Opeth frontman Mikaël Åkerfeldt, paid tribute to legendary Heavy Metal drummer Lee Kerslake, who died this past weekend at age 73. In a post on social media, Akerfelt talked lovingly about Lee, less so for his work in Ozzy Osbourne’s Blizzard of Ozz band, but specifically for his work in Uriah Heap’s classic 1970s era, from which the Opeth leader draws considerable influence. The Opeth leader worships the band, as told to Ghost Cult in our 2019 interview. Read Mikael’s thoughts on Lee below.
Legendary Heavy Metal drummer Lee Kerslake, best known for his work with Ozzy Osbourne and Uriah Heap, has died. He was just 73 years old. In a post to social media Uriah Heap bassist and Lee’s friend, Ken Hensley commented: “It’s with the heaviest of hearts that I share with you that Lee Kerslake, my friend of 55 years and the best drummer I ever played with, lost his battle with cancer at 03:30 this morning,”. “He died peacefully, praise The Lord, but he will be terribly missed.”
Ozzy Osbourne has released a deluxe version of his classic solo debut album Blizzard Of Ozz, that collection is in stores now. To commemorate the 40th anniversary of Ozzy Osbourne’s landmark debut album Blizzard Of Ozz, fans will be able to celebrate with a new animated video for “Crazy Train”, a live Twitter chat, the release of a new HD version of “30 Years After The Blizzard” documentary, a SiriusXM Ozzy’s Boneyard radio special, “40 Years Of Ozzy Osbourne’s Blizzard Of Ozz”, a selection of limited-edition “Blizzard Of Ozz” commemorative merchandise, and a black and red vinyl version of the album. You can now watch a new animated video for “Crazy Train” right now!
Just over thirty-three years ago we lost easily one of the most legendary guitarists to grace the Heavy Metal genre. Recording only two albums each with Quiet Riot and Ozzy Osbourne, Randy Rhoads had created guitar riffs and solos that would stand the test of time. Unless they’ve been living under a rock I’m sure the average person could easily recall how the song ‘Crazy Train’ goes. With this much fame still held to his name, it’s not too surprising to see a tribute album. I am speaking of the Immortal Randy Rhoads The Ultimate Tribute (UDR) album.
Right from the start, I began to assume I was in for a nightmare. ‘Crazy Train’ is the first track. Featuring Serj Tankian of System of a Down, it’s about as awkward of a fit as you would expect. It’s not necessarily horrible, but he feels more like a guy at your local karaoke bar. It could be that I was just distracted by the very unfortunate choice for lead guitar. To me one of the most overrated guitar players out there, it’s none other than Tom Morello. He fills the classic with his usual incorporation of feedback and picking/tapping. It’s a bitter pill to swallow when you finally get to the solo just to hear he completely overwhelmed it with his own unique playing. Sounding more like your Atari is skipping beats rather than slightly resembling what may be considered Rhoads most classic guitar solo.
It’s only improvement from this point on right? Couldn’t possibly get any worse? Of the ten remaining tracks, Tim “Ripper” Owens handled vocals. Not a bad choice as his vocal ability is a good fit. But they settled on him for eight of the eleven tracks? Why not try and spice things up? Especially if you’re going to go with the disappointing choice of Serj. The main issue that I have with Owens is that the guitar players that he was paired with played their role note for note, tempo, and tuning just as in the originals. It’s a collection of covers that make you feel compelled to just return to the classic tracks instead.
As with most people I’m sure, I can be rather shallow when it comes to a cover song. Played note for note with the same pace and similar tuning, why bother? When you rework the song into your “signature” sound to the point that it doesn’t in any way resemble the original, why bother? Just a slight change can make the cover that much more enjoyable, which leads me to the one track that stands out. The only track that grabbed my attention and held it tight was ‘Mr. Crowley’ featuring Chuck Billy (Testament) on vocals. That unique, strong, and easily recognizable voice make this the lone track that is a stand out.
Immortal Randy Rhoads: The Ultimate Tribute is not a terrible album, but I would remove ultimate from the title. You finish the album with a feeling that this was a significant loss of great potential. Want to really pay the ultimate tribute to Randy Rhoads? Continue to enjoy the classics that he himself recorded.