Sep 152023
imperial triumphant jacobs ladder

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.

Jul 312023
imperial triumphant

New York’s avant-garde metal experimentalists Imperial Triumphant are on a tear with covers recently. Their newest effort is a nod to New York, on a song made famous by a musical style, Bebop, which partially evolved in the Big Apple: “A Night In Tunisia.” Continue reading »

Jul 032023
best cover songs of june 2023
Aaron Taos ft. Jordana — Under Control (The Strokes cover)

Aaron Taos says: “When Jordana and I met for the first time, we realized very quickly that we both shared an obsession with the Strokes. What’s more surprising is that we also share the same favorite Strokes song, “Under Control,” an album cut off of their second LP Room On Fire. Naturally, we decided that we had to cover this amazing tune. Reimagined as a minimalist duet, this slow burn produced by Blake Richardson (formerly artist Sage Baptiste) also comes with a lo-fi vid shot in Brooklyn, NY. We just want to make Julian Casablancas proud.” Continue reading »

Jun 192023
imperial triumphant paranoid android cover

The six and a half minute mini-suite “Paranoid Android,” the lead-off single from Radiohead‘s legendary OK Computer, remains one of their most covered songs, despite, or perhaps because of, its complexity. Full of dynamic swings in volume and tempo, it’s probably a lot of fun to play once you’ve mastered it.

American experimental black metal band Imperial Triumphant are a lot less interested in the fun dynamics of “Paranoid Android” than your average Radiohead cover artists. Bands in black metal and its associate subgenres can sometimes flatten dynamics and opt instead of more subtle gradations of loud and louder. But Imperial Triumphant aren’t your average black metal band, so the dynamics you expect are still there, just different. (But are also sometimes labelled as dissonant death metal and, um, “avant garde jazz,” so you’ve been warned.) Continue reading »