Extreme hit back with a vengeance, ripping off the mask and Hard Rocking like it’s 1992.
Release Date: 9th June 2023
Format: digital / CD / vinyl
An album that’s already had the critics purring, we had to investigate. A band who’ve been around a while, most recent in our memories from a stint at the Freddie Mercury tribute concert and their Pornograffitti and III Sides To Evry Story albums being the order of the day. Incidentally the day was the early Nineties so we’re taking night on thirty years gone!
What’s the score then with Extreme for 2023? How have they Summered over the ensuing years?
There’s an ensuing sense of released as Rise and #Rebel (check out Nuno’s fleet fingered dynamics on the solo) fly out of the blocks with a no frills, ass kicking attitude. It’s. acurtain raising declaration of an album with a set of songs with any fat neatly trimmed. Guitar hero Nuno Bettencourt, ably balancing the riffs and the gymnastics, and livewire frontman Gary Cherone lead the way on a series of four minute hand grenades, some of which explode, some of whcih give a friendly tickle.
Immediate commercial appeal comes with Other Side Of The Rainbow – one that via the radio waves and the social media, will rmeind the masses that Extreme is back. Along with showcasing a curveball Latino calypso bounce at the back end of the album withthe acoustic country ballad Small Town Beautiful and Hurricane where they channel some Eagles laid back cool, there’s some respite (or alternative) to the Hard Rock machine; the sofy underbelly getting some air before the Glam Rock beat of The Mask with Cherone getting deep and dark a la Nick Cave; the “we’re all sinners, we’re all saints” intro line sets up the tone for the lyric and a rather more brooding piece.
A reminder that Extreme always packed a hit of funk in their Hard Rock package, fizzing funk crosses swords with electronic bite on Thicker Than Blood. The same electronic influence kicks in with a strong pulse in the Eastern flavoured X Out that’s more about mood and feel and has Cherone imploring for “mercy on your wayward son.” As Nuno streches into a winding atmospheric solo, visions of the yellow desert sands of Kashmir hove into view. A grand piece that leads to a low key curtain call that laments Here’s To the Losers. You cannot win them all indeed – heck this could even be a Coldplay collaboration, lights in the air and all.
It brings a satisying conclusion to a return from a band too long gone. A heady variety of their oeuvre and there’s a welcome return to the stage for an encore.With it being 29 years ago Extreme were second on the bill to Aerosmith at the Monsters Of Rock (Donnington – Download to some) the Thicker Than Blood tour is set to head across the globe, hitting the UK in November/December 2023.
Here’s one of the lighter moments – Other Side Of The Rainbow: