90FM Album Review:Hidden Towers-Olympus Mons””

Kyle Florence kflor654@uwsp.edu



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.

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