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TETRARCH Guitarist Diamond Rowe on New Album 'Unstable', the Nu-Metal Resurgence & Blazing Trails

Tetrarch promo_credit Guillermo Briceño
Guillermo Briceño Photo

You'll be hearing the name Tetrarch, so get familiar.

L.A.'s hard rock, nu-metal hybrid have risen from independent sensation to legitimate heavy prospect ahead of their Napalm Records album debut, Unstable (April 30th). True to the hype, the four-piece of vocalist and guitarist Josh Fore, lead guitarist Diamond Rowe, bassist Ryan Lerner and drummer Ruben Limas, have been steadily ascending since first coming together way-back-when in middle school days.

Following up on their acclaimed debut album Freak, Unstable sees Tetrarch ride the line between heavy, chugging riffs, seesaw rough/clean vocals and melodic and addictive hooks anchored with the nu-metal sensibilities that dominated the late 90s and early 2000s.

Rowe caught up with Metal Injection for a crash course into all things Tetrarch, their rise from independent artists to legitimate contenders for radio airplay, waving the flag of the nu-metal resurgence, quietly going about her business and becoming an unlikely trailblazer, the album that introduced her to guitar and much more!

On Rise from Independent Artists to Hot Prospect

It definitely doesn't feel like we were shot out of a cannon, you know? I mean, it's cool to see the trajectory start to go upward and faster, but that's what we've been working for so many years. I met Josh in middle school, so it's kind of like we've been on this long journey to get to this point and we still have a very long way to go. It's our passion and we love it, but it definitely is something we worked for. It definitely wasn't an overnight thing.

We kind of started getting label interest really early on in our career. We were still like in high school or at the very end of high school when we had our first major label hit us up. But it was always like a tug and pull because at the time we didn't have a lot of clout. We were still very new, so any kind of deal we signed would have been bad. And we're always about our business, so it's kind of like that didn't materialize, the label part, I don't think until it was supposed to. So we knew we always had to kind of do things on our own. We knew we wanted to do this, we knew we wanted to get to a certain spot, but it wasn't going to be handed to us. So we were always OK with working really hard.

When Freak came and we decided we were going to release it independently, we knew we had to put everything into it that we would if we were on a label. So luckily we had the means to do a little bit more than some bands, which is so helpful because it's really hard. Even labels don't put in as much money as they used to. So you kind of have to be able to invest in yourself and we're lucky enough to be able to do that. So it was really cool. We got our first publicist with Freak and just being put up into the forefront with everybody else, it made a huge, huge difference. It just built so much awareness around us. People had kind of heard about us a little bit with Freak, but now they're really starting to pay attention. I think that's super cool. (Online slots.)

TETRARCH Guitarist Diamond Rowe on New Album 'Unstable', the Nu-Metal Resurgence & Blazing Trails

On Waving the Nu-Metal Flag

When we kind of evolved as a band musically and we landed here, it wasn't a conscious effort to be nu-metal, you know what I'm saying? We started letting in other influences that we never had before because we were very metalcore before, very thrashy before that. Especially as Josh progressed as a vocalist we started to say let's try some different things, starting with Freak, that we haven't tried before. Songs that aren't all 210, 215 BPM. Let's try a song that doesn't have a two minute solo section or something that has more groove to it or has more clean vocals, more scream vocals. So we didn't put ourselves in a box.

Our influences from growing up I think kind of started showing a little bit more. And I tell people all the time what was popular at the time, like SlipknotLinkin Park and Korn and all that stuff, what really resonated with us with those type of bands is they could be really heavy, but there is still so much melody to them, things you could catch on to. Even your typical metal fan could love them, but also somebody who wasn't into hard rock or metal could love them. We've always really wanted to be a band like that, that kind of can walk that line. And we have been a band like that, we've always kind of walked the line. We've had really heavy elements and some more melody driven kind of stuff. So we kind of ended up falling into this nu-metal thing. And it's cool.

Obviously you get some hate just from people seeing the name. They don't even have to listen. They see nu-metal and they're like uuhhhhhh. And at first I'll say we were kind of like that sucks, we don't want to call ourselves anything. We just kind of call ourselves metal. But now we're like, you know what dude, we don't care. You want to call us nu-metal? That's awesome. As long as our music is resonating with someone and we're playing the stuff we want to play, then we can't help what people call us. So we're ok with it. We're waving the flag for a nu-metal resurgence. That's fine with us.

On Riding the Line Between Melodic & Heavy

You know, I think it's become a little bit more of a conscious effort as of late. When we started writing, we've always been kind of a band like that. Josh has always been more attracted to the singing part of his voice, but he's always been a good screamer as well. His favorite band other than Metallica is Green Day, and his dad raised him on like Pearl Jam and U2. So he's always been more of a melody guy. He always picked melody over screaming stuff, even though we do that a lot too. So that kind of helped us. Also that's what we love and what we love to listen to. So it was only natural that we kind of wanted to play music where you have a huge chorus or you can go into a bridge that's super heavy and a verse that's super heavy. We just enjoy that formula.

Maybe with this newer album it was a little more of a conscious decision. Like we know we want to make this album angsty. We know we want to make this album lyrically relatable and easy to sing back with huge hooks. But we also know we don't want to be limited to how heavy we can get on some songs too. So we did think that. But it's what we enjoy, so it's kind of just what we write. (NetBetsports)

On Relatable & Emotional Lyrics

We really want to write relatable lyrics that can resonate with people. There's a lot of bands that their fan base listen to them, and lyrically, they write about video games and they write about other things that resonate with them. But for us we always kind of want to be able to relate to people and for people to be able to relate to what we're saying.

And there's certain things in life that everybody deals with, whether it's pain or heartbreak or wanting to feel empowered or whatever. Everybody at some point in their life is going to have those things. So we really wanted to kind of structure our album around something that anybody listening to it can understand.

On Being a Trailblazer & Providing an Inclusive Live Environment

When I first started doing interviews a few years back, I used to tell Josh people would always ask me what other like African-American females and what other females influenced you to play guitar? And I would literally have to try to make up shit. I just make up two people and be done with it. But Josh is like dude, just be honest. I started doing that. When I started playing guitar and to this day my favorite guitar players were like Zakk Wylde, Slash, Dimebag, all white guys, you know? And I never thought about the fact that I was different, nothing. I just loved what they did. I loved the music and I wanted to do the same thing. And I never even thought about being different. I never thought this isn't typical.

I've always been very weird for my demographic. I tell people that all the time. I was into motocross and hockey and just stuff that I shouldn't be. This was no different. As we started playing out and even into the local scene and beyond, as we evolved people started really being like Diamond, what you're doing is different. Like you don't see that, and it would bring people out to shows just to see this. But still to me I would always brush it off like I don't get it. I literally just want to play guitar. I want to be in a band and play metal around the world, but I don't want this. But as I got older and we evolved some more I realized how cool it was and how much of a blessing in disguise it kind of was, because I don't look at this as a bad thing. It has brought awareness to Tetrarch that we might not have gotten if I just looked like everyone else.

It's made people feel comfortable at our shows that generally would not usually feel comfortable. I've had people come up and say I was made fun of so much at school for liking metal because I'm black or because of whatever. And seeing you on stage made me feel like it's cool for me to go to these shows and enjoy what I really love. It's really cool to hear that, especially because it was so genuine for me. It wasn't a gimmick, it wasn't anything. I love it. I have a lot of gratitude for it and like I said, it's like a blessing in disguise.

On Personal Heavy Favorites

There's probably one or two. The first one would be like Nirvana's Greatest Hits. It was either that or Nevermind, but it was the first rock record I ever bought. I had a friend in school that I kind of looked up to. She was older than me and she was always talking about Kurt Cobain. So I was like I need to go check out whoever this is, whatever he does. And I went and bought that CD and it's the only thing I listened to for months. That's kind of like how I started getting into rock.

And then the second one is probably Master of Puppets because I basically learned to play guitar to that record. Like Master of Puppets, I learned all the riffs. It was my first Metallica record I ever bought. I just think back to learning that and listening to that record, I knew this is what I want to do for the rest of my life. Just having that passion for guitar and in metal music in general, it's probably those two.

On Post-Pandemic Plans

No one can ever plan for a global pandemic. But I will say one thing that we've had to learn just in this industry in general, but also through this process is you definitely have to know how to adapt. It does us no good to just be like, well, that's it and just kind let's see what happens in two years. We couldn't do that. We had to figure out ways to continue to grow and get ahead of the game. So when we can go back out and hit the road we're in a better place than we would have been before. So adapting was a huge part for us.

Obviously we wish circumstances were different and we could put the record out and hit the road right after. But we're trying to stay positive and just do everything that we can and that's in our control. And in doing that it seems like things fall into place for us. It just seems like we have this good thing going, knock on wood. But we're trying to just adapt and do everything we can and prepare as much as we can for when we can hit the road.

And as far as the pressure, it's pressure, but we love it. Like I said before we worked so hard to be in this position. We've been working since we were twelve to get to this point and beyond. So we're ready for it. We're excited about it. I think we're going to deliver.

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