Review Summary: Oddly attractive but disappointing...
''Dead Ringer'' was meant to be the long-awaited follow up to the 1977 masterpiece that contained songs written by Jim Steinman and production done by Todd Rundgren. Even though ''Dead Ringer'' holds a similar symphonic/operatic pop/rock style like its predecessor, it essentially fails to capture the magic that came out of ''Bat Out of Hell''. This may seem slightly odd as the songwriting is once again provided by Steinman. However, there are many false moments on this record, in order to be considered "pretty".
The album consists of eight tracks. Five of them are over six minutes long and two of them are between four and five minutes. There is also some kind of a poetic recitation performed by the songwriter, lasting only forty seconds. This usually appears common in a Meat Loaf record, but it is just not suitable into this one, particularly. The lenghty pieces are filled with intensively large and "hyperbolic" lyrics that tire the listener a lot. However, the most prominent issue with the creation in its entirety, is Meat Loaf's voice which becomes extremelly painful to listen to. It had been widely rumoured (and eventually confirmed) that the singer had undergone a dramatic and drastic change in his lifestyle, after becoming addicted to drugs because of exhaustion and depression. His "rehabilation" was probably achieved through medication which unfortunately, led him to lose his voice. The recordings presented on this work is the vocalist's faulty attempt to perform with passion.
Nevertheless, ''Dead Ringer'' is actually the best album to come out of the artist in his commercial and critical decline throughout the 1980s. The only thing that can partially adjust someone's point of interest over the record is the music that "colourizes" the songs. There are some melodic and beautiful pop-rockish guitar solos that will surely draw some people's attention. The musical compositions are obviously more mature than the general songwriting. The solos are also accompanied by keyboard/piano harmonies that work pretty well. Some of the songs become enjoyable mainly because of this (something that often makes ''Dead Ringer'' sound even more melodically consistent than ''Bat Out of Hell''). It may had been a better result if Todd Rundgren was present on its production.
To sum it up, this work will be mostly preferred by more devoted Meat Loaf fans. It was a nice try, but it wasn't so succesful, as well. Common listeners will not be able to get acquainted with it.