Meat Loaf has revived the mega-selling "Bat out of Hell" franchise for a third album installment, due Oct. 31 via Virgin in North America and Universal internationally.

Meat Loaf has revived the mega-selling "Bat out of Hell" franchise for a third album installment, due Oct. 31 via Virgin in North America and Universal internationally. A video for the Jim Steinman-penned "It's All Coming Back to Me Now," which features up-and-coming vocalist Marion Raven, will premiere Aug. 12 on VH1.

The project was produced by Desmond Child and features contributions from "Bat Out of Hell" producer Todd Rundgren, Motley Crue's Nikki Sixx, Queen's Brian May, Steve Vai and John 5. Longtime collaborator Steinman wrote seven tracks, following the resolution of a recent lawsuit over the "Bat Out of Hell" trademark.

"It's a marketing tool, and it's a damned good marketing tool," Meat Loaf said last night (July 31) at a media event in New York when asked why the "Bat" franchise was returning again after 14 years. Added Child of the album, "We go to heaven, we go to hell and everywhere in between."

Without eschewing the grandiose, piano-based arrangements for which Steinman is known, "Bat Out of Hell III" pushes Meat Loaf into more hard-rocking territory than usual, particularly on tracks like "Land of the Pigs" (featuring Vai) and "The Monster Is Loose."

"That scared the hell out of me, I can tell you that. I wasn't sure about it," Meat Loaf told Billboard.com of the latter tune. "The reaction to that song has been, 'Wow, I wasn't expecting that on a Meat Loaf record.' I think fans who liked 'Bat I' and 'Bat II' will enjoy 'Bat III,' but we'll make some new fans too."

On Oct. 16, Meat Loaf will perform all three "Bat" albums at London's Royal Albert Hall. That format will serve as a template for a subsequent tour in support of "Bat III," dates for which have yet to be announced.

"This whole tour will be only the three records," he said. "I don't think you can bring other elements in. As much as fans may want to hear something from [prior albums] 'Midnight at the Lost and Found' or 'Couldn't Have Said It Better,' that's not what this tour will be."

While working on the album, Meat Loaf also found time to shoot an episode of Showtime's "Masters of Horror" series with director Dario Argento, as well as a cameo in the long-awaited Tenacious D film "The Pick of Destiny," in which he plays Jack Black's father.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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