Monday, April 5, 2010

Meat Loaf - Bat Out Of Hell III: The Monster Is Loose

Best voice in rock? Meat’s got my vote. Aday makes the sleaziest lyrics sound unbelievably romantic, all while rocking the operatic bat metaphors like nobody’s business. But in anticipation of his upcoming album, I thought I’d give the darkest entry of Meat’s catalogue an overview.

Bat Out Of Hell’s title track may be one of the greatest songs of all time, but this album has actually gotten more listens from me than his first masterpiece; maybe it’s because the album finds more ways to grab me and pull me in, while still maintaining the integrity we’ve come to expect from Meat and co.

This is definitely a more guitar-oriented album, and its influences come from unexpected places: members from Motley Crue and Marilyn Manson contributed to the making of the quasi-title track, and the influence shows in its modernized verses – though its desperate chorus betrays a newer side of Meat, and the softer middle section is a slice of that classic Loaf.

And if that isn’t your bag, the next few songs are everything you’ve come to expect from Meat Loaf: soaring choruses, heartfelt strains and the kind of unremitting romance you could only truly find in song. Everything does betray a desperate tone like the title track, though – while on previous albums, Meat was fooling around with fast women in the backs of cars, on this album it’s “Your heart is kind / mine’s painted black” and “I want you to cry over me / die over me…”

Which brings me to In The Land Of The Pig, The Butcher Is King, by far Meat’s darkest song ever: over brooding, downright Wagnerian orchestration and guitar laid down by Mr. Steve Vai, Meat snarls his way through a tale of societal upheaval that fits more with the monstrous aesthetic of the title track than with the broken love songs on display here. This is fucking brilliant, though on a completely different level than classics like Bat Out Of Hell and Paradise By The Dashboard Light.

Oh, those kinds of songs are still there: Alive is guaranteed to get you tapping your foot, or drumming your fingers, while Seize The Night just might be in league with the aforementioned Bat Out Of Hell itself, with its unforgettable orchestral swells and atmosphere.

And plus, you have to give credit to a song that makes getting oral sound like pure poetry.

I can throw out all kinds of adjectives for how much I enjoy an album, but I really know it’s one of my all-time favourites when I get that familiar tingle down my spine just from writing about it. I’m not familiar with Meat Loaf’s fan community, so I don’t know how this album was received (Certainly, there was an enthusiastic reception to Meat’s coming at the Toronto show a mere week after the album released), but it reigns as one of my favourite rock records of all time.

So bottom line: get it, pop it in and set the monster loose.

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