Bat Out of Hell III: The Monster Is Loose [CD/DVD]

Bat Out of Hell III: The Monster Is Loose [CD/DVD]

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by Meat Loaf
     
 

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As anyone in Hollywood will tell you, creating a sequel that's successful both commercially and artistically is one of the toughest tricks to pull off -- a degree of difficulty that ramps up exponentially when trying to go to the well for a third time. Well, some three decades after bringing forth one of the biggest-selling (and most cinematic) albums in rock history,… See more details below

Overview

As anyone in Hollywood will tell you, creating a sequel that's successful both commercially and artistically is one of the toughest tricks to pull off -- a degree of difficulty that ramps up exponentially when trying to go to the well for a third time. Well, some three decades after bringing forth one of the biggest-selling (and most cinematic) albums in rock history, Meat Loaf has managed to do just that on this appropriately outsized completion of the Bat trilogy. The Monster Is Loose is clearly the fruit of the same family tree that bore Bat Out of Hell and 1993's Back into Hell, but it also conveys a sense of progression that's palpable -- in both the heaviness of its sound and the feistiness of its presentation. The shift has a lot to do with the presence of songwriters other than Jim Steinman -- the man who crafted the classics on the first two discs but bowed out midway through Monster due to health reasons. Steinman's contributions, characterized by the soaring "Seize the Night," which brings a children's choir into the mix, exude all the grandeur that Meat Loaf fans have come to expect. That vibe reaches its zenith on "It's All Coming Back to Me Now," a song popularized by Celine Dion but perfected here by the Loaf and duet partner Marion Raven. It's intriguing to witness how well Meat and company manage the integration of other voices, like Nikki Sixx and White Zombie/Marilyn Manson vet John 5, who bring an industrial tinge to the gnarled title track. On the other end of the spectrum, producer Desmond Child imparts a lush Euro-styled vibe to a passel of his compositions, notably "If God Could Talk." Meat Loaf has implied that this is his swan song -- and if that's the case, it'll be one of those rare instances of an artist clearly going out on the top of his game.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Truth be told, once Meat Loaf had a blockbuster with Bat Out of Hell in 1977, he never really left the bombastic sound of that Todd Rundgren-produced, Jim Steinman-written classic behind. He went through a long stretch where he didn't have any hits -- it's popularly known as the '80s -- but he kept reworking the album, never quite getting it right until he reteamed with Steinman for 1993's Bat Out of Hell II: Back into Hell, which became a surprise international hit, re-establishing Meat Loaf as a major star. After that record, he never went away, continuing to record, tour, and act, but nothing quite matched the success of either Bat Out of Hell, so it made perfect sense for Meat to go back to the Bat well a third time in the early 2000s -- over 12 years since the second Bat and nearly 30 years on from the first. But there was a hitch in his well-laid plan: Steinman didn't want to participate. This was a problem, because the Bat albums were as much Steinman's as they were Meat Loaf's -- and this point was never hidden, either, as Steinman's name was prominent on the cover of both Bats. Undaunted, Meat Loaf went ahead with the project, hiring Desmond Child as producer and picking several older Steinman songs to form the heart of Bat Out of Hell III, which now bore the subtitle of The Monster Is Loose. As the album's fall 2006 release date approached, Steinman took Meat Loaf to court over the record -- after all, not only had he written the Bat Out of Hell albums, but he owned the copyright to the phrase, so Meat needed permission in order to release the record. Permission was eventually granted in an out-of-court settlement, paving the way for the October 2006 release of Bat Out of Hell III, a record that had many Steinman songs but in no way features his involvement in the recording or production of the album. And, boy, is his absence ever felt! His presence looms large over the record -- quite obviously on the songs he wrote, but the very aesthetic of the album is copied wholesale from his blueprints -- yet it's the ways that Bat III is different, both big and small, that points out who is missing at this party. For one, this Bat is quite obviously a patchwork, pieced together from things borrowed and re-created, never quite gelling the way either of the previous Bats did. And if there's one thing that theatrical rock like this needs, it's a narrative through-line or at least a concrete goal. Child and Meat Loaf do have a goal, but it's merely to re-create the glory days; they're not quite so picky on how they get there. So, Child brings in Mötley Crüe's Nikki Sixx and Marilyn Manson's guitarist John5 to pen the opening "The Monster Is Loose," and the results are disarming, a grindingly metallic riff-rocker that sits very uncomfortably next to Steinman's "It's All Coming Back to Me Now," written with Meat in mind (at least according to the singer) but originally recorded by Celine Dion. Such jarring shifts in tone are common throughout The Monster Is Loose, not just as it moves from song to song, but within the tunes themselves, as Child's compositions chase after the grandeur of Steinman's work yet bare all the marks of a professional who is playing a game without bothering to learn the rules. The same is true for the very sound of Bat III. Although original Bat producer Todd Rundgren adds some necessary pomp with his vocal arrangements, the album is at once too heavy and too clinical, lacking the gaudy, gonzo soul that made Bat Out of Hell irresistible camp. It's a brightly lit mess, but there is one redeeming factor here and that's Meat Loaf, who is singing his heart out as he valiantly tries to make this Bat a worthy successor to the originals. [The CD/DVD edition features a making-of documentary, a video montage, a trailer, music video, and a photo gallery.]

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Product Details

Release Date:
10/31/2006
Label:
Virgin Records Us
UPC:
0094637463925
catalogNumber:
74639

Tracks

Disc 1

  1. The Monster Is Loose
  2. Blind as a Bat
  3. It's All Coming Back to Me Now  - Marion Raven
  4. Bad for Good
  5. Cry for Me
  6. In the Land of the Pig, The Butcher Is King
  7. Monstro
  8. Alive
  9. If God Could Talk
  10. If It Aint' Broke Break It
  11. What About Love  - Patti Russo
  12. Seize the Night
  13. The Future Ain't What It Used to Be  - Jennifer Hudson
  14. Cry to Heaven (Epilogue)

Disc 2

  1. It's All Coming Back to Me Now  - Marion Raven
  2. Making of "The Monster Is Loose"
  3. "The Monster Is Loose" Montage
  4. "The Monster Is Loose" Trailer
  5. Photo Gallery

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Meat Loaf   Primary Artist
Stephanie Bennett   Harp
Todd Rundgren   Background Vocals
Steve Vai   Guitar,Soloist
Matt Rollings   Organ,Piano
Brian May   Guitar,Soloist
Desmond Child   Background Vocals
Bruce Dukov   Violin
Maria Vidal   Background Vocals
Kasim Sulton   Bass,Background Vocals
Sid Page   Violin
John Fumo   Trumpet
Mark Alexander   Organ,Piano
Rusty Anderson   Guitar,Soloist
Kenny Aronoff   Percussion,Drums
Rick Baptist   Trumpet
Eric Bazilian   Guitar,Soloist
Cheryl Brown   Choir, Chorus
Denyse Buffum   Viola
David Campbell   Conductor
Darius Campo   Violin
Larry Corbett   Cello
Brett Cullen   Background Vocals
Brian Dembow   Viola
Joel Derouin   Violin
Earl Dumler   Oboe
Chuck Findley   Trumpet
Marti Frederiksen   Background Vocals
Berj Garabedian   Violin
Endre Granat   Violin
Gary Grant   Trumpet
Diana Grasselli   Background Vocals
Victor Indrizzo   Drums
Jessica Jones   Choir, Chorus
Alan Kaplan   Trombone
Peter Kent   Violin
Lee Levin   Percussion
Steve Madaio   Trumpet
Joe Meyer   French Horn
Joseph Powell   Choir, Chorus
Bettie Ross   Pipe organ
Tom Saviano   Tenor Saxophone
Haim Shtrum   Violin
Eric Troyer   Background Vocals
Josefina Vergara   Violin
Brad Warnaar   French Horn
Evan Wilson   Viola
John Wittenberg   Violin
Ken Yerke   Violin
Eric Rigler   Irish Flute
John Miceli   Drums
Daniel Smith   Cello
Suzie Katayama   Cello
Dan Warner   Guitar
William Frank "Bill" Reichenbach   Trombone,Bass Trombone
John Shanks   Guitar,Soloist
Wayne Bergeron   Trumpet
Natalie Leggett   Violin
Nico Abondolo   Bass
Barbara Allen   Choir, Chorus
Andreas Carlsson   Background Vocals
John A. Reynolds   French Horn
Roberto Cani   Violin
Eric Sardinas   Slide Guitar,Soloist
Michael Valerio   Bass
Patti Russo   Background Vocals
John 5   Guitar,Soloist
James Michael   Background Vocals
Clint Walsh   Guitar
Camille Saviola   Background Vocals
Jeanette Olsson   Background Vocals
Corky James   Guitar
David Levita   Guitar
Philip Vaiman   Violin
Becky Baeling   Background Vocals
Alyssa Park   Violin
Andrew Duckles   Viola
John Gregory   Background Vocals
Jason Paige   Background Vocals
Bonita Brisco   Choir, Chorus
Sonya Byous   Choir, Chorus
Marda Todd   Viola
Keely Pressly   Background Vocals
Storm Lee   Background Vocals
Steve Richards   Cello
Randy Flowers   Guitar,Soloist
Michele Richards   Violin
Tereza Stanislav   Violin
Vernon Keith Allen   Choir, Chorus
Esther Marie Austin   Choir, Chorus
Carolyn Caletti Jablonski "CC"   Background Vocals
Graham Phillips   Soprano (Vocal)
Sandra Stokes   Choir, Chorus
Roshuan Stovall   Choir, Chorus
Steven Holtman   Trombone
Steven Becknell   French Horn
Mario de León   Violin
Matthew Funes   Viola
Jon Lewis   Trumpet
Paul Crook   Guitar
M.B. Gordy   Orchestral Percussion

Technical Credits

Todd Rundgren   Arranger
Steve Vai   Engineer
Russ Irwin   Composer
Desmond Child   Composer,Producer,Vocal Arrangements
Holly Knight   Composer,Programming
Jim Steinman   Composer
David Campbell   Horn Arrangements,Orchestral Arrangements
Randy Cantor   Programming
Steve Churchyard   Engineer
Dave Dale   Engineer
Doug Emery   Programming
Marti Frederiksen   Composer,Engineer
Chris Garcia   Engineer
Stephen Marcussen   Mastering
Kevin Mills   Engineer
Diane Warren   Composer
Nikki Sixx   Composer
Dan Warner   Engineer
Chris Vrenna   Programming
Allen Kovac   Executive Producer
C. Winston Simone   Executive Producer
Harry "Slick" Sommerdahl   Programming,Engineer
Dino Hermann   Engineer
Jules Gondar   Engineer,Production Chief
Greg Collins   Engineer
David Simoné   Executive Producer
James Michael   Composer
Nathan Malki   Engineer
Andy Ackland   Engineer
Corky James   Engineer
Jeff Rothschild   Engineer
Ghian Wright   Engineer
Jay Ruston   Engineer
Eric Vetro   Vocal Coach
Carlos Alvarez   Engineer

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