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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Meat Loaf - Bat Out Of Hell III - The Monster Is Loose
Release Date: October 31, 2006
Label: Virgin Records

Meat Loaf returns fourteen years after the second installment of the Bat Out Of Hell Trilogy with the grand finale. And, I’m saddened to report that The Monster Is Loose is more akin to The Matrix: Revolutions than The Return Of The King. After two stunning rock/schlock operas, Mr. Loaf seems to have lost the plot.

The record begins with enough epic flourishes to hint that great things are ahead. The opening title track is a nice stab at bringing Meat Loaf’s trademark fist-pumping rock into the new millennium. But, things quickly veer off from there. Whereas the first two parts of the trilogy masterfully hedged the line between “kewl” and “annoying,” the majority of Monster ends up being pretty obnoxious. Lowlights include a dreary cover of the Steinman-penned It’s All Coming Back To Me Now (I hate to say it, but Celine’s version positively lords over this new one) and ridiculous tracks like Blind As A Bat and In The Land Of The Pig, The Butcher Is King (from an aborted Batman musical - aborted for a reason). These songs are at least memorable. Most of Monster is completely forgettable, a feat that actually deserves some praise given the overblown kitchen-sink production and endless running times.

The record improves toward the end, with the gothic Monstro segueing into the Elton-boogie/choral orgy of Alive, the album’s best song. But, it’s not nearly enough to kick some life into Monster’s indifferent finale. Perhaps he’ll find another project befitting his unique talents and recapture some of the glory of his past works, but Monster isn’t it. Throw it out, this Meat Loaf’s stale. C-

Key Tracks: Alive, The Monster Is Loose, Monstro


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