Tetrarch smartly side-step expectations with their impressive debut. When you see the album art and discover Tetrarch have been (somewhat mistakenly) called “nu-metalcore,” you may have unfortunate ideas of what may ensue. Fortunately, Freak is a much different monster than the expected Korn klone. The Atlanta band certainly have a bit of a Slipknot thrash-n-groove influence to their sound, and there’s a bit of Mudvayne and Korn influence in the record’s most bombastic bits. However, Tetrarch are more Bullet For My Valentine at their best than a poor Sworn In knock-off. This is the sound of a band who wants to pay homage to metal’s great past while playing a more modern style, and Tetrarch nail that aesthetic on their debut.

In fact, a lot of what makes Freak so surprisingly impressive is the horn-in-the-air classic thrash/heavy metal influence that guitarist Diamond Rowe injects into these songs. Closer and unusually wonderful ballad “Torn Apart” is a melodic metal gem, and “Break The Trend” sounds like it came straight from the Trivium and Bullet For My Valentine rulebook of perfectly marrying furious riffs and hooks in equal measure.

It’s a short, efficient listen, and aside from a couple tracks that blend together somewhat, there’s little to complain about. The highlight might be the most musically and lyrically aggressive track of the bunch, “Pull The Trigger”, a nu-metal jam if I ever heard one (and I’ve heard hundreds thanks to my age), with a pretty harrowing message. However, Freak‘s overall message of unity and hope for those who feel like outcasts is a nice touch and serves to bring these eight tracks together quite nicely. There’s a boatload of talent and potential on display throughout Freak, and considering this is their first, self-funded record, you get the sense that this is far from the last time we’ve heard from Tetrarch. Thank God they know what they’re doing, as they’ve released a great first impression.

Purchase the album on iTunes.

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