Artist: Cargo Lift
Release Date: 12 February 2021
Country: Thessaloniki, Greece
Digital Price: €7 (8.51 USD)
Length: 41min 30s
Greece is a part of the world that is really underrated in how much it has to offer musically. Not just metal, because there are Greek bands that play a variety of musical styles releasing fantastic music. Cargo Lift is one such band. A fairly new project, they composed their first songs in 2017 before releasing their First EP. Following that release they continued touring until their Disguised EP in 2019, leading eventually to recording an album throughout the pandemic of 2020. That album is named Then.
Then was self-released via Bandcamp and is an album that the band describes as influenced by bands like Faith No More, Tool, Audioslave, Queens of the Stone Age and others. These are quite apt comparisons, and there is certainly an early 2000s alt rock sound here. Once I first listened to this album, it was immediately obvious to me that Cargo Lift must have been influenced heavily by Audioslave. Foo Fighters also immediately leapt into my mind as a clear influence, and I was unsurprised to learn that they were indeed one of the main influences in this band’s sound. However, at no point does Then ever sound like a pastiche. This is an interesting album that stands on its own despite its influences being fairly clear.
Then has a distinctly 2000s American sound, particularly in its guitarwork which varies from an almost Tool-esque epic in Home, to tracks like YAHA and Somethin’ To Say that bear that assertive, driving sound that era is so well known for. Then there are the more emotionally intense tracks like Prophecy, with a certain melancholy powered by wailing guitars and a distinctly frustrated existential angst lyrically. The vocals sound almost hallway between James LaBrie (Dream Theater) and Mike Patton, especially with those long notes. An album with this sort of sound needs a good, distinct vocalist or it can run the risk of sounding generic purely because of the vocals. Cargo Lift passes that test easily.
Also pleasing is the prominence of drums in the mix, something that is not always the case with this sort of music, especially with the popularity of the stoner rock sound lately which is generally very guitar-forward. Then carries an altogether different sound to most modern rock music in that vein, although it doesn’t feel divorced from the developments of the past ten years. Tracks like Tragedy and Home show an influence from stoner rock’s predilection for long-form tracks that evolve over time, carrying you deeper as you listen.
Most importantly with Then, there was enough variation that after my initial listen, the result was a listener jumping from track-to-track vibing to the feelings of a particular era. That assertive angst of alternative rock works quite well in 2021 and Cargo Lift were smart to give it new life. Then feels like the best kind of tribute to the bands Cargo Lift love – a new revitalisation of a somewhat lost sound. That sound is carried forward into a new era, feeling nostalgic and fresh at the same time. This is a solid debut from Cargo Lift, one that instilled a curiosity in where they will go from here. There is some nice guitar work in the heavier parts of this album, and a hint that the band might be capable of something a little more intricate and progressive. In any case, wherever they go, they have an interesting base to build on. Do not let Cargo Lift’s Then fly under the radar, because you’ll be missing out on some great, unique music.
I hope you enjoy Then.
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