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by antiGUY

Label: 413 Records/Geffen
Not Me
Walk Away
Listen to samples and Purchase this CD online


Lo-Pro’s self-titled album not only marks the debut of the group, it’s also the first offering from Aaron Lewis’ 413 Records. The pressure was on both the band and the label to produce something exceptional. Luckily for both, the music seems to be up to the task. 

The group was founded by vocalist Pete Murray and guitarist Neil Godfrey, who had played together for years in the industrial rock band Ultraspank.  A band that released two critically acclaimed albums on Epic that never quite seemed to catch on in a big way with the public. 

Demoralized with the lack of success of Ultraspank, the group disbanded--Murray and Godfrey opted for day jobs and left rock n roll behind. But rock is something ingrained in you that you can’t shake off to become quietly domesticated with a 9-to-5 job. Godfrey wasn’t about to give up the dream and began writing new songs. Once he had a few strong tracks together he visited his old vocalist, Murray, who at that time had pretty much given up his dreams of rock n roll stardom. But once he heard the new songs, he was reinvigorated.  

“The minute Neil showed up with these new songs... it was weird, things started to happen differently,” remembers Murray. “We didn't set any goals; we were just making music to have fun. That's where the name came from--we wanted to keep the hype to a minimum and let the music speak for itself."

The duo set about recording demos of the tracks on a computer Murray’s bedroom. Once they had what they felt was a strong demo tape, they began putting out feelers for a deal. One of those feelers reached Staind vocalist Aaron Lewis who had just launched a new label with Geffen boss Jordan Schur. 

"I was really picky about what I brought to the table as my first band, and I found exactly what I wanted with Lo-Pro," says Lewis. "I was handed a demo that Pete and Neil made in Pete's bedroom on a computer--and it sounded better than most of the finished product being played on the radio."

But two guys in a bedroom with a demo does not a band make and Lewis told Godfrey and Murray they needed a full lineup and advised them to “surround yourself with the right people”. 

So they went about auditioning musicians to fill out the group. They brought aspiring rockers to their 7-square-foot rehearsal space to audition. They found kindred spirits with former Godsmack drummer Tommy Stewart and former Snot and Amen bassist Jon Fahnestock, both of whom had been down the road before. They hired on guitarist Pete Ricci to round out the group and they were ready to rock and roll. 

With a full band in place, the group was ready to go forward. Lewis signed them up and sent them off to NRG studio in Los Angeles with producer Don Gilmore (Linkin Park) to record their debut album. 

The stakes were high, Lewis needed a great record to launch his new label and the band needed a great record to launch their career. The end result is a cohesive glimpse into some of the strongest elements of modern hard rock with a mix of nu-metal and tingles of industrial flavor, crafted with an ear towards melody—a formula that Linkin Park rode to multi-platinum glory. The exception here is the absence of the rap and songs that are more defined with musical credibility.

The guitars are heavy and the rhythms pound hard but vocalist Pete Murray gives the band their melodic edge, captured with his moodily dynamic and raw vocals that fall closer to Finger Eleven and Flaw than the real vocals found on a Linkin Park record. 

This isn’t nu-metal by the numbers and that fact is quickly evident with the opening song “Fuel”, a track where the band shows off their musical ability and Murray showcases his vocal range. Beyond that song, the band continues to find a perfect balance between heavy rock and melody. The balancing act makes for a rather dynamic record as heard on a track like “Sunday” which packs a real punch but also is melodic enough to capture the ears of a mainstream audience.  

But the real high point comes when they dial back the heaviness a couple notches as they did with the song “Reach”, while not a ready made radio hit, the song really encompasses the melodic strengths of the band. 

When it comes to sure-fire radio hits look no further than “Walk Away,” a melodic and moody rocker where the vocals on the verses really separate the band from the pact and like most songs on this album sound more in line with Vast than say Linkin Park. This song is a showboat for Murray’s dynamic vocal interplay between screams and melodious ear candy. 

Lo-Pro does standout from the pack with their self-titled debut, it’s familiar enough to attract fans of today’s top nu-metal groups but different enough to give those same groups a run for their money. They standout because Lo-Pro seems to have captured what actually works with nu-metal, while discarding the elements that have derailed other bands looking to leave their mark on the world of rock. 

Aaron Lewis and the band can be proud; they both seemed to have hit a homerun the first time up to bat. Now we have to wait and see if that translates into commercial success. 

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