"Rubina's Blue Sky Happiness" is dedicated to Satriani's wife Rubina, and is the second song named after her. "Summer Song" has endured as one of Satriani's best-known songs and is a mainstay at his concerts; it was used by Sony in a commercial for the Walkman and was later included on the soundtrack to two of Sony's console video games: Formula 1 (1996) for the PlayStation and Gran Turismo 4 (2004) for the PlayStation 2. Two B-sides from The Extremist's recording sessions, "Crazy" and "Banana Mango II", together with the outtakes "Thinking of You", "Speed of Light" and "Baroque", were later released on Satriani's 1993 double compilation album Time Machine.
Phil Carter at AllMusic gave The Extremist four stars out of five, saying that the album lives up to its name. "Summer Song", "Friends", "Motorcycle Driver", and the title track were noted as highlights.