[HOT TRACK]Creed cranks out another pearl

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[HOT TRACK]Creed cranks out another pearl

"We're a band that functions really well under pressure, and the only pressure we recognize is our own," said Scott Stapp, the front man for the rock band Creed. So what pressure does this often-mistaken-for Pearl Jam band put on itself? The band seems religiously driven to succeed, and exudes self-confidence. Its first two albums, though not especially liked by critics, were indeed big commercial successes.

Creed's third release, "Weathered," is also selling well, having debuted recently at the top of Billboard charts in the United States. The disk distributed in Korea includes two bonus videos.

The Florida-based trio of Stapp, the guitarist and bassist Mark Tremonti and the drummer Scott Philips began playing together in 1995. Its first record, 1997's "My Own Prison," revived the story of grunge music, which seemed by then a finished chapter. Grunge, with roots in Seattle bands from the early 1990s like Nirvana and Pearl Jam, mixes punk and rock, but usually includes a disdain for commercial success.

Creed is considered by many to be a Christian band. Its lyrics, rich with spiritual themes, terms and vocabulary, support that conjecture. But the band says that its music has nothing to do with Christianity. Still, you'd have to conclude that the three were especially attentive Sunday school students.

Creed says its music has matured since its last album, 1999's "Human Clay." Tremonti, who co-writes the group's songs with Stapp, said: "I think 'Weathered' is the most diverse, dynamic record we have written."

Creed's hit-making formula is based on establishing simple, powerful riffs, with Stapp's brawny vocals and Philips' drumming carrying the songs over the top. The recipe was exemplified in "Higher," from the second disk. On the latest album, the first single, "My Sacrifice," with its sharp yet emotion-charged groove, comes closest to reaching "Higher." Though a little heavier than the band's other hits, "My Sacrifice" is still the most listenable track on the album, and would appeal to music fans too young to remember grunge. Other tracks infused with the Creed spirit are "Stand Here With Me" and two that go easier on the drums: "Last Breath" and "Lullaby."

"We're older and more mature now and we've been through a lot, so we were looking to reflect that," Tremonti said of the new album. While Creed is on top of the grunge pile now, grunge bands don't tend to age well. The next round of pressure Creed places on itself will be to keep its spirits - as well as its sales - up.

by Chun Su-jin

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