Long before Google mapped every peak, valley and molehill on Earth, Medieval cartographers labelled uncharted territories with the dramatic designation, ‘Hic Abundant Leones’, meaning ‘Lions Abound Here’. Admittedly, dark caveats of murderous, flesh-tearing beasts sounds infinitely more impressive than saying, “We’re really not sure what’s over here.”
Likewise, The Tower have borrowed this Latin appellation for the title of their debut, implying that its nine tracks bustle with inscrutable melodies and dark, perilous passages. In fact, Hic… offers a groovy and utterly accessible clutch of 70s doom/psych metal that draws generously from the rivers of Sabbath, Sir Lord Baltimore and proto-metal pioneers like Lucifer’s Friend.
Rumbling, fuzzed-out basslines take centre stage on Adrenalawine and Wounds, while other tracks such as the storming Lions At The Gate reveal The Tower’s classic rock sensibilities with a lighter-raising fretboard showcase that establishes that guitarist August is no stranger to the works of James Marshall Hendrix.
Awash in gelatinous grooves and druggy psychedelic bluster, perhaps the one downside to Hic Abundant Leones is that halfway through, you feel like throwing on the classics instead.