Ralphy's C.D. Reviews

Review date 14-12-1999: Creed - C.D. Human Clay

Finally I've found one again. You know what I mean. You hear a CD for the first time and you immediately fall in love with it. It was awhile ago for me (Lemon Parade - Tonic, Cocoon Crash - K's Choice), but "Human Clay" by Creed is such an album for me. But before I go on with my praise, let's tell a bit about Creed. Creed is a Florida-bred foursome who play a powerful sort of (hard) rock. The songs are written by vocalist Scott Stapp and guitarist Mark Tremonti, who used to be old high school acquaintances. After losing touch after graduation they both ended up in Tallahassee again, where they eventually formed a quartet together with Scott Phillips (drums) and Brian Marshall (bass), who came up with the name Creed. They originally released their first album "My own prison" on an own label, but later in 1997 they reissued it on their present major label and it went multi-platinum in the States. For most American music lovers this is by now common knowledge, but in Europe they did not have their real breakthrough yet, so therefore some info. I myself came in touch with their music through a friend (Barry H.) and although I liked their first CD "My own prison" I thought they would be just another US-rockband who (sadly) wouldn't make it in Europe. Again through Barry H. I got their new album "Human Clay" and this time I was definitely blown away by their music.

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This album just rocks from start to finish with the searing Metallica-like guitars (Barry H. stated "They could very easily play metal", Thank God they don't) and the tantalizing vocals and lyrics of Scott Stapp. It starts with the perfect opener "Are you ready (for what's to come)?", which not only warns you (in a good way) for the rest of the album, but also addresses the issue that everyday you can throw of your mental chains and make the lifestyle change you always wanted. The terrific first single "Higher" at first seems to support the use of drugs, but no such thing. It is clearly about trying to make this world "higher" i.e. better, so you won't have to use mind-altering substances to escape from it. In the second single (in the making) "What if" Stapp seems to strike back to those who judged him unfairly in his past, while in the beautiful "Beautiful" he tells that a beautiful appearance isn't always a guarantee for a beautiful inside. "Say I" is the song from which the album title erupts and could be about the desert storm war and the order-following mentality of soldiers, but that's probably my own interpretation. "Never die" and "Young grow old" deal with the issues of growing up and "Wrong way" and "Inside us all" as well as the before mentioned two are also about the search for the right choice, to do the right thing, so to say. Btw the instrumental intro's of "Beautiful" and "Wrong way" do sound a bit alike, but who cares in the presence of so much gripping sounds. "Faceless man" is about the struggle with your own conscience and people who want to see Creed as a religious band (of which there seem to be a lot) would say that the "Faceless man" in the song could be God, but I won't. "Wash away those tears" seems to deal with some sort of child abuse, probably incest. You see this band isn't afraid to tred on shady ground and really deals with important social issues in their lyrics, but if you don't care about that their songs also have gripping melodies and as I said before just rock. I left one song out of my list, that's because I wanted to save the best for last. "With arms wide open" is a beautiful personal ballad and describes the feelings a man (Scott Stapp) has when he gets to hear that he will be a father. Every song on this album is worth listening and to me "Human Clay" is THE album of 1999. It won't surprise anyone if I rate this album with an 8.5 .

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