The songs on Freak—the first full-length outing from Atlanta-bred, L.A.-based metal quartet Tetrarch—are built to bludgeon. Between its mix of concrete-heavy, post–nu metal beats and lead guitarist Diamond Rowe’s armor-piercing thrash leads, none of us are safe—not even Tetrarch’s own band members. For instance, during the group’s recent cross-country run with DevilDriver, a particularly ruthless run-through of the new album’s title cut nearly annihilated rhythm guitarist Josh Fore.
“I was headbanging on our new song ‘Freak’ in the middle section, and as I went down, Diamond’s headstock was coming up and caught me right on the side of the face,” says Fore. “I played the rest of the show with blood going all over.”
Unsurprisingly, Tetrarch’s latest knows how to bring the pain. The speed present on the outfit’s earlier trio of EPs has come down a bit, but Rowe and Fore double-down on the intensity of their playing. Detuned discordance and whammy-infused flourishes seethe on “Spit.” Elsewhere, “Pull the Trigger” finds the duo locking into a mathematical, palm-muted breakdown before the lead guitarist powers through a flashbang of fiery bends and hammer-ons. The compact micro-solo on “Freak” is less flashy, but Rowe purposefully pulled back to focus on experimenting with a series of watery reverbs and delays.
“Even though all these songs have solos, we didn’t want to over-saturate,” she says. “Do I miss it a little bit? I wish there might’ve been a couple that were a little longer, but I think we did a pretty good job overall.”
“Freak” ties into the record’s overarching theme of self-discovery, Fore screaming on the song of the importance of “letting your psycho loose.” It’s a potent message, and 10 years into their career, the members of Tetrarch are more confident slinging their outsider anthems than ever before.
“I’ve always been kind of weird,” says Rowe. “Weird in the sense that I’ve never been your stereotypical African-American girl—I’m into metal, I love motocross. I’ve met a lot of people through being different, and I found myself. Freak is actually a perfect title.”
• GUITARS (Rowe) ESP LTD EC-1000 CTM, ESP LTD SCT-607B, ESP LTD EC-1000 EverTune, Gibson Les Paul Standard; (Fore) LTD EC-1000 S, ESP LTD SCT-607B, ESP LTD AA-600
• AMPS (Rowe) Mesa/Boogie Triple Rectifier, Marshall 1960s cab; (Fore) EVH 5150III 100-watt 4x12 with Celestion v30s
• EFFECTS (Rowe) Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer, Boss NS2, POD HD Pro X; (Fore) Ibanez Tube Screamer, Boss NS2