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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Meat Loaf

Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell

Review by Gary Hill

You may have noticed that I put the first Bat Out of Hell disc into non-progressive rock and this one into prog. Well, that’s because, just as we put all releases by progressive rock artists into prog – no matter what type of music they are – we also put progressive rock albums by bands that aren’t prog into the prog category. I’m sure there are those who will disagree in my calling this prog rock, but frankly, I will stick by that assessment. I’m guessing there are few who will argue with my listing this as a great disc, though. It’s got less of the theatrical element that the first installment had and so many of the lyrics here are just plain exceptional. Beyond that we get some great music in the mix.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2009  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.
Track by Track Review
I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)
One of the hits from the album, some weird sound effects start this. Piano joins and eventually becomes the backdrop for the first vocals. Gradually other elements are added to the mix. It's past the minute and a half mark before the rocking sounds enter. The cut works out from there in a classic Meat Loaf styled arrangement. This is catchy and interesting. It has some nice changes. It's pretty much trademark in sound. This feels like it would have fit well on the first Bat out of Hell album.
Life Is A Lemon And I Want My Money Back
Much harder rocking, this is a great song. The lyrics definitely have an “it’s so obvious, why didn’t anyone come up with this before?” element to them. I love this song. It’s a highlight of the set. When the instrumental section emerges later the cut launches into more progressive rock oriented territory and seriously climbs into the stratosphere.
Rock And Roll Dreams Come Through
Perhaps more pure rock music and less proggy, this is no less potent, though. There are some more progressive rock oriented overtones later in the track, too.
It Just Won't Quit
Here’s another awesome piece of music. This is more purely progressive rock than the last song – I’d pretty much fit it under that category. It’s got quite a few changes and alterations and is just plain powerful. It’s another that’s amongst my favorites here.
Out Of The Frying Pan (And Into The Fire)
A harder rocking piece, I’d say that you could still argue to put this under the banner of progressive rock. Call it what you like, though, it’s a good tune either way.
Objects In The Rear View Mirror May Appear Closer Than They Are
Here’s another cut that focuses on a lyrical hook that seems so obvious in retrospect. It’s another longer composition, weighing in at over ten minutes in length. This is also one of the proggier pieces – focusing a lot of its duration in a piano based, evocative, balladic structure. It’s another highlight of the set, too.
Wasted Youth

This cut is a theatric one that combines a lot of the first Bat Out of Hell disc with some rock and roll neo-mythology and some hints of The Doors. It’s a cool, if strange, cut. It’s essentially an extended introduction to the next piece.

Everything Louder Than Everything Else
The title here isn’t the most original thing on show – Motorhead’s used that for their slogan seemingly forever. The song isn’t one of the most creative, either. It feels like it could have fit pretty well on the first Bat Out of Hell disc. It’s good, but not a standout because so much of the material here is so strong. It ends, uncharacteristically, with a little bit of bagpipes.
Good Girls Go To Heaven (Bad Girls Go Everywhere)

This one’s not exceptionally special. It’s still fairly progressive rock like, though. It also would be a strong cut on a lesser disc. This one’s just such a powerhouse album that it makes it hard for a song like this to really stand out. The instrumental section here is one of the best portions of the track – and also one of the most prog oriented.

Back Into Hell
A keyboard dominated instrumental number, this one is very firmly in progressive rock territory and actually reminds me a lot of something from Emerson Lake and Palmer. It has some musical themes from the previous composition.
Lost Boys And Golden Girls
A lushed up ballad, this gets a little over the top in terms of production sometimes, but it’s quite progressive rock oriented and quite tasty. While I’m not sure a ballad is the best way to close a disc, it works reasonably well in that slot.
 
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