Friday, September 10, 2010

Tetrarch's Tyrannical Saints Go Marching in My Mind

This one's for all you metal-heads out there. It's been a very long while since I went out and found a truly terrifying , bone-shattering metal band for you all to sink your teeth into, but that changes today. I know my phases lately have leaned towards pop-punk and acoustic-rock, and my posts have been reflecting that, but lately I've just been craving something a little more hardcore. Thankfully, though, I didn't have to go far to find just the kind of band I was looking for.
From right here in Atlanta, Georgia, Tetrarch is a mega metal four-piece specializing in all the dark metal arts and sounds. Composed of Josh Fore (lead vocals and guitar), Diamond Rowe (lead guitar), Ryan Lerner (bass), and Nick Jones (drums), Tetrarch creates a blinding metal setlist in the twigh-lit realm of Iron Maiden, Metallica and Trivium. Featured here in Atlanta on Project 96.1's Project Homegrown program, Tetrarch are making waves all over the metal and hard-rock scene in the South. For those of you out there foaming at the mouth for a new band that will crack your bones and melt your face right off, Tetrarch is a great place to start.
I'm immediately pulled in by Tetrarch's first song on their setlist, "Tyranny of Saints." In true Iron Maiden fashion, this song begins with a huge, bombastic intro. Slow and epic, it soon turns bloody as the drums speed up and kick the rhythm into overdrive. Lerner follows suit, and already his bass lines are trampling through my mind, giving me the same shot of adrenaline I felt the first time I heard Maiden's "Run to the Hills." Diamond Rowe's guitar notes are sharp and ear-splitting, owing life and influence to Metallica's "Ride the Lightning" and "Fade to Black." Above the mass hysteria and pyromania, Fore's vocals are strong and unforgiving. Using his own chords to add even more rhythm to a song already on steroids, Fore blasts everything higher, skipping between melodic hardcore vocals and flat-out gutteral growls. A vocal mix of Three Days Grace and Pantera, this song is exactly what I'm feeling now. The same as when I first heard Rage's "Bulls on Parade," "Tyranny of Saints" makes me want to go punch someone. Hard. This song is definitely the best way for Tetrarch to make a first impression. It's hard, it's fast, and it's everything I love about metal.
"Mental Suicide" keeps up the grit and grime of "Tyranny of Saints." Fore is once again on the fence, balancing between melodic growls and primal screams that rip your skin off in the best way. There's a certain art to harsh vocals, and any metal or hard-rock fan knows that. We also know that if it's done improperly, it sounds like shit. But Fore proves that when it's done right, it can make a song razor sharp and timeless. And what could make the vocals even better? How about a sick progression of notes from lead guitarist Rowe. Diamond Rowe is definitely diamond in this song, as she picks up during the solo and takes it up a notch. A sonic firestorm let loose in true face-melting form, Rowe's solo shreds what skin I have left from Fore's vocal assault to tiny bits. Dripping with technical prowess and hard-rock soul, "Mental Suicide" continues, unhindered, and in every sense, unhinged. The skins, again, are tapped out like there's no tomorrow, making coughing with the fast-paced beats of insanity. Lerner won't be left behind, as his bass shoots through the speakers to destroy what mental capacity I have left. In my opinion, one of the marks of a great metal band is how well the rhythm section fits together. Behind the soaring guitar and primal vocals, Tetrarch has the blueprint down pat, and "Mental Suicide" benefits from that in the best way possible.
"Disciples of Sorrow" is as equally aggressive as its predecessors, though when it comes to the chorus, it takes on a Maiden-esque sort of arrangement, opting for a more anthemic approach than one that would be more rushed. It is a pleasant surprise, as in my experience, I've heard many metal bands out there that can either perform the slow, booming chorus or the fast-paced song, though they many times have trouble joining the two. Tetrarch, though, show no problem marrying Fore's big, booming chorus vocals to Jones' rolling fills, creating an underlying pulse-pounding experience with a polished, anthemic seal. Lerner contributes as well, as his bass lines are steady and incessant, filling in any slight pauses that the drums might take. Rowe, herself, is content to sit back and wail out on her guitar, injecting this track with a riff that, towards the middle, jumps the tracks, and brings to mind once again Metallica's "Fade to Black." Tetrarch's ability to experiment and adapt quickly and seamlessly make this must-be metal balled one of the must-hear tracks on their album.
Nick Jones is absent from the aforementioned tracks only because he himself finds himself as the new guy in the band. That doesn't stop him, though, from making his Tetrarch debut on their track "Fate of the Chosen," a powerful song with a driving rhythm and chorus that easily owes its hardcore force to Jone's drumming. A statement at just how well he first with the others, "Fate of the Chosen" fights to the front of the track-pack with power and melody, and makes Tetrarch's sound all that more interesting and deep.
Bleeding influences such as Pantera, Iron Maiden, Metallica and Megadeth through their guitars and speakers, Tetrarch raise the torch, and bar, just as the metal gods did before them. The intensity in their music is only matched by the energy and drive that I can only assume they exude during their live performances. Definitely making it onto my "Must See Live" list, Tetrarch impress me with their technical prowess as well as their clever and creative song concepts. I fully expect to see a Tetrarch concept metal album sometime soon, and as with the concept albums of Judas Priest and Coheed and Cambria, I expect it to be a trip devoid of unnecessary frills and dripping in true metal spirit and grit.
Until then, though, I will have to contend myself with their current albums. That's no complaint, though. Tetrarch's efforts prove fruitful enough for hours of hard-rock energy and metal drive, culminating, as all metal records should, in the feeling of invulnerability, and a never-ending love of metal. Metal-heads, hold your torches high: Tetrarch is hear to stay, and like Van Halen and Metallica did years ago, they'll make you hair stand on end as they singe it with raw power and blasting rhythm. And did I mention they have a sick logo too?

Sounds Like: Metallica, Pantera, Iron Maiden, Trivium

Key Tracks from Tetrarch: "Tyranny of Saints," "Mental Suicide," "Disciples of Sorrow," "Birth of a Convict," "Fate of the Chosen"

Check out Tetrarch more at: and

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