MEAT LOAF – Bat Out of Hell III: The Monster Is Loose

MEAT LOAF - Bat Out of Hell III: The Monster Is Loose
  • 7/10
    MEAT LOAF - Bat Out of Hell III: The Monster Is Loose - 7/10


Virgin Records
Release date: October 31, 2006

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

How does one do justice in the opening of a review about the history from someone as big as a Rock icon as Meat Loaf? A review of the man’s twenty nine years in the music business seems a bit absurd when he’s responsible for having a part in producing immensely popular classics like 1977’s Bat Out Of Hell and 1993’s Bat Out Of Hell II: Back Into Hell, arguably Meat’s two strongest releases. Now, thirteen years after the success of Bat Out Of Hell II comes the third and last installment in the Bat Out Of Hell Trilogy. Of course, with it come proponents, who will not hesitate to jump to making comparisons to the first two, now classic installments in this trilogy.

Understandably, it’s hard to meet expectations when compared to Parts I and II given the many accolades each has received. Many should find, if they give Bat Out Of Hell III: The Monster Is Loose a fair chance, that it might exceed their expectations.

One thing is certain; there is a lot to talk about regarding and revolving around this new release. Foremost is Jim Steinman’s involvement … how writing of this album started as early as 2001 with him. Jim contributed half of the album’s material, as he is credited for solely penning seven of the fourteen tracks. All of the Steinman songs were written for other projects, including two songs that originally appeared on Original Sin, Steinman’s 1989 concept album with Pandora’s Box. Other Steinman songs were written for the unreleased Batman: The Musical project. There are also differing points of views between the Meat and Steinman camps as to why Steinman did not produce Bat Out Of Hell III … instead Meat put all faith into the guidance of powerhouse producer and songwriter Desmond Child. Perhaps somewhat ironically, Bat Out Of Hell III was dedicated to Jim Steinman. While Meat Loaf provides all the lead vocals, many tracks include guest performances, vocal or instrumental, from various artists who are not members of the core band (including John 5, Brian May, Steve Vai, Eric Sardinas, Marion Raven, Patti Russo, Jennifer Hudson, etc.).

Interestingly enough, the release starts out with a killer, seven-minute long opening title track that should appeal to a majority of Metal Express Radio fans. “The Monster Is Loose” contains a monstrous, almost mesmerizing riff, and is co-penned by the unlikely combination of Desmond Child, Nikki Sixx (Mötley Crüe), and John 5 (Rob Zombie).

“Blind As A Bat” is more of a Symphonic Pop tune where Meat Loaf really provides a powerful vocal performance on top of a catchy string orchestral accompaniment.

“It’s All Coming Back To Me Now” –- a Jim Steinman penned track for Original Sin, will sound hauntingly familiar. Celine Dion made the track a hit in 1996, so to most casual listeners this attempt by Meat might be misconstrued as a Celine Dion cover. Nevertheless, Meat called on Norwegian female vocalist Marion Raven to provide the girl side of a male/female duet, and the two of them combine for a very powerful, gargantuan, and emotionally stirring performance… in fact, so much so that this was initially a promotional single. Part of the track’s success can be accredited to a background vocal arrangement by Todd Rundgren.

“Bad For Good” picks up the pace a bit once again, and starts out with a familiar harmonized guitar sound as Queen’s Brian May lent his talents to this track. Once again, a winning, catchy, Pop background arrangement by Rundgren. Of course, the Brian May guitar solo helps to make this track even more successful.

“In The Land Of The Pig, The Butcher Is King” is where Steve Vai’s talents are used. This track is very Symphonic, almost Operatic in nature, with a moderate helping of orchestration, all backed by a haunting, steadily chugging guitar riff. This is one of the tracks originally written for the Batman musical that never saw the light of day. Unfortunately, for Metal Express Radio fans, the Steve Vai solo is adequate, but nothing compared to what Vai fans have come to expect from Steve on his own solo efforts.

Other highlights include “If It Ain’t Broke Break It” with Eric Sardinas on guitar, and the multi-tempoed “Seize The Night” with some of the album’s best guitar solos laid down, interestingly enough, by Rusty Anderson.

Overall, this a really commendable release for Meat Loaf, it’s just not going to appeal to all Metal Express Radio fans. The release is filled with some stellar, Symphonic and Operatic moments that have a lot of Pop appeal. Meat has never sound vocally better. Producer Child has also done a commendable job in filling the big shoes of Steinman, but because purely based on the fact that Steinman didn’t produce it, many fans might unjustly go into this album with a closed mind. It’s a daunting task to overcome the shadows of the first two acknowledged classics in this trilogy, but given the chance, Bat Out Of Hell III might create some of it’s own new, fresh, classic moments!


  • Scott Jeslis

    Scott is one of the partners at Metal Express Radio. He handles a lot of Metal Express Radio's public relations, screening of new music and radio scheduling. On occasion, he also does reviews and interviews. He has been a proud member of the Metal Express Radio crew since 2004.

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