Ozzy Osbourne may well be ripe for mainstream acclaim as a founding father of heavy metal, but thankfully Bat Head Soup: A Tribute to Ozzy is not one of those increasingly common, cute, and "eclectic" tribute albums where bands and artists are seemingly chosen on the basis of how far away they are, musically, from the honoree. Nor is it -- like Legend of a Madman, Ozzified, and Land of the Wizard, the previous Osbourne tributes -- an attempt by record labels to showcase the no-name acts on their roster. This one gives the Ozzy Osbourne songbook the full-bore, hard rock treatment with a lineup that includes members and ex-members of Ratt, Kiss, Night Ranger, Poison, Slaughter, Twisted Sister, and Judas Priest, to name just a few. There are more guitar heroes, virtuoso bassists, hotshot session drummers, and '80s wild-child screamers in this lineup than you could shake a dead pigeon at. Most of the covers are, by and large, faithful to the originals, if a little too heavy on the guitar pyrotechnics, but that comes with the territory on an album that features Paul Gilbert, Reb Beach, Richie Kotzen, Steve Lukather, George Lynch, Doug Aldrich, Dweezil Zappa, Brad Gillis, and Yngwie Malmsteen. On the one hand, the guitar overkill is what keeps the songs from being note-identical copies of the originals; on the other, it is a tiny bit hard to digest after a point if you're not a shred fan. Speaking of shred fans, the entire Racer X lineup is present on "Children of the Grave," the only "band" effort on the album (and one of two Black Sabbath songs on it, along with "Paranoid") apart from the Flys on "Suicide Solution" -- the rest are all by supergroups assembled on the fly specially for the tribute. The only really unusual collaboration is Lisa Loeb and Dweezil Zappa doing "Goodbye to Romance" -- not bad, no matter what it sounds like on paper. And you also get to hear Motörhead's Lemmy singing on "Desire," a song he co-wrote with Osbourne for the No More Tears album back in 1991. It's pretty obvious that all the artists on this album grew up idolizing Osbourne. Often that's transparent in their desire to be impressive, but there are worse faults a tribute album could have.
AllMusic Review by Leslie Mathew