Following a dispute with his former songwriter Jim Steinman, Meat Loaf was contractually obliged to release a new album. According to Meat Loaf, Steinman gave him "Total Eclipse of the Heart" and "Making Love Out of Nothing at All" for the album, but Meat's record company refused to pay for Steinman. The songs Steinman had given to Meat Loaf were then given to Bonnie Tyler and Air Supply respectively, which both became hits in their respective countries and worldwide. Struggling for time and with no resolution to his arguments with Steinman seemingly on the horizon (eventually, Steinman and Meat Loaf would sue one another), he was forced to find songwriters wherever he could, including writing the songs himself.
Meat Loaf is credited with being involved in the writing of numerous tracks on the album, including the title track. However, as Meat would later admit, he was not much of a songwriter and did not like the songs he had written for the album. It was also regarded by fans and critics alike as a poor effort whether compared to previous releases or on its own merit. Those same fans and critics were disappointed to see that the iconic pictures on the covers of Bat Out of Hell and Dead Ringer were replaced by a black-and-white photograph of Meat Loaf. (On some later re-releases, a color image of a screaming Meat Loaf was used as the cover image.)
"Razor's Edge", "If You Really Want To" and the title track were released as singles, but none made top chart positions. The song "Lost Love", which was originally recorded during the sessions for the album, was released as the B-side to "If You Really Want To". This track was only released on CD on the Australian edition of Hits Out of Hell. The title track still regularly forms part of Meat Loaf concerts, and was one of very few 1980s songs to feature on the hit album The Very Best of Meat Loaf (1998).