The man, the myth, the legend: Randy Rhoads.
For those of you who don’t know who Randy Rhoads was, you should go out and grab everything he has ever played on. Your life will come into greater focus because of the purchase. Trust.
Rhoads was considered a pioneer by most metal guitarists for his use of classical guitar techniques in heavy metal. His first band, Quiet Riot, yes THAT Quiet Riot, was a huge hit on the LA club circuit and had released two albums before Rhoads was hired for Ozzy Osbourne’s solo career in the eighties. This is where his career skyrocketed. His guitar work can be really be heard on songs like “Mr Crowley” and the legendary hit “Crazy Train.” His body of work was short lived, as he passed away in a plane accident at 25 years old while touring with Osbourne.
What makes Immortal Randy Rhoads – The Ultimate Tribute interesting are the bands created to cover some his greatest riffs. Musicians with very distinct styles banded together to really put together a diverse flavor for the album.
For example the first song, “Crazy Train,” is re-interpreted by Serj Tankian of System of a Down and Tom Morello of Rage Against The Machine. It’s an interesting cover. Tom Morello, a guitar player who takes advantage of the noises a guitar can make rather than hitting all his scales, does a good job of doing the solo while at the same time putting his own touch on it. It’s a tough song to cover since it is such a classic, but this version isn’t so bad.
“Mr Crowley,” another legendary Ozzy tune, is played by a mish-mash of musicians, but of most prominence is Alexi Laiho of Children of Bodom. A big time Randy Rhoads fan, he even had his own custom guitar designed in the style that Rhoads used to play. Alexi plays it pretty straight up and does a great job. His solo is great here too, this track is probably the best straightforward cover on the album.
As far as tribute albums go, Immortal Randy Rhoads – The Ultimate Tribute is not the best one, but it is good to see that people are paying their respect to a guitarist who literally changed the sound of a genre, and to a talent that we lost too soon. Long Live Randy Rhoads.