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ALBUM REVIEW : You Can't Go Back to 'Hell'

September 25, 1993|CHRIS WILLMAN

** 1/2

Meat Loaf,"Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell"

MCA Records.

Mr. Loaf may look less meaty these days, but there's still a lot of cheese in his diet. "Hell II" attempts to re-create the shameless theatrical juvenilia that was 1977's "Bat Out of Hell," one of rock's grandest guilty pleasures. And there are crafty glimmers here of what made that vinyl behemoth such gloriously adolescent fun. But the pleasure is a lot guiltier this time; there may be a cap on how many years rockers can credibly elevate teenhood to godhood, even with tongue in cheek. To paraphrase Thomas Wolfe, you can't go to hell again.

Much of this material was previously recorded by songwriter Jim Steinman himself on "Bad for Good" in 1981. "Bad for Good II," as this might more accurately be called, then, runs the gamut from very bad to very good, taste always taking a back seat. As is appropriate--the back seat still being the eternal resting place for Steinman's everlastingly groping "Lost Boys and Golden Girls."

Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor) to four (excellent).

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