Finally! After 15 years we finally get to hear something new from the Boston based Extreme. Their sixth album, completed during the covid pandemic, has been released. Was it worth the wait? March on dear reader, and let’s explore this album in its unadulterated epicness to find the answer.

Extreme is made up of Gary Cherone on vocals, Nuno Bettencourt on guitars and keys, Pat Badger on bass, and Kevin Figueiredo on drums. The band has been around since 1985 and their first album dropped in 1989. 

Classification of Extreme is extremely difficult. They have recorded metal, funk, jazz, country, acoustic ballads, and instrumentals. They have much in common with another band hailing from England, their inspiration, Queen. And like Queen, Extreme is not relegated to one genre, but would rather record what they want and how they want it. And we are thankful that what they want is insanely great music (I know I use “insanely great” a lot in my reviews, but that is exactly what their music is).

SIX is the sixth album in a decade spanning career that saw a few lineup changes, hiatuses, detours, and other challenges. Does it reach the heights of Pornograffitti, reach the lyrical depth of III Sides To Every Story, or the crushing creativity of Saudedes de Rock? The answer is a resounding YES!

The album kicks off with their first single RISE. This is a clarion call, a challenge of sorts, for guitarists everywhere to try to match what Nuno does in this song. Nuno is one fire and the solo for this song is one for the ages. The song itself is a solid hard-rock song, but that solo shoots this thing into space!

The next two songs are also great hard-rock tracks with a slight funkiness to them. 15 years did not mellow this band out. But track four downshifts into a gorgeous ballad. OTHER SIDE OF THE RAINBOW starts with a 12 string guitar intro and slides effortlessly into the patented Extreme ballad magic. The next track stays firmly in ballad-land with what will probably be the soundtrack to many first dances at wedding receptions, SMALL TOWN BEAUTIFUL.

The back half SIX, is where Extreme gets to flex their creativity. These songs are awesome, strange, groovy, beautiful, and innovative. THE MASK is offbeat in all the best ways possible. This song should be on a Tarantino soundtrack. Following that is the groovetastic, synthwave influenced THICKER THAN BLOOD. Heavy in a Miami Vice music score manner, THICKER THAN BLOOD sounds amazing on a massive sound system with booming subwoofers.

SAVE ME has the band slipping into a more traditional hard-rock vibe. After the glorious vocal and guitar interplay of SAVE ME, Gary and Nuno attempt to recapture the More Than Words magic with the acoustic HURRICANE. And it is a gorgeous song.

X OUT is a stand out track. This song is like nothing Extreme has ever recorded. It has a heavy, almost dubstep, synth driving the verses forward in a slower tempo. Gary sings a mournful tune about being a prodigal and the suffering this brings. The seriousness of X OUT is relieved by the reggae influenced BEAUTIFUL GIRLS. Wow, nobody shifts gears like Extreme. They go from brooding heaviness to a song that would not be out of place in Margaritaville!

SIX closes out with the uplifting HERE’S TO THE LOSERS. This is an acoustic driven rock song similar to their Song For Love from their second album. This is a great anthem for giving it all, even if you don’t win.

So is SIX a good album? It’s Extreme, so of course it will be good. Is it a great album? YES, this is a standout release from a band that deserves all the coming accolades about this recording. 

The production is stellar. This has never been an issue with Extreme. Sonically, every one of their releases are a gold standard about how to record, mix, and present multiple parts across the audio spectrum. 

Instrumentation is killer as well. Nuno is one of the best guitarists playing today and he shows why. Pat Badger is a vastly underrated bass player but albums like this should get him the attention he deserves. Kevin Fig is a solid timekeeper that can slide from funk, to metal, to jazz, to whatever Gary and Nuno throw at him. Vocals are excellent as always. Nuno, Pat and Gary have always been able to harmonize and Gary hasn’t lost anything with his vocal attack.

So does Extreme belong in the pages of Heaven’s Metal Magazine? They are not a “Christian” band, nor have they ever claimed to be. But they offer up a particular lyric world view that is explored in this article. EXTREME: An Extremely Fascinating Worldview – Heaven’s Metal Magazine (heavensmetalmagazine.com). So yes, they belong here. They are often clearer in their message than many other Christian bands. So with a good conscience, buy SIX, crank it up, and say a prayer for these four wonderful musicians.

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