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4.1 out of 5 stars69
4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 13 March 2012
This album is a hard one to rate.

I have been a fan of Meat Loaf since I was at high school and he released 'Bat out of Hell Vol 2:Back in to Hell'. Since then I have back dated my album catalogue, brought every album released since Vol 2 and I have also seen him several times in concert and he rocks every time. This new album is not the Meat Loaf I am use too - in fact the first time I listened to this latest offering I HATED it!

Having said that every great music artist evolves over time and Meat Loaf is no exception so I have stuck with it and listened to the album several times over the past month and it definitely grows on you.

People keep commenting on the rapping included in this album I would like to say that although I don't like stand alone rapping myself I think it is fitting both in the context of the music on this album and the times. Meat Loaf is no stranger to putting spoken sections in his albums and if Bat Out Of Hell (Vol 1 or 2) were being produced now these spoken sections may well have ended up being rapping sections. I think Meat Loaf is showing his respect for the modern music culture and embracing it (like any great artist would).

So to conclude; if you are looking for the Meat Loaf from 20 years ago this album is not for you. If however you, like Meat Loaf himself, you are prepared to evolve and embrace a more grown up and cultured form of Meat Loaf music then give this album a shot but be prepared to be confused at growing to like an album that at first contact is not the Meat Loaf you know and love!
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on 4 March 2012
Well, what a surprise. A new Meat Loaf album in, what, less than two years after the previous? And one which he rated so highly; you could almost have expected him to make 'Hang Cool...' his last to go out with a bang.

It could be said that this one is more for the fans. It's not as full-on or as hard-rocking. No swearing. There are more piano orientated songs, especially in the opener. There are some sax-led moments and even some fiddle. This kind of takes you back in time a bit to some of his earlier stuff.

Contrast the opening bars to the first song 'All of Me', to the right old din that brought 'Hang Cool...' into our shocked ears in its first few seconds. This new album is just a little bit more laid back, isn't it?

I like 'All of Me'. Meat is opening his soul to us and sharing with us his insecurities, anger and shame. Well, he says he is. But I can't make out what is the cause of his anger, insecurity and shame. I'm not clear on what he's raging about. Or is it clearer on 'The Giving Tree'? Shame about the strange knocking during the verse. 'Live or Die' isn't a bad rocker. Up to this point, we are treated to some rock of good quality which is stiring enough, even if the songs feel a bit dependant on a good chorus.

Then the unthinkable happens. The unforgiveable. No, I'm sorry, Meat, but I can't get over it. You have some rapping on your album. How in the name of Bat out of Hell could you have done it?

We stumble on. It can't happen again. Can it?

I quite like the cover version of 'California Dreaming. 'Party of One' is okay, if not a bit pedestrian, and it rocks along quite nicely. 'Another Day' is a stand-out. There is plenty of emotion throughout the album but this one does make your goose-bumps come up a bit.

There are several references to rain and stormy weather, starting with '40 Days'. Ok, I get the symbolism of rain, storms, and dark clouds. I do feel there's a bit too much of it, though. 'Stand in the Storm' starts off really well, and just when I'm really starting to enjoy it and put the whole rapping episode behind me, we get this bloody awful middle section which to me sounds like, well, rap.

So, by now, I'm really starting to lose interest. The attempt at building up the power with the big vocals on the pen-ultimate track is wearing thin.

This album could have been better without those blisteringly bad moments. This is now his worst album since 'Blind Before I Stop'. Thanks, but I'll stick with B.o.o.H 1,2 and 3 along with Bad Attitude, Welcome to the Neighbourhood and the first half of 'Couldn't Have Said it Better'.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 28 February 2012
I have just listened to this album for the first time, and whilst it is different to Meat's normal style, it is so brimming with emotion it is incredible. California Dreamin' as a cover is incredible.

If you are wanting to get this thinking it will be Bat out of Hell all over again, then stop and consider, and perhaps listn to some excerpts first.

However if you are a Meatloaf fan and want to move on to the next level this has some incredible tracks, that have more emotion than I have heard in such a long time. Listening to interviews where meat says he may well hit the odd flat note but it is the lyrics and the emotion that counts could not be more right.

In a world of dumb plastic bands singing their oh so commercial music this is different, this is from the heart.

Update

I have been listening to this album for a week, and it is growing on me every day, there is in all honesty not one duff track.
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on 10 May 2012
It's fair to say the last great Meat Loaf album was Bat out of hell III. I don't think he'll ever beat it. The last album Hang cool teddy bear shocked me to begin with! There are a few really decent songs on there but this was overshadowed by risky songs with cursing in like California isn't big enough and Like a rose, and just plain dumb songs - Los Angeloser. Even though I know some fans were impressed I was certainly not and although I do think there are some quality tracks on there I'm still not impressed with it. This album takes away all the swearing and is much more easy to listen to. It's definitely a better album overall and it fits together better.

Meat Loaf said this album was about how "the world has gone to hell in a handbasket" so it's obviously got a theme to it. The skull artwork is quite iconic. I'd say this album has a darker mood to the previous album too. Just as with Hang cool Meat's shortened the length of his songs (which he is not know for!) with the longest being 5:20 on this album.

The lead track and promoted track for the album is All of me. I saw Meat Loaf being interviewed on The One show and he was telling them how he's really exposing himself to the world with it. As open and honest as the track appears it's really not that good. One thing I have to mention is that most of the songs which are only good could have been great songs but are spoilt by Meat's shaky vocals. He's trying to be too athletic with his voice, using too much vibrato and compromising on power. This is 1 of those songs. It also sounds like the words aren't placed where they should be either (poor timing)! The giving tree picks up the pace with a somewhat catchy chorus, with lyrics implying selling your soul to the devil which fits in with the album's theme. One of the better tracks. Live or die is pretty strong with a rocky sound and forthright chorus - another of the best. Blue sky/Mad mad world/The good God is a woman and she don't like ugly is interesting! Blue sky is part 1 of 2 tracks which have been penned to tie the album together. They both sound the same but with different lyrics. MMW and TGGIAWASDLU is a double track song with the latter being a rap by Chuck D placed towards the end of the song and MMW being the main track which circles back round it. The Good God.... is a pretty weak rap to be fair and doesn't really fit in with Meat's song. Mad mad world is a pretty decent song with humour (and not the dirty kind like last time!) but is spoilt to a degree with that awful rap in between. It's catchy and it's good but I don't see the point of the rap - it doesn't work.

California Dreamin' is a pretty mediocre cover in my opinion. Even backed with Patti Russo's vocals it's only OK at best. It's nowhere near as good as The Beach Boys version and is too slow and moody for my liking! Party of one is the most upbeat song and is one of the best. It's a song about how he used to have a group of people who he couldn't trust and how he's got rid of them so whether it's genuine I don't know but it's entertaining anyway. Another day is a pretty powerful ballad about a girl trying to find her way. Forty days is based on the biblical story of Noah and the flood and how their will be a disaster to pay for the sins of man. I like it but once again it's good but not great. I really don't know why Meat's decided to use his voice differently. Our love and our souls is another duet with Patti Russo following Bat III's What about love (which is the best by far!) and Hang cool's Let's be in love which was OK. This is better than the latter and has a good beat to it. It's very forthright and genuine. Stand in the storm is one of the best with probably the strongest chorus and inspirational lyrics. Trace Atkins and Mark McGrath are welcome guests but once again a dodgy choice as it's ruined with Lil Jon! Who on earth's idea was it to put him in?! Fall from grace shows off Meat's shaky voice again although it's pretty good.

A good effort but in terms of quality he's still way off from his earlier material! Someone also needs a slap for 2 stupid guest appearance choices!
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on 24 April 2012
I rather enjoy this album. For me at first listen I was not convinced but its a real grower. I find overtones of some of the early albums, bad attitude, lost and found and such. There is a fair bit of contrast between tracks and within the songs themselves, which, for me, works very well. I cant say now there is a track I dislike.
Its not Bat, (nothing ever will be) but it is an accomplished album, strange to say but its almost mature. There has been mention in some reviews to Meats voice not being as good as it was, well its not. Who's would be after all these years? I've been in the crowd when he threw away the mike and we all still heard him, latterly not so powerful, but again then if I was the same as I was when I was in my 30's my wife would have a very harassed look about her face ;-) But it is still good for studio recordings, this being one of them.
A surprise track for me was California dreaming, at first I really disliked it, TBH I skipped it more often than not but as time has progressed it has grown on me much like Metallicas whisky in the jar as compared to Lizzys own. Its not the original but its not trying to be a clone cover.
I digress. I suppose the bottom line on anything is "would I buy this again if the album needed replaced"? In a heartbeat.
Its not a solid grut rock album but by god it does sound good with the volume up and I look forward to the rumoured "Hot holidays" this xmas.
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I was no fan of Hang Cool Teddy Bear and while this is (in my view) an improvement it still lacks something. There are some important messages here from the artist, but the balance is that it lacks the power ballads for which he is so famous. There is a rap element (which I hated I am afraid) which felt out of place in a cd that felt good natured in intent but average in delivery. I listened to this a few times and then listened to one of the greatest hits albums and felt confident that no track from this would ever make a future greatest hits. Shame, I am a fan and so much wanted to acclaim this as a massive return to form. It's not.
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on 18 April 2013
Well into his 60's Meat Loaf is singing as strongly as ever. This album is a solid effort but is lacking in an impact song. I sort of though Meat Loaf was OK without buying anything back in the 1980's. When "I'll Do Anything For Love" came out in 1993, this is when I bacame a fan and have all the albums except currently for "Blind Before I Stop". The main issue with this album is there is nothing anywhere close to "I'll Do Anything for Love", "Dead Ringer", "I'd Lie Fou You And That's The Truth", "Not a Dry Eye In The House" or others that could be mentioned. As I results whilst being a decent effort, it's probably going to be queued behind the bigger albums.
Having said all that Meat Loaf's version of "California Dreamin" does stand out as an album track cover. A couple of bit's of rapping from guest singers adds a more unusual element. There is also quite a nice accoustic guitar intro to track 11 ("Blue Sky"). All the song's are performed with vocal clarity and unlike one track from "Hang Cool Teddy Bear" there isn't any crudeness.
So definately a solid effort, worth a listen, just lacking a certain something.
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on 24 October 2012
I love Meat Loaf and have enjoyed many of his albums. This new album I will say is certain different from his usual and I find it to be a quite a good album but... There is one thing I can not stand and that is rap!
I was quite generally enjoying listening to the album when I first got it but then it got to track 4 which I now realise is in fact 3 tracks in one. 'The Good God is a Woman and she Doesn't like Ugly' the third part is complete rap and it set my teeth on edge! I like the rest of it but when it gets to track 4 I kind of dread what is to come. But then it wasn't just track 4 that has the rap introduced 'Stand in the Storm' also features it and although I really like this track the rap part I do not. I think it ruins it to be perfectly honest, I have never been a fan of rap and I reckon this album would be so much better without it which is why I've knocked off a star and rated it 4. Other wise I throughly enjoy the rest album.
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on 23 May 2013
Oh Dear. Since my missus introduced me to ML and Bat Out Of Hell 2 nearly 20 years ago, I've been a big fan. All his subsequent albums, whether with the Bat "franchise" or otherwise have had much to recommend them and his version of No Matter What (yes, the Boyzone number!) is one of my all time favourites. But I don't get this at all. Why resort to a cover of the 45 year old California Dreaming? Some other tracks seem to be not fully formed songs and from time to time, Meat's voice seems to losing its power or directness.
Hope Marv can conjure up some better form on another album soon.
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on 18 April 2012
After delaying buying 'hang cool teddy bear' and 'couldn't have said it better' and being blown away by the quality of both these, I decided to buy 'hell in a handbasket immediately'. Although I am enjoying it, it is far inferior to these two classic offerings and not as good as Bat 3 either, which didn't quite live up to the name. This album almost reminds me of MeatLoaf and Stoney in places, with a slightly more souly feel, but doesn't quite work. still worth a listen
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