Various Artists: Immortal Randy Rhoads - The Ultimate Tribute

Ozzy’s late guitarist gets the VIP treatment

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Most tribute releases are a waste of time. Who needs to hear a bunch of c-listers scraping together some beer money while pretending to big up an act that really doesn’t need such vindication? It’s cheap, nasty and transparent.

This celebration of Randy Rhoads, the guitar prodigy who perished tragically in a plane crash in 1982 after finding success with Ozzy Osbourne, gets off to a positive start via the participation of bandmates, including Rudy Sarzo and Frankie Banali, and Randy’s brother Kellie, who voices Back To The Coast, one of two non-Osbourne tunes originally recorded by Rhoads’ pre-Ozzy band Quiet Riot.

The presences of Serj Tankian and Tom Morello only enhance the validity factor, though ex-Judas Priest man Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens is a less than spectacular fit with Over The Mountain. Testament’s Chuck Billy growls through the musical grandiosity of Mr Crowley, which is slightly disconcerting, but mostly these songs are so exceptional that who’s playing or singing them becomes irrelevant.

An accompanying DVD adds kudos, though the question of where the proceeds are headed remains moot. One only hopes that a portion of the profit will go to the school set up in Randy’s name by his mother.