Next review: » Extreme - Take Us Alive
Released: 1990, A&M Records
Extreme are one of my favorite rock/metal bands of the late 80s to early 90s and one of those bands who left me wondering WHY they didn’t have more success. It’s too bad Extreme are most remembered for an acoustic ballad like “More Than Words”, since the song is one the band never really wanted to release as a single for the simple fact that they didn’t want a ballad to define who they are. Extreme was a unique band that had a strong melodic, groove-inspired sense of sound, sterling individual musical talent and knack for creating music that was eclectic, sometimes sarcastically biting but usually thoughtful. Another key element to the band was the chemistry that existed between Gary Cherone (vocals) and Nuno Bettencourt (guitars).
PORNOGRAFFITTI is a masterpiece of an album from start to finish. I’ve never been able to think of it as a concept album, but it’s always been understood that it was meant to be that. If it was, I never truly figured the concept out, I just enjoyed the hell out of this album and I still do. Bettencourt is one of the truly gifted and unique guitar players of the early 90s. He could riff with authority as illustrated on songs like “Li’l Jack Horny”, “Money” and “It’s (A Monster)” BUT his bread and butter was his ability to make a guitar sing. His creativity and talent are best shown on songs like “Decadence Dance”, and at the intro to “He-Man Woman Hater” where he lays down his own rendition of “Flight of the Bumblebee”. As for Cherone, his voice has a tremendous amount of range and his flair for the dramatic and witty delivery are top-notch. Not one iota of filler on the album and every song is a highlight, even the slower tracks like “When I First Kissed You”, “Song For Love” and, of course, “More Than Words.”
As for the band since the breakup ... we all know about what happened to Gary with Van Halen. I saw VH III live a few years back and let me just say, Gary is extremely talented, but he just wasn’t right for the band. Van Halen is too confined an environment for Gary’s talents. He is now fronting a band called Tribe of Judah, which is a band, I am ashamed to say, that I just haven’t heard yet. The band also features former Extreme members Pat Badger (bass) and Mike Mangini (drums). The original drummer, Pat Geary, is involved as well, as I have heard that he manages Tribe of Judah and nu-metallers Godsmack. As for Nuno, he leads a band called Mourning Widows that has released two albums. Again, I plead ignorance on this band as well. Guess I’ve got a couple of things to look into for next month’s reviews!
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