Immortal Randy Rhoads – “The Ultimate Tribute”

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Immortal Randy Rhoads – “The Ultimate Tribute” (UDR Records)

For those of you that have been in stasis for the last four decades, Randy Rhoads was Ozzy Osbourne’s first guitarist plucked from relative obscurity who rose to fame on “Blizzard Of Oz” and “Diary Of A Madman”, only to tragically die in a plane crash two years later aged just 25. However, in that time he created an indelible legacy that would see him immortalized forever. Repeatedly cited even to these days in any ‘Greatest Guitarists’ list, both Gibson and Jackson guitars have released editions in honor of this young talented guitarist whose influence on neo classical metal has been acknowledged by the likes of Yngwie Malmsteen. The sheer amount of un-released video and recordings still being released to this day say it all, such is the cult following Rhoads continues to attract. “The Ultimate Tribute” is certainly not the first tribute by any means with Ozzy himself having released “Tribute” back in 1987, however, Immortal Randy Rhoads is a compendium of well known musicians old and new including Alex Laiho, Tom Morello, Dweezil Zappa, Brad Gillis, Bernie Torme and George Lynch taking up guitar duties with the rhythm coming from Rhoad’s old Quiet Riot buddies Rudy Sarzo and Frankie Banali. That’s all well and good and certainly the talent does justice to classic “Blizzard..” songs like ‘Crazy Train’, ‘Mr Crowley’ and ‘I Don’t Know’. What die hard fans are sure find contentious is with the vocalists who range from Tom ‘Ripper’ Owens in the main, along with Serj Tankian and Chuck Billy with the possible exception being Rhoad’s own brother Kelle. Given how unique Ozzy’s vocals are, don’t be expecting any interpretations that even come close otherwise you will be disappointed. But if you see this as a group of musicians who knew and admired both the work and guitar playing of Randy himself, then “The Ultimate Tribute” is enjoyable for what it is, spanning 11 tracks from both his Ozzy and Quiet Riot days given their own spin by the musicians involved. My only wonder was why old band mates Lee Kerslake and Bob Daisley didn’t participate, but maybe the memories made it just too painful to bear…

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