Track by Track: Extreme - Six (2023)

Extreme-Six is the long-awaited sixth album by the Boston hard rockers, who have been away from the scene for 15 years. 

1) "Rise"
An explosive riff and a blistering solo by guitarist Nuno Bettencourt, with the usual stunning performance. The song would be not bad without that "ohohohoho" in the chorus and without tons of autotune (that we know for sure Gary Cherone doesn't need). 55/100

This was released as a single and it features another great riff by Nuno and a contagious, overall mood. I like the chorus, this time, more natural and punchy. Another great solo (in a duet with Gary, during the first part), but it's not a surprise. This is a good one! 70/100 

3) "Banshee"
Previously released as a single, along with the one above, the song has a catchy chorus and it sounds very Extreme (the band) to my ears, and not so many songs sound like that, unfortunately. Another very cool song. 70/100

4) "Other Side of the Rainbow" 
This is a mid-tempo track that shows the softer side of the band. It's about taking chances on love after a fall. This is a very simple song, somewhat pop, but I don't dislike it at all. There is a "Freddie Mercury" part at 2.10, and the usual quality solo by Nuno. 68/100

5) "Small Town Beautiful" 
This a sweet acoustic ballad that features Cherone and Bettencourt performing a duet, like good old times. They take turns on lines in the verses and spin together in harmony on the choruses. The song is about finding beauty in simplicity and appreciating what one has. Maybe a little too long but overall not bad, with a very catchy chorus. 67/100

6) "The Mask"
Gary Cherone getting deep and dark on the vocals on this one (the verses sound a little strange, to be honest). The song is about hiding one's true self behind a mask, and has a brooding tone to it. Bettencourt adds some crunch to the guitar sound, while Kevin Figueiredo drives the rhythm with his drums. This is probably my favourite track of the album, with a great chorus. 75/100

7) "Thicker than Blood" 
This is a funky modern one that blends guitar riffing with synthesizers, creating a thick and rich sound, but too modern for my taste (the second verse...). The song is about loyalty and friendship, and has Cherone delivering some rap-like vocals in the verses. The chorus is catchy, with some harmonies by bassist Pat Badger. Honestly I don't want to hear Extreme with this sound (despite the solo sounding beautiful) and the song is overall well written. Am I too old? 62/100

8) "Save Me"
Well, I definitely don't want to hear Extreme sound like the first 53 seconds of this song. The verses and all the guitars are very good but the backing vocals are definitely too pop for my taste. No, thank you. 50/100

9) "Hurricane"
This is another ballad about facing a storm in one's life and hoping for better days ahead. The song features strings that build the drama around the emotion, while Cherone and Bettencourt sing together in harmony again. A very simple track, very relaxed and with a very simple arrangement (who said "More than words?"). A different track, with great vocals. 66/100

10) "X Out" 
One of the most experimental tracks on the album, with an Eastern-flavored vibe and a strong electronic pulse. The song is about crossing out the negativity and finding peace within oneself. It sounds like a different band compared to the track before, and definitely, it doesn't sound like "Extreme". 30/100

11) "Beautiful Girls"
This is a ska-inflected novelty that covers the lyrical territory of the Van Halen song of the same name.  Am I listening to the same album? It sounds like a very bad pop song on the radio to my ears. This second half of the album is a mess and this is by far the worst on their catalogue, in my opinion. 10/100

12) "Here's to the Losers"
Another ballad that celebrates the underdogs and misfits who never give up on their dreams. Finally real instruments, a simple arrangement and overall an enjoyable song. Some fresh air, I was dying. 69/100

Extreme - Six is a very strange album with very cool songs and songs I don't want to listen to anymore in my life. In my opinion, with a more old style production and without at least 3 songs (check the rating if you want to know which one) it would have been a very good album, but for my taste, unfortunately, it's not.

Overall Rating 60/100

Giovanni Gagliano

Passionate about music I wrote my first article for "Given To Rock" in 2012, reaching now 30K global followers. I am also a musician, gigging around London.

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