life,
You became my reason to survive the great divide
The cd ends on a quiet song, Broken, which could almost seem a strange way to close things out on such a rocking album, but it fits perfectly with the overall message of the project.
One more question, I know time is dear
Is what the world speaks of love really real?
The answer's not of this world but very clear
Look above find love and you'll find eternal life.
So lyrically, this is as good as anything Creed ever put out. Musically? Well, that's hard to say. Stapp's new band isn't trying to sound like his old one, and that's a plus. Mark Tremonti's is a hard act to follow on guitar, but Aristides Rincon and John Curry do a great job holding their own. The alternate tuning intros aren't as frequent as the old days, but fans of Stapp's group work shouldn't be disappointed. It's not Creed, but the sound is close enough to satisfy fans hoping for something similar.
The only down side to the CD is the strange choice of vocal mixing on the first few songs. Stapp's voice sounds like it was put into the mix raw with no reverb of any kind. It's kind of jarring in some places compared to the fullness of his other releases. Also, the band is toned down a lot in a few songs, and while I understand this is a solo record, we're used to guitars being strong in other groups so they seem almost timid at times.
Scott Stapp's solo debut is a winner. He's shown himself again to be an incredible songwriter, able to handle the spotlight on his own. This easily falls into one of my top five records of this year and I can't wait to see where Scott takes the journey from here.