Another album from the glory days of 1992? Yep, the controversial ‘concept’ album from Extreme drew much criticism for being over-indulgent. The metal press hated it! With a passion!
The concept? Three sides to every story: yours, mine, and the truth. The album is divided into three sections:
The very angry first part is meant to symbolise the ‘other side’ of the story, which is aggressive, loud and obnoxious. The songs in this section reflect this and are fast, heavy rock. Warheads kicks things off with a skit of a soldier barking orders at a little boy, then explodes straight into fast-paced rock. Politicalamity is another excellent track in this section, with a Hendrix-style intro riff and some excellent guitar work from Nuno Bettencourt. Cupid’s Dead is very offbeat for Extreme, with an unexpected rap in the middle.
The Mine section is full of placid music, reflecting how we tell our own side of a story. Seven Sundays is a bit wet for my tastes, but Tragic Comic is funny and endearing and possibly one of Extreme’s better attempts at writing lyrics! The other standout track in this section is the single, Stop The World.
The climax of the whole album is the three-part epic Truth section. The is where the self-indulgence rap was aimed back in 1992: overblown, rock-opera style epics. Gary Cherone uses the power of his voice to the best of it’s ability, and the band experiment with orchestral arrangements.
How brave of Extreme to deviate from the ‘hard rock’ path and put on something which pushed the boundaries of their audience. I love this part of the album for it’s pure pomp and power! While the previous sections provide an adequate build-up, the truth section is an explosion of sound and is by far the highlight of the album. Rise ‘N Shine starts off with a gentle, music-box build up and builds up into an orchestral crescendo, then subsides into Am I Ever Gonna Change – an angry, introspective track. Am I Ever Gonna Change leads into the final track, Who Cares?. Cherone and Bettencourt work musical motifs through each track.
III Sides isn’t Pornografitti. Nor is it comparable with their 1988 debut. You’ve still got the heavy riffs and the fly-away guitar work from Nuno, but stylistically, the music is more interesting. It doesn’t match the classic material from the earlier two albums, but it is filled with some pretty amazing songs.
This review was originally written by me on 1 December 2006 and has been posted on various places online over the last few years. I’ve moved it here to keep a complete archive of my single and video reviews from my entire blogging career.