"There's a face I put on all my life: the face of an angel/But I look in the mirror only to find the face of a stranger/And with all I've taken I hunger for more 'cause I'm selfish/And all I'm left with is a crown of thorns and I'm helpless." — from "Find the Real"

Though fans of Creed might disagree, it was probably for the best that the grungy pop-metal trio decided to disband in 2004. According to ex-frontman Scott Stapp, the break-up was amicable, as the members felt the band was more or less played out, choosing to pursue new artistic endeavors. But has Creed really called it quits? Stapp may have indicated a willingness to reunite with his bandmates someday, but Creed essentially remains intact as Alter Bridge. Guitarist Mark Tremonti and drummer Scott Phillips have re-teamed with Creed's original bassist Brian Marshall, adding vocalist Myles Kennedy (formerly of Mayfield Four) to their ranks.

Despite the carryover in roster, what's particularly striking about Alter Bridge is its departure from the Creed sound, primarily due to the absence of Stapp's throaty vocal presence and identity. Kennedy, in contrast, sounds more like Chris Cornell of Soundgarden and Audioslave. The rest of Creed, I mean Alter Bridge, seem inspired by this, playing more like their early '90s grunge-metal roots than ever before, recalling classic Soundgarden and Pearl Jam. Tremonti's guitars are still heavy, yet strangely less bombastic, revealing a stronger guitarist than most critics are willing to admit. While Alter Bridge isn't quite as radio friendly as Creed was, some would say they're a better rock band than their former incarnation, not to mention the slew of neo-grunge soundalikes.

Of course, a good chunk of Creed's fanbase also connected ...

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