Extreme is back… and they’re every bit as good as you remember them, if not better!

The music video for their latest single, “Rise,” has already gained more than one million views on YouTube since March 1, 2023, as of this writing.

It’s been a busy week for killer new music and momentous events, and I can’t wait to talk more about that, but we’ll get there. Today, let’s look at Extreme’s new single, “Rise.”

The Song

I had the same reaction everyone else did when I first heard this song… is this even an Extreme song?!

This is a long way from their “funk metal” roots. Then again, their debut album was still a way off from Extreme II: Pornograffitti too, where funk and metal were truly together… at last.

“Rise” has already drawn comparisons to Ozzy Osbourne (Zakk Wylde era specifically), Tool, and Stone Temple Pilots’ “Silvergun Superman.” The chorus hook has apparently given off Kesha vibes too, but I don’t buy it (sorry, Mike of The-Art-of-Guitar). One is a rock band that can sing, the other is an annoying pitch-adjusted mess.

Overall, though, the song is very becoming of Extreme, and I love it.

Vocals

Gary Cherone is the voice of Extreme. Always has been, always will be.

I’ve always admired Cherone for the passion and energy he brings to the band. His voice, on the other hand, has often been a little rough around the edges, at least to me. Rock singers don’t always have to be pitch perfect to be considered great at what they do, but even on past records there have been a few times when I’ve said to myself, “that must have hurt a little.”

“Rise” is a different story. Everyone’s vocals sound better, including Gary’s. I bow down at the alter of Extreme. We’re not worthy!

We're Not Worthy

The Guitar Solo

Everyone’s jaw is agape at guitarist Nuno Bettencourt’s transcendent guitar solo, and for good reason. Not only does it sound stellar, but it’s also blazing fast. There is an effect or two on his solo, possibly the dotted eighth delay trick he’s known for on “Flight of the Wounded Bumblebee.” But I’m also hearing an octave effect on there (a higher octave, for sure, and maybe a lower one as well).

As for the section that has everyone up in arms, I may be the first to remind you we heard this from Nuno on “Peacemaker Die” from III Sides to Every Story too (check the solo section). It’s basically a series of rapid palm-muted hammer-ons utilizing the economy of open strings. Easier said than done, yes, but I trust my ears on this one.

Production

At this point, I’m going to say something that I’m not sure has been said elsewhere yet. What’s going on with the production for “Rise?”

I’m not saying it’s bad, I’m just saying it seems to be lacking a bit of fidelity, almost like it wasn’t mastered. Everything sounds a little shrill and foggy, and the drums don’t sound as huge as they should.

I don’t care that much, because I love the band and the song, but I am wondering whether the rest of the album will sound like this when it eventually comes out on June 9.

Oddly enough, I had the same reaction to an earlier release via Nuno, the DramaGods’ Love, specifically the track “Heavy.” I heard a sample on their website before the release came out and thought the guitar track was going to come out sounding less robotic upon the proper release of the album. Ultimately, it didn’t.

Again, it won’t change my status as one of Extreme and Nuno’s greatest fans. If you’re reading this, Nuno, congrats on the new release. I’ve listened to all your stuff – Population 1, Mourning Widows, DramaGods, Satellite Party, and everything in between. Loved Guitar Wars too.

Final Thoughts on “Rise”

Can’t wait for the release of Extreme Six on June 9! If you’d like to support the band, you can pre-order the CD, vinyl, and T-shirt on their website.

David Andrew Wiebe
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