The rarely covered Rush deep-cut “Jacob’s Ladder” is the climax from side one of Rush’s seventh album, 1980’s Permanent Waves. It’s the album where they began to, tentatively, incorporate other forms other popular music into their prog metal sound. “Jacob’s Ladder” combines these competing tendencies, with some of the heaviest music of their career to date with a synthesizer interlude that sounds like it could have been written by Vangelis.
It makes sense that metal bands would be drawn to the track and it’s repetitive pummel, and the first ever cover appears to have been by metal singer Sebastian Bach. American experimental metal band Imperial Triumphant have really been jumping on the cover wagon lately. Their latest is a predictably heavy cover of “Jacob’s Ladder.”
For the heavy parts, Imperial Triumphant play it pretty straight, albeit way more metal, though Geddy Lee’s wail is replaced by lead singer’s Zachary Ilya Ezrin’s deep growl. They keep the knotty prog lead and bass guitar parts and lean into the bolero aspect. (Though they can still pull off the swingier parts, too.)
It’s basically more metal Rush until we get to the synthesizer-heavy bridge. Imperial Triumphant doesn’t really do synthesizers, at least in the ’80s sense. They add them to the track when you’d expect, but then they drop away pretty quickly in favour of abstract guitar textures and sound effects. Exrin’s voice is slowed and possibly flipped and then there is a big buildup that gets increasingly loud and knotty until it returns to the climax of the song.