Produced by Desmond Child
Label – Virgin/Mercury
One almost forgets that since 1977 and the tumultuous worldwide success of “Bat Out Of Hell” that Meat Loaf has released seven studio albums, and none of these releases has come anywhere near selling the numbers of the breakthrough, except for 1993’s “Bat Out Of Hell 2” which immediately makes clear the power of the “Bat Out Of Hell” brand. Logically, in Mr Loaf’s mind, if he needs to sell numbers of copy then he needs to use the brand, and after all, haven’t Hollywood been using the very same tactics for sequel movies for years with no small amount of success? “Bat Out Of Hell III” will surely gather attention from the music media, but there’s a number of reasons why it will be remembered as the “Grease 2” of music sequels; a comedic tragedy that will effectively kill any remnants of respect for the brand and the original hit album.
Firstly, Jim Steinman decided not to participate. As everyone knows Steinman is as important to “Bat Out Of Hell” as Meat Loaf. He wrote the songs, was prominent in the conception of the style, and built the experience so to speak. When he found out that Meatloaf was planning on releasing a third “Bat out Of Hell” album he immediately took him to court, because after all, not only had he written the “Bat Out Of Hell” albums but he owned the copyright to the phrase, so Meat needed permission in order to release the record. Permission was eventually granted in an out of court settlement but this still left the problem of material for the new album. Realizing the need for some form of Steinman imprint, Meat Loaf raided the song archives and found some unreleased songs from the period following “Bat Out Of Hell II” that were written by Steinman. These form the back bone of “Bat Out Of Hell III”, and what a crooked, painful, patchwork the album turns out to be. There feels to be little concept, the celebrated Wagnerian theatrics seem to lead nowhere, there’s no ultimate destination or story line. It’s just a bunch of half baked songs that weren’t strong enough to make it to a previous release, and for that reason seem botched together. Producer Desmond Child attempts to replicate the glory days with anthemic production and the Nu Metal sound of the opener “The Monster Is Loose” would have sounded interesting 5 years ago; now it’s about as welcome as Limp Bizkit’s “The Unquestionable Truth”.
The lead off single, “It’s All Coming Back To Me Now” will be familiar to most, as it was originally recorded by Celine Dion, and sadly Meat Loaf treats the song with the same lavish grandeur, creating a bile inducing, gaudy mess of a ballad. At over 70 minutes one is introduced to a series of pomp and bombast, a mess of cod orchestral Rock opera that crucially fails to display one single decent song. It is indeed, so bad it hurts one’s senses of appreciation of the original “Bat Out Of Hell”.
Sadly, there isn’t even a hint of deliberate self parody in “Bat Out Of Hell III”, or a chance to raise a smile and realize just how absolutely ridiculous this album is. No Steinman, no Rundgren, no tunes, but worst of all no respect for the brand that built his career.
1. “The Monster Is Loose” John 5/Desmond Child/Nikki Sixx 7:12
2. “Blind as a Bat” Child/James Michael 5:51
3. “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” (Duet with Marion Raven) Jim Steinman 6:05
4. “Bad for Good” (Featuring Brian May) Jim Steinman 7:33
5. “Cry Over Me” Diane Warren 4:40
6. “In the Land of the Pig, the Butcher Is King” Jim Steinman 5:38
7. “Monstro” Elena Casals/Child/Holly Knight 1:39
8. “Alive” Child/Knight/Michael/Andrea Remanda 4:22
9. “If God Could Talk” Child/Marti Frederiksen 3:46
10. “If It Ain’t Broke, Break It” Jim Steinman 4:50
11. “What About Love?” (Duet with Patti Russo) Child/Frederiksen/John Gregory/Russ Irwin 6:03
12. “Seize the Night” Jim Steinman 9:46
13. “The Future Ain’t What It Used to Be” (Duet with Jennifer Hudson) Jim Steinman 7:54
14. “Cry to Heaven” Jim Steinman 2:22
It’s All Coming Back To Me Now
Cry Over Me
The Monster Is Loose