Los Angeles–via-Atlanta outfit Tetrarch are having a moment. Since forming fourteen years ago when they were in their teens, the nu-metal-infused metalcore crew have self-released a couple of EPs and one full-length, 2018's Freak — which caught the attention of Napalm Records. The label signed the band and will be releasing Tetrarch's sophomore album Unstable on April 30th.
The first taste of the partnership came with last year's banging single "I'm Not Right," followed by the recently released crusher "You Never Listen," the latter which channels some serious Linkin Park vibes. Revolver's readers are here for it, and chose Tetrarch as one of the band's most likely to breakout in 2021.
Much of Tetrarch's rising popularity can be credited to their lead guitarist Diamond Rowe — who is a total musical badass and an industry trailblazer. (Rowe was reportedly the first female African American lead guitarist to be prominently featured in national guitar magazines.)
Rowe is also an unapologetic champion of nu-metal — and loves to rep the late-Nineties and early Aughts bands whose impossibly downtuned, hip-hop-infused bangers brought them massive commercial success (as well as their fair share of haters).
Below, the guitarist tells the stories behind the nu-metal albums that changed her life and set her on the creative path she's traveling today with Tetrarch.
As a kid when I was starting to get into heavier music, I would listen to the radio a lot to learn and become familiar with bands that I had never heard of — that is the first time I discovered Korn. But it wasn't until I saw them live for the first time in 2004 that I became hooked. I started diving into their catalog and Issues was the first Korn album that I could listen to from front to back that just resonated with my entire soul. It was so dark, but melody driven and catchy. Songs like "Falling Away From Me", "Make Me Bad," "No Way" and "Counting" were my absolute favorites. I feel like [Brian] Head [Welch] and [James] Munky [Shaffer] were really at a special place with writing some of the most skin-crawling guitar parts at that time — and even today those are some of my favorite type of guitar parts and textures to write. In a lot of songs on our upcoming album Unstable, including "I'm Not Right," I really wanted to harness that uncomfortable skin-crawling guitar vibe that I learned about for the very first time listening to that record.
I don't think I had ever heard anything this heavy in my entire life when I discovered Slipknot as a 13-year-old. Iowa was the first album of theirs that I bought. And despite being a metal newbie at the time, the melodies on this record — whether from Jim [Root] and Mick [Thomson] on guitars or Corey [Taylor's] vocals — were never sacrificed for heaviness, which made it so easy for me to become instantly hooked and an instant die-hard Slipknot fan. They were at an all-time high during that album, and they really knew how to not only play their songs but create a spectacle and entertain an audience. Kids, myself included, went insane listening to songs like "People = Shit," "Left Behind," "The Heretic Anthem," etcetera. The whole album was just relentlessly heavy — but the fact that I could sing along to every song blew my mind. Jim Root is such a great lead player and I really love how well he knows how to serve a song. That's something over the years that I have worked to educate myself on more and more.
Toxicity was the very first metal album that I ever bought with my own money. I think I was 11 or 12 and I went to FYE looking to buy a heavy album. I had friends who were into rock and metal and I wanted to start learning about the bands myself and getting into them. I had heard the name System of a Down before, so when I saw their Toxicity CD on the shelf I figured that would be a good place to start. I bought it and took it home to listen right away. To this very day the guitar tones on that record are just insane to me. They are so heavy but very raw and match the vibe of the songs perfectly. I think everyone can agree that no other band in history sounds like System of a Down and that record for me solidifies why there will only ever be one.
I feel like it's next to impossible to compile any nu-metal album list without including Disturbed. These guys are the hard-rock groove masters. That band is just so in sync with their inner pulse and you can really hear it throughout each and every one of their songs. The Sickness is an album that has so many classics and once again is another album for me that really represents a time when modern heavy bands were becoming huge and larger than life. I remember the first time I heard "Stupify" and "Down With the Sickness" — they just instantly made me smile and want to bang my head and have a good time. That's what it's all about.
Limp Bizkit gets a lot of hate but to be honest, this record is an absolute banger. If people stopped being so uptight and just enjoyed music for what it is instead of what they think is "cool," they would notice that there are so many super-slamming elements in some of these songs. Wes Borland is a monster guitar player. Sometimes he's a bit overshadowed because Fred Durst is so larger than life, but all those grooves and sounds in the background that he turns into cohesive bangers deserve immense credit. I don't care how "too cool for school" you are, I know you have sung along to "Nookie" and "Break Stuff" at some point in your life. As a musician I learned a lot about the power of simplicity from bands like Limp Bizkit. It's not always about how technical something is or how many parts you can cram into one song. Most of the time attitude, confidence and making your audience feel something is the winning formula.