Sound: Scott Stapp has earned a strong reputation as being a member of the alternative metal band Creed. His lead vocals have become a distinguishing factor of Creed's music, and with Stapp fronting the lineup alongside such names as Mark Tremonti and Brian Marshall the group has since gone on to release a number of critically acclaimed and commercially successful albums. Creed's debut album "My Own Prison" was a moderate success, and did well enough within the band's home state of Florida to fund the group's second studio effort. 1999's "Human Clay" was the album that brought Creed into the mainstream, spawning a number of hit singles including "Higher" and "With Arms Wide Open," the first of the two landing in VH1's Top 5 "Greatest Power Ballads" and the latter earning Creed a Grammy Award for Best Rock Song.
"Human Clay" has since been certified 11x Platinum within the United States alone, but marked the near yet not permanent end of Creed. The band would go on to release a third studio album in 2001, "Weathered," which similarly spawned six successful singles and selling over six million copies in the US. "Weathered" would be the last new material fans would hear from Creed until the group's reunion in 2009, as the band eventually disbanded. This was only the beginning for the members of Creed: former members Mark Tremonti, Brian Marshall and Scott Phillips would go on to form Alter Bridge with lead vocalist Myles Kennedy, who has since gone on to front Slash's most recent solo efforts.
As for Scott Stapp, he launched a brief yet still successful solo career. In 2005, Stapp released his debut solo effort, “The Great Divide”, which lyrically appeared to draw inspiration from Creed’s breakup and made for a somewhat awkward listening experience for fans who were themselves torn from the split. The album’s title track was a moderate success on the charts and earned some airplay, but it paled in comparison to Stapp’s multi-platinum efforts with Creed. For the next few years, Stapp would mostly tour off of his only solo album, only releasing the occasional U2 cover to Myspace. In 2009, Creed would once again reunite, and after doing so would record their comeback album, the appropriately titled “Full Circle”.
Most recently it was announced that Creed were working on new material for a fifth album, with Mark Tremonti and Scott Stapp reentering the studio. But it appears that progress on that new effort has come to a stop, and now that Alter Bridge is back on the road in support of their recently released album "Fortress," Stapp has decided to reactivate his solo career and release his first new solo album in over eight years. "Proof of Life" is a collection of eleven hard hitting compositions, and although it may not be exactly what fans of his work in Creed would probably expect, it stays true to the direction previously shown on "The Great Divide" only with a heavier edge. In fact, it would probably be safe to say this is the heaviest music fans have heard from Scott Stapp.
"Slow Suicide" is a solid lead single, bolstered by a dark guitar riff and Stapp's instantly recognizable vocals. The guitar playing on this track in particular is nothing groundbreaking, but lays down enough of a solid foundation to allow Stapp to take charge. // 7
Lyrics: Stapp's singing style is one of his album's consistent features which ties everything together. Whenever the instrumental side of "Proof of Life" falters, it's Stapp's singing which keeps the boat afloat. His voice is as strong as it ever has been, and in songs such as the album's title track he applies a sinister snarl which fits the drop D guitar tuning effortlessly. // 7
Overall Impression: Scott Stapp gives a solid return-to-form with his first new solo effort in eight years, "Proof of Life." While this new album is grantedly a much heavier, darker sounding effort from Stapp than what fans are accustomed to hearing from his earlier days in Creed, his menacing vocal delivery ties everything together and makes for a very interesting listening experience. // 7
- Lou Vickers (c) 2013