Extreme: ‘Six’

Released on June 9, 2023 (earMusic)

Album of the year! Album of the year! That was seemingly all I was reading from various Facebook comments about Extreme‘s latest album Six when it first came out. I have to say the first three singles “Rise”, “#Rebel” and “Banshee”, which all got the video treatment, sounded pretty good. It seemed that Extreme had adopted and gone back to a more straightforward hard rocking sound (after the modern tinged and forgettable Saudades de Rock), or at least as straightforward as the band can muster. Extreme‘s third single “Other Side of The Rainbow” was a little too sappy and dull for my taste so I was a little hesitant to think that Six would indeed be the album of the year for 2023. In any case, and despite not being an Extreme fan (with the exception of their breakthrough sophomore album Extreme II: Pornograffitti), I decided to take the plunge and purchase Six. My first few listens had me wondering what everyone was smoking to think that Six was the record of the year. As I kept giving Six more chances, my conclusion is now that it’s a hit and miss affair with some songs really hitting the mark while others being nothing other than dreadful filler. In any case, Extreme‘s Six is definitely not the album of the year.

Let’s start off with the positive. If we were back 30 years ago and Extreme had released the song “Beautiful Girls”, it might just be their third hit single after “More Than Words” and “Hole Hearted.” Yeah, it’s that good. Surprisingly, Extreme had yet to release a video for the made for summer soundtrack “Beautiful Girls”. Interestingly, there are four other slower songs / ballads on the album Six consisting of “Other Side of The Rainbow”, “Small Town Beautiful”, “Hurricane” and “Here’s To The Losers”. All four of these slower songs / ballads are actually pretty good but when almost half your record consists of slower songs / ballads, it’s going to be tough to win the ‘Rock Album of the Year’. Frankly, this is just not the rocking album that I thought that I’d be getting after hearing the first two singles “Banshee” and “#Rebel.” I think Extreme‘s slower tracks would stand out a little more on Six if there were fewer of them. There are three slower tracks / ballads out of four songs to close out the record. It’s just too much. What made “Right Now” stick out on Van Halen‘s For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge album? The answer is that aside from it simply being an incredible song with that very cool piano intro, it was the only real slow track on the record. It stuck out.

Now, it’s time for the negative. Unfortunately, Extreme elected to put 12 songs on their new album Six. I get it. They hadn’t released a new studio album in 15 years so they likely had a lot of material this time around. However, it should have been easy to spot the duds in those final 12 songs that made the cut for Six. “X Out” is simply mind numbing. At first, when I heard the chorus section getting played out over and over again, I thought that the background vocals were stating “X Box, X Box” but after checking out the title, I realize that they’re stating “X Out, X Out.” In any case, I don’t like the modern sounds, the India like atmospheric vibe and the slowed down, mind numbing chorus section. This is the type of song that you wouldn’t even consider as a “B’ side. “Thicker Than Blood” is another lacklustre effort as it lacks melody and has too many modern elements for me to enjoy it. The song has potential but almost feels like an unfinished track where the melodies are just not finalized.

I can see why Van Halen decided to give Cherone a shot as lead vocalist back in the late ’90s given that he does possess a lot of versatility and he had experience playing with another excellent guitar player (Extreme‘s Nuno Bettencourt). Six is probably a better album than what Van Halen were able to come up with on Van Halen III while having Cherone as their lead singer and that’s not saying that much. Aside from “Beautiful Girls” and the first three more rocking tracks, the songs on Six are mostly forgettable and will likely not make their way onto Extreme‘s live setlist once they come up with another studio album. I must point out that as I forced myself to listen to Six multiple times for the purpose of this review, many of the songs started sounding better and better. That being said, had I not decided to review this album for Sleaze Roxx, I would have probably put it in my dust bin of never to be played again CDs after my first two or three listens. I don’t think that I’ll be revisiting Six anytime soon but I do know there’s at least one song (“Beautiful Girls”) that is worth seeking out if I do reach out to listen to the album.

Track List:
01. Rise
02. #Rebel
03. Banshee
04. Other Side of The Rainbow
05. Small Town Beautiful
06. The Mask
07. Thicker Than Blood
08. Save Me
09. Hurricane
10. X Out
11. Beautiful Girls
12. Here’s To The Losers

Band Members:
Gary Cherone – lead vocals
Nuno Bettencourt – guitars, vocals, keyboards
Pat Badger – bass, vocals
Kevin Figueiredo – drums

Additional Musicians:
Additional programming by Navene Koperweis
Additional programming and keyboards by Kevin Antunes
Additional background vocals by Carl Restivo and August Zadra
Additional guitars by Carl Restivo and Jordan Ferreira

Engineered and mixed by Nuno Bettencourt
Mastered by Patricia Sullivan

Band Websites:
Official Website

Reviewed by Olivier for Sleaze Roxx, July 2023

Extreme‘s “#Rebel” video:

Extreme‘s “Banshee” video:

Extreme‘s “Other Side of The Rainbow” video: