The Vancouver-based four-piece Hidden Towers exploded
onto the Canadian rock-scene in 2009, where early on they were met with a fair
amount of success and critical-praise. Unfortunately, after being a band for
not even a full year, side-projects and various individual pursuits prompted a
three year hiatus. With the addition of a new drummer, Hidden Towers has since
returned with ‘Olympus Mons’, a seven-song gem named after the mammoth volcano
on Mars. And, much like like the 14 mile-high mountain of magma, this latest
effort by the group is something to be marveled at.
The album as a whole maintains a particularly dreary,
distinctly-grunge infused sound, which arches beautifully across a vast
spectrum of genres and never lets up. In turn, the album is laden with a
variety of category-defying soundscapes, one moment comparable to Brand New’
“The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me”, only to follow the example of Circle
Takes the Square mere measures later.
The album opener “Smoke Cloud” is a lofty six-plus
minute which builds slowly before erupting into an unpredictable cascade of
jittery, pounding riffs, reminiscent of Animals as Leaders and similar
progressive acts. Likewise, fans of the grunge-movement will likely find solace
with “Gleaming the Cube”, where Lead Vocalist Chris Cantrell’s raspy
ebb-and-flow could easily be mistaken for a more cultured Kurt Cobain, accented
by wiry guitar work. “Son of the Dragon” and “Comoving Distance” are two more
notable tracks which are both infectiously catchy and savagely unpredictable.
Additionally, The last song on ‘Olympus Mons’, “Drowning in the Baptismal Font”
, which jumps between spacey interludes and explosive, high-flying riffs, is
undoubtedly the pinnacle of the entire album.
Since this albums release, Cantrell has since been
quoted as saying “I personally find myself being more influenced by things that
are complete mysteries to me.” This all encompassing influence is made apparent
with “Olympus Mons”, resulting in a work of art that is creative,
unpredictable, and unforgiving.