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mark taylor
Mark Taylor

meat loaf

The forty million plus selling album 'Bat Out Of Hell' celebrates its 40th anniversary next year. It was an album that not only turned Meat Loaf into a household name but also its composer Jim Steinman.

Big Meat was the perfect choice to sing those grand theatric songs but the union between singer and writer hasn't always been an easy ride.

Following a dispute after the 'Dead Ringer' album Steinman started to work with other artists including Bonnie Tyler, Air Supply, Pandora's Box and even Barry Manilow.

Despite some individual success for Steinman and Meat Loaf, the former with Tyler and Air Supply, the latter holding his solo career sufficiently afloat, the two were constantly associated with each other - until they finally reunited in 1993 for 'Bat Out Of Hell II: Back Into Hell'. The album proved to be another smash global success.

Now at the age of 68 Meat Loaf sings the songs of Jim Steinman once again and it could prove to be his last great hurrah!

meat loaf

The majority of the songs on 'Braver Than We Are' have appeared in one shape or form on previous Steinman-related albums, some even dating as far back as 1968 when they were used in the musicals 'The Dream Engine' and 'Neverland'.

But these songs really come alive when Meat Loaf adds his magical touch. His voice has aged but with a flair of wisdom.

On opening track 'Who Needs The Young' Meat sings: 'My voice isn't what it was. Is there anyone left who can sing?'.

With his recent health scares and a proposed farewell tour two years ago, Meat Loaf is as stubborn as Lemmy when it comes to giving up.

Producer and guitarist Paul Crook, who worked with both Anthrax and Sebastian Bach, adds a Queen-like guitar here with his Brian May signature Gibson.

meat loaf

Ellen Foley and Karla DeVito return to add vocals on the palatial epic 'Going All The Way', a song split into six movements!

Meat battles it out with Stacy Michelle on the expressive 'Speaking In Tongues' and the catchy 'Loving You Is A Dirty Job (But Somebody's Gotta Do It)' but most surprising is the inclusion of the track 'More' which was originally recorded by the goth rockers Sisters Of Mercy. Still holding a gothic vibe but at a slower pace, Meat Loaf croons this powerful number against an aggressive backbeat.

The strong question of 'Godz' segues into 'Skull Of Your Country', an imposing number which leads into the lyrics of 'Turnaround, bright eyes', as nature originally intended.

The album steamrolls out with 'Train Of Love' which features some neat slide guitar from Blackfoot/Lynyrd Skynyrd guitarist Ricky Medlocke.

'Braver Than We Are' can proudly sit next to two Bat albums, its bombastic grandeur demanding to be brought alive on the stage. That, however, may prove too rigorous for Meat Loaf, but you just try and stop him.

Quite possibly these songs will make it into a musical once again for Steinman thanks to Meat Loaf adding that magical touch. I always did wonder why he held that red handkerchief.

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A message from Jim Steinman. Click for a larger version.



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