Mar 252024

“Working Man” is far and away Rush‘s most famous song from their brief pre-Neil Peart era (i.e. their first album), before they went fully prog rock. Never a single, it was often a part of their live shows. It’s primarily known for its open riff and its extended guitar solo.

The famous opening riff could almost qualify as proto-sludge metal so it’s no surprise that it appeals to thrash and thrash-influenced metal bands. American thrash/groove metal legends Prong recorded a cover of this song for their 13th studio album last year, and they’ve released a longer version of it just in time for the song’s 50th anniversary.

Prong up the distortion on the iconic riff. There’s a fuller sound given the larger band and there’s a little more swing to it as you might expect by a band identified with the groove metal movement. Lead singer Tommy Victor’s voice is (obviously) a lot lower than Geddy Lee’s, and he sort of half shouts through it.

The 2023 version Prong recorded is nearly three minutes shorter than the original. But for what they call the “Regular Version,” the band include the break, and that’s where the real thrash-esque metal vibe shows up, with some extremely heavy riffing to introduce and back the the guitar solo. There are some moments where two guitars duel which almost recalls Iron Maiden. It’s really in this section where the band transform the song, wisely not aping Alex Lifeson’s performance but having their own fun with it. This section jumps around through different metal niches before returning to the main riff, as happens in the original.

Though it’s mostly pretty faithful, this version of their cover is a fun interpretation of the track. Check it out:

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