Review Summary: Never before have I encountered such a lackluster, tedious and generic album. Avoid this like you would a plague.Meat Loaf
Bat Out Of Hell II- Back Into Hell
When I stop and think about it, Meat Loaf‘s
music and meatloaf (the meat) are strikingly similar. They both have questionable content, are generally bad and I can only tolerate either of them in extremely small doses. Overall, I’d have to say that Meat Loaf pales in comparison to meatloaf because meatloaf can be enhanced by various toppings. Regrettably, no manner of toppings can make this album listenable (trust me, I’ve tried). It’s horrendously boring from beginning to end. This is due to many things. Meat Loaf’s lack luster vocals are part of the problem. The overuse of synthesizers played it’s part too. In fact, the instrumentals in general were bland. There were few stand out tracks and the ones that did stand out still weren’t very good. Furthermore, the most obvious flaw was song length. Six tracks are over seven minutes in length and two surpassed the ten minute mark. This isn’t necessarily a negative aspect, but these songs would have been tiresome at five minutes in length. Seven minutes and above was just too much.
I wish I could tell you that despite being unbearably tedious this album does
have some brilliant lyrical work. Alas, I can do no such thing. The vast majority of the lyrics were horribly cliché and completely unoriginal. Sometimes they were even vague. The track I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)
is a good example. The title of track is used as lyrics during the song, but he never actually defines what “that” is. However, that looks like sheer genius compared to my next example. The track Wasted Youth
. What could loosely be called this song
is two minutes and forty-one seconds of talking, with some cheesy sound effects thrown in the background. I’m not going to get into the whole plot of the song, but just give you two lines; A voice like a horny angel
and Daddy, you know I love you, but you’ve got a hell of a lot to learn about rock and roll
. Those two lines alone should sufficiently illustrate how incredibly stupid and pointless that track was. Actual lyrics aside, I do have to give Meat Loaf this; his song titles were clever at times. Take for example Life Is A Lemon And I Want My Money Back
. A few other tracks also had nice little splashes of witticism in their titles, if only that same witticism could have been carried on into the lyrics.
Instrumentally, I must admit this album did have it’s moments. But that’s the thing, they were only moments. That was another thing this album had a big problem with: consistency. Parts of it were really good. The guitar solo in Life Is A Lemon I Want My Money Back
was splendid. There was a totally spontaneous bag pipe outro in Everything Louder Than Everything Else
that I absolutely loved. There were parts in I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)
were the piano built upon into this sort of climatic state, that was great too. However, these were select instances in four and a half to twelve minute songs. And while these were great moments, thirty seconds of enjoyment simply can’t account for minutes of boredom. For the most part, the instrumentals failed to catch my interest. They weren’t particularly complex, or powerful, just generic combinations of chords.
There was a solid attempt to mask to generic instrumental work by having a wide variety instruments playing on the album and it almost
worked. The first few times I listened to this I was captivated by the range of instruments and paid little attention to what they were actually playing. After a while, however, I realized a piano, saxophone, guitar, bass, synthesizer and organ all playing a boring riff doesn’t make the riff any more interesting. I do have to give this album props for the diverse selection of instruments, but all it did was make this album slightly less terrible.
Meat Loaf’s vocals weren’t quite as awful as the rest of the album, I’ll say that for him. That being said, it wasn’t above average. My biggest quarrel with them would have to be the lack of distinction. They weren’t particularly raspy, or particularly clean. They weren’t over the top with passion, but they weren’t entirely emotionless either. This lukewarm effect only furthered the tediousness of the album. Frankly, the back up vocalists were much better than him. Unluckily, even the best of back up vocalists wouldn’t be enough to make this album listenable.
As far as filler goes this album definitely has it’s share. Of course, there’s Wasted Youth
, which I told you about earlier. Back Into Hell
is another good example of filler. The whole track is really dull. Nothing really stood out. It was a lot like what you would hear in the background of a horror movie. Lots of violin, eerie sounds created by keyboard FX, some piano. Nothing particularly unbearable, I suppose, but it contributed nothing to the album. Usually filler isn’t too big a deal for me, unless there’s a lot of it. But when the album is of such poor quality having material that doesn’t measure up to the rest is entirely unacceptable.
I strongly recommend avoiding this album. It shows potential in places, but as a whole was dreadful. Perhaps if all the songs were about forty percent shorter it would be easier, but as it stands it’s a very difficult task. I myself, couldn’t even manage. I had to listen to three tracks, take a break and then listen to three more. Rocking hard, or hardly rocking? Unfortunately for Meat Loaf, it’s the latter.
Instrumentals were good for brief instances
Back up vocalists were good
No tracks really stood out
Lead vocals were average