After a 15-year studio hiatus, Extreme crashes back onto the rock scene with ‘Six,’ a beast of an album that’s not just a comeback but a full-blown rock revolution. It’s heavy, man, packed with the kind of massive, face-melting riffs that remind you why you fell in love with rock ‘n’ roll in the first place. This album is a milestone in their journey, perfectly blending their legendary past with a fresh, raw energy that’s electrifying.
Nuno Bettencourt is more than a guitar prodigy; he’s a six-string sorcerer, conjuring riffs that are nothing short of supernatural. And Gary Cherone? The guy’s a dynamo on stage, a frontman who grabs the crowd by the soul and doesn’t let go. I’ve been front and center for their shows three times this year, and let me tell you, each performance is a high-voltage rock ‘n’ roll ritual.
The rhythm duo of Pat Badger on bass and Kevin Figueiredo on drums isn’t just laying down the beat; they’re laying down the law, driving the band’s sound with a potency that’s downright otherworldly. Put these four guys together, and you’ve got more than a band; you’ve got a force of nature, a rock tsunami that sweeps you off your feet.
‘Six’ is Extreme’s declaration of rock immortality. It’s not just a nod to their roots; it’s a thunderous leap forward. They’ve taken their rich musical heritage, juiced it up with modern vigour, and unleashed something spectacular. If this album is a statement, then it’s a loud, clear, and unapologetic proclamation: Extreme is here, louder, prouder, and heavier than ever.
But let’s not get too carried away here. The packed house wasn’t just buzzing for the fresh cuts off ‘Six,’ even though we got a hefty serving of the new stuff. We’ve got to tip our hats to the unsung hero, ‘Three Sides to Every Story.’ This gem got the short end of the stick from their record label and got blindsided by the grunge wave, but it was the killer sequel to ‘Pornograffitti.’ You could even call it the ‘Operation Mindcrime’ of 90’s hair/ glam metal – a masterpiece that outshone anything their peers were dishing out at the time. They did this unsung hero justice with fiery renditions of ‘Cupid’s Dead’ and ‘Am I Ever Gonna Change,’ plus the ever-popular ‘Rest in Peace.’ I would’ve loved to hear a few more from that album,.but hey, they had to carve out room for six massive tracks from ‘SIX.’
‘Thicker,’ ‘Banshee,’ ‘#Rebel,’ ‘Hurricane,’ and the climactic encore with ‘Rise’ – each track a testament to Extreme’s relentless energy. But let’s zero in on ‘the solo’ from ‘Rise.’ This isn’t just a run-of-the-mill guitar solo; it’s a seismic event, the kind that hasn’t shaken the rock world since the era of Eddie Van Halen. It’s an absolute monster, snagging solo of the year – and for good reason.
Here’s where it gets tricky. With shredding of this magnitude, it’s a Herculean task to keep the songs themselves in the spotlight. Yet, Extreme manages to do just that. The solo in ‘Rise’ isn’t just a dazzling display of technical prowess; it’s an integral part of the track, woven in seamlessly. It’s about maintaining the essence of the song, ensuring that even with such jaw-dropping guitar work, the core of the track isn’t lost. It’s a balancing act, and Extreme walks this tightrope with the skill of seasoned rock veterans, proving that even amidst the most mind-blowing shredding, the song can, and does, remain king.
Other highlights in the set were a sludgy version of ‘Kid Ego,’ which made it much heavier, ‘Decadent Dance’ holding up nicely, and of course the hits ‘Hole-Hearted’ and a tender sing-along moment with ‘More Than Words.’
All in all, I can’t remember the last time I saw a band make a comeback with such energy, musicianship, and one hell of a solid album to tie it all together. Extreme took us back to the ’90s, but they catapulted us into 2023 with just the right amount of funk, sonically bombastic riffs, soaring vocals, bookended with emotion, and some of the finest shredding this side of the millennium.