Meat Loaf - Bat Out Of Hell II - Back Into Hell
MCA Records
Bombastic, Anthemic, Over-The-Top Theatrical Rock
11 songs (75.42)
Release year: 1993
Meat Loaf, MCA
Reviewed by Aleksie
Archive review
Sixteen years after the original, world-conquering behemoth of an album Meat Loaf and Jim Steinman paired up again for a sequel, Bat Out Of Hell II – Back Into Hell. Like it is with awesome movies, the sequels of distinct albums have a hard time in matching up to the original on any front, but by God does this album still rock the holy hell (pun intended) out of me.

I don’t think anyone who was living in a conscious state of mind in ’93 could have missed hearing the cheesier-and-more-dramatic-than-thou-yet-so-damned-stupendous panty wetter that is I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That). The piano intro is a shameless, altered rerun of the first BOOH and its title track, but who cares. It still gets my hands into a furious airkeyboard-mode. Loaf’s singing is as passionate as ever and though some of the youthful energy and recklessness has been lost with age, it is taken back with sheer power, emotion and depth. The beauty-with-the-beast –like vocal duet with the leading lady in the end is pure magic. Steinman’s lyrical prowess along with his great humour comes out shining with every line. I mean c’mon, only he could make a line like “Would you cater to every fantasy I’ve got/Would you hose me down with holy water if I get too hot” work so well. I giggle with pleasure whenever I think that in the age of Grunge and emerging boy bands, a 12-minute, operatic, power rock ballad was the number one listed song in God knows how many countries. Alright, of course there was a shorter radio edit, but that had to be still at least seven minutes long.

Life Is A Lemon And I Want My Money Back convinces you with the pounding beats and aggressive attitude that just oozes youthful discomfort. Rock n’ Roll Dreams Come Through is a nice counterpart with the uplifting major chords crashing in with the brilliant harmonies. Both of these songs give Todd Rundgren plenty of room to shine as the layers upon layers of vocals he has arranged mount up to form fantastic choruses and backing melodies that explode your mind with pleasure. Actually, the vocal work does this on every track. It Just Won’t Quit is about the only mediocre track on the album – and I mean distinctly as a part of this album. On anyone elses record this would be a true gem of a ballad, but in this company it just pales.

Out Of The Frying Pan (And Into The Fire) raises the bar again with one of the greatest anthemic rock tunes in history. The wailing guitars and piano make way for the steady drums that hold back just right until starting up a rock beat that makes you mosh instantly. The chorus is pure superglue and once in full speed the amount of airguitaring this tune demands from me is humoungous. Objects In The Rear View Mirror May Appear Closer Than They Are is a Bruce Springsteen-meets-Richard Wagner mishmash of rock n’ roll yumminess. The fact that the song titles on this album are ruthlessly long (shorter than Balsagoth’s, admittedly) brings an extra good flavour with originality points. Not original as no one hadn't done it before, but no one has done it before this well.

Wasted Youth is Steinmans bloody and hilarious speech to the greatness of guitars and rock n’ roll. After that a pair of rolling rockhammers come out swinging hard in the form of Everything Louder Than Everything Else and Good Girls Go To Heaven (Bad Girls Go Everywhere). I just love the horn work in latter one mixed in with the heavy guitars. Back Into Hell is a nice symphonic intro into the closing ballad, Lost Boys And Golden Girls. Pure Springsteen in the composition and lyrics, laced with angelic choirs accompanied by the strings and jangling guitars – just beautiful. No distortion is necessary. This one acts a very good twin to For Crying Out Loud from the first Bat-album.

As a whole, Bat Out Of Hell II almost pulls off the impossible by coming in even with its older brother’s humongous quality. Just almost, but then again, just about anything is inferior to the first Bat Out Of Hell, no matter the scale. This album is still one magnificent piece of bombastic rock that any fan of good music must have shining next to the original in their shelves.

Killing Songs :
I'd Do Anything For Love..., Life Is A Lemon..., Rock And Roll Dreams..., Out Of The Frying Pan..., Objects In The Rear View Mirror..., Everything Louder Than Everything Else, Good Girls Go To Heaven (Bad Girls...) & Lost Boys And Golden Girls
Aleksie quoted 97 / 100
Marty quoted 90 / 100
Other albums by Meat Loaf that we have reviewed:
Meat Loaf - Hang Cool Teddy Bear reviewed by Brock and quoted 80 / 100
Meat Loaf - Bat Out Of Hell reviewed by Aleksie and quoted CLASSIC
Meat Loaf - Bat Out Of Hell III - The Monster Is Loose reviewed by Aleksie and quoted 80 / 100
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