Extreme – Six : A Review28th June 2023
Now listen here, folks. If you don’t like, what you see here then I formally request that you get the funk out. Aha, see what I did there? I’ll be here all week.
15 years after their last collaborative effort, Extreme is back and are better than ever question mark???
Six is the bands…… *checking notes……. The sixth album and the lineup of Gary Cherone (vocals), Nuno Bettencourt (guitar/keyboards), Pat Badger (bass), and Kevin Figueiredo (drums) are trying to convince you that there is still more to them than the song that shall not be named. So is it any good? Find out my opinion by reading on.
Now I’ve never been the biggest Extreme fan. True, I bought Pronograffiti but I was 12 so what else would you expect? I had great fun saying funk instead of (expletive deleted).
However, after that first taste, I didn’t keep up. I knew about Nuno Bettencourt and I often heard about Gary Cherone playing with other bands but my tastes had moved on. I had grown up.
Then, a few short months ago, one of my favorite youtubers, Rick Beato, featured a video about a new Extreme song and a solo by Nuno Bettencourt, then straight after Justin Hawkins (of the Darkness) also did a video on the same solo, so I checked it out. And yes, I was blown away by the solo on ‘Rise’. It is incredible. But one solo does not make a summer. So what does the rest of the album sound like? How would you define a band that hasn’t been producing music for 15 years? That had so much success with a ballad? Hmmm, it’s a tough one.
So to my surprise when I started listening I got a few nice moments to call out. I’ll save those solos for later in the review, but for now, this is a decent rock album. It didn’t blow me away, but it also kept me pretty much engaged throughout.
One of the main highlights for me is a song called ‘X Out’. A bit of a different song compared to the rest of the album, still rock, but it has weird elements that you won’t expect.
‘The Mask’ was another I liked but wasn’t expecting. It is relatively straight forward but that is sometimes good. It has a blues feel that underlies everything else and provides that firm bottom to a song that is often lacking these days.
Here is the video to ‘Banshee‘ which reminds me of the early 2000’s.
There is more than 1 “slow” ballad-y type song on the album. I was going to say they are not as saccharine as MTW, but I don’t know… ‘Small Town Beautiful‘ gets awfully close. Ballads are not always my cup of tea and these are no different. ‘Here’s to the Losers’ has a genuinely good message, but the chanting doesn’t do anything for me. I think I’m just too cynical these days.
Let’s talk about Nuno
Is there a more naturally gifted guitarist out there right now that is at the top of their game? Yes, Steve Vai, Paul Gilbert, etc. However, I put it to you that Nuno Bettencourt has never been better than he is on this album.
There are moments where you just have to doff your cap and acknowledge not only the skill in being able to play as he does but to accept the mind that creates incredible solos. However, does every solo fit the song?
Well, to me, no. For example let’s discuss ‘Rise‘ a decent tune, a catchy chorus but a bit too much like Imagine Dragons to be anything serious for me. However, that solo (expletive deleted) wow. It is properly incredible, like one of the best examples of pure shredding I can remember in a long time. But it doesn’t fit the song. You know it’s coming up and when it hits it is a real wow moment, but it doesn’t follow with the rest of the song, it is completely different and doesn’t work.
However, the bluesy solo on ‘Banshee‘ really works well within the context of the song. It isn’t a complicated tune, so having a ridiculous solo wouldn’t fit, and what Nuno produces for this song works really well.
So what is the solution? I don’t know, I can barely play the fool let alone shred like a madman. For the time being, I will just continue enjoying the shredding for what it is and if it takes me out of the rest of the song, so be it.
This is a decent comeback album, Nuno is Nuno, however, I wasn’t blown away by any single track, but I quite liked a few of them. However, there were just a few too many moments where I wasn’t engaged enough to give it a higher score.
- Other Side of the Rainbow
- Small Town Beautiful
- The Mask
- Thicker Than Blood
- Save Me
- X Out
- Beautiful Girls
- Here’s to the Losers
Label – Absolute
Release – 9th June 2023