Extreme (A&M) 1989
1. Little Girls" (3:45)
Humble beginnings for one of the more unique bands to come out of the 80's hair metal movement. Unlike most of the formula corporate rock bands coming out of the 80's, Extreme incorporate some elements of funk that give the music some distinction. As was the case with many of the more well known bands from the 80's hard rock/metal scene, Extreme offer up some firey guitar work. Nuno Bettencourt is an extraordinary shredder, but he also has a flair and charisma to his playing. Just check out the guitar solo in "Play With Me" or the guitar work in the funky "Smoke Signals". Likewise Gary Cherone has a charismatic vocal style that works well for the band. While Extreme's debut isn't my favorite of their catalog (that distinction goes to III Sides), it is nonetheless a very good album.
Extreme - Extreme II: Pornograffitti (A&M) 1990
Pornographiti is Extreme's second album and is a concept album based around the struggle to find genuine love in a sleazy, decadent society. The music is excellent; experimental, well-executed and displaying a good mizture of progressive and commercial elements. Nuno Bettencourt is a phenomenal guitarist. Unfortunately this album, and perhaps this band, will always be best known for the two acoustic-guitar-only hits, the number one ballad "More Than Words" and the full-band song "Hole Hearted." However, these two songs do not represent the musical experimentation and technicallity that is displayed on "Pornographiti."
Pat Travers sang on "Get the Funk Out". His voicecan be heard on the bridge leading into the chorus.
Extreme - III Sides to Every Story (A&M) 1992
Another concept album, this one broken into three "sides of the story" - "Yours," "Mine," "The Truth". While this album has it's share of commercial hard rock numbers, "III Sides" is more of a progressive rock album than a commercial rock or arena rock album. The album sports some fine songs: "Rest In Peace" displays both Bettencourt's technique and melodicism as a soloist, "Stop the World," a Queen-inspired melodic rocker, and the hook-laden "Warheads."
Extreme - Waiting for the Punchline (A&M) 1995
1. "There Is No God"
Every once and a while I will check out a few CD review sites before checking out an album. With this disc, I went to HeavyHarmonies.com to check out some of the fan comments and was surprised at the overwhelming negative and even nasty responses by those who claim to love their first few albums. Many were claiming that Extreme had converted to grunge and completely sold out their fans. Hmmmm, I am totally not hearing that. Perhaps "Waiting for the Punchline" was just not what the fans were expecting after the outstanding "III Sides to Every Story". Actually, I really don't think that "Waiting for the Punchline" is all that different, although perhaps not as inspired as the aformentioned disc. Despite the death blow that Nirvana put on 80's pop-metal and good time rock 'n roll, this disc contains plenty of meaty rockin' numbers. "Tell Me Something I Don't Know" brought thoughts of Led Zeppelin. Several tracks including "No Respect", "Evelangelist", and "Shadow Boxing" all recall that funk driven sound that made me like "III Sides" so much, although I do think that the chorus of "No Respect" was a bit to repetative. Nuno Bettencourt's guitar work remains to be among some of the best as well. So, I guess for someone like me who didn't have a preconceived notion of what the follow-up to "III Sides" would be, I can respect and enjoy this disc. Those who posted all the negative reviews on MelodicMetal.com are missing out on a pretty darn good disc. Unfortunately for Extreme this disc failed to gain them much commercial popularity and they broke up not long afterward with vocalist Gary Cherone going on to join the third incarnation of Van Halen.