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CD Review: Immortal Randy Rhoads — The ultimate tribute

UDR Music; Release Date: March 3, 2015

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Considered one of metal's greatest guitarists and an influence on many who came after him, Randy Rhoads was the guitar player for Ozzy Osbourne when he died in a 1982 plane accident at age 25. This new album featuring a long list of guests pays tribute to the axe man with 11 songs — 10 covers of Ozzy Osbourne and one of Quiet Riot (Rhoads was an early guitarist for the band).

Metal singer Tim "Ripper" Owens (Yngwie Malmsteen's Rising Force, Judas Priest) is featured on eight of the 11 songs while bassist Rudy Sarzo, who played with Rhoads in both bands, is on all 11, lending a certain consistency to the album. As for the long list of guitarists, there's a balance between those who veer off the rails a bit and those who do their best to stay true to Rhoads' original licks.

The album gets a surprisingly shaky start with "Crazy Train" featuring singer Serj Tankian (System of a Down) and guitarist Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine). You feel like Morello is straining to hold back while Tankian is out of his element vocally — both in tone and style. I expected better from these two.

From there, the album is relatively solid. Guitarist Jon Donais (Shadows Fall) sets the album back on course with his by-the-book fretwork on the cover of "Over the Mountain." The same could be said about Children of Bodom's Alexi Laiho and Dweezil Zappa, among others.

After listening to the first track — which features two of the more familiar/popular names on the album — I expected the rest of the album to be a trainwreck of sorts. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised that the majority of musicians stayed true to the music and did the late guitarist proud.

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