Bat Out Of Hell II: Back Into Hell

Spin Magazine ★★★★★ (out of five)

Townsend, give back the Tony! Rock's real ruler of the Great White Way has returned! The marriage between addled iconography of mad scientist Jim Steinman and the untethered hysteria of his foam-flecked man-beast Meat Loaf gave birth to a repertoire stuffed with showstoppers and production numbers. After Bat I, he should have been Broadway bound. Instead, his fate - his Tusk - was for each of these kindred spirits to become estranged from the other. Now he's back with an album whose only concession to contemporary requirements is backing vocals by Nelson.

Even though over 75% of the material included herein is ecologically recycled from Steinman's overlooked solo projects, Loaf pumps enough fervor into his mentor's mania to kick Andrew Lloyd Webber's flabby white butt back to the family mansion. And I'm sorry, but my Tommy original cast album doesn't appear to include anything as powerful as Bat II's traumatized family chiller, "Objects In The Rear View Mirror May Appear Closer Than They Are." Author! Author!