MEAT LOAF — Bat Out Of Hell (review)

MEAT LOAF — Bat Out Of Hell album cover Album · 1977 · Non-Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4.5/5 ·
Not many people had heard of Marvin Aday prior to 1977. Before his massive nuclear hit album, the only true work he had done was a collaboration with soul and gospel music singer Shaun Murphy in a short lived duet named Stoney and Meat Loaf. Almost nobody who knows Meat Loaf's career knows about the 1971 album, and even at the time it wasn't the most popular of all debuts. And while Murphy went on to participate with Little Feat, Aday was cranking on with his solo career.

Shrugging off the old jacket of soul and blue-eyed music, Meat Loaf made one of the most drastic music changes of any of the musicians I know. It was the edge of the 80's, where many metal bands would spring, including Iron Maiden, Metallica, among others. But even during the 70's, Judas Priest and Black Sabbath had become part of the biggest uprising in metal music. Even though Meat Loaf didn't follow exactly the same path, the man went in a direction of hard rock that has remained a legend throughout not only metal music, but music history itself. Thus, his magnum opus Bat Out Of Hell (1977) was released to the masses. At first, reception was slow. Some critics sneered and were quick to note how the album was a lackluster pop album and nothing more. In fact, everyone who worked at Epic Records, the label of the album, hated it with a passion. However, these were quickly swallowed by the tidal wave of fans that the album itself generated. The album is "timeless, in that it didn't fit into any trend. You could release that record at any time and it would be out of place." reflected Jim Steinman, the guest guitarist and head song-writer for the album. What Steinman said was in fact, very true. Meat Loaf had done something completely different. He had in a way made music that didn't restrict itself to one genre. And while critics still enjoy bashing it for all it's worth, my opinions are thus.

For the general aspect of the album, it's excellent. Perhaps it's not something I'd listen to over and over, with the exception of the title track (which we'll get to soon.) But I simply cannot deny the thought and care put into the album's structural integrity. Every track shines in it's own way, with differentiated themes, largely bouncing between slow melancholic piano pieces to rolling and pounding spectacles to bouncy poppish tunes. To judge all sides, the piano pieces are wonderful. All of them are, even though heavily harmonically basing themselves off of eachother, are very great outright. The harder rocking tunes are the greatest part, however. The aforementioned title track, 'Bat Out Of Hell' is my definite favorite from the album. Wonderfully adapting to it's extreme ten minute long length, the song trudges through themes like Priest-like riffing (mainly in the opening), to vocal lead sections by the man himself. The title track is probably the heaviest on the album, and definitely the most enjoyable to listen to. The only other exception to this theme to rocking is the second half of 'Paradise by the Dashboard Light', with funk figure-heading it. And finally there's the pop side of the album. And in the genres case, it's pretty great pop. All of the songs that retain the theme of mainstream rock has their own light that they use in their own light. Although silly at times, the quirky late-70's feel is comfortable to listen to at least when knowing that the musicians behind the music are definitely having fun, especially Aday himself.

So, all in all, Bat Out Of Hell is absolutely fantastic. If you've heard of this album before (doubtless you have) and haven't listened to it, I suggest you do right away. One of the great highlights of the late 70's era.
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Unitron wrote:
50 days ago
siLLy puPPy wrote:
more than 2 years ago
This is one of those albums that i love to hate. It is cheesy beyond belief but some how hooks me in. This cheese has aged well :)


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