Unstable: Tetrarch’s journey to bring nu-metal back to the mainstream

Atlantan metallers Tetrarch return with their first new album in 4 years, ‘Unstable’, now boasting a shiny Napalm Records stamp on it too. Fitting nicely into, and pretty much spearheading, the Nu-Metal revival of recent years, the band has blown up recently after their debut album ‘Freak’ back in 2017. The hype for the follow-up, ‘Unstable’, has been massive and I for one have been onboard. I loved the first album and love nu-metal in general, so I’m excited to get onto this and review it. I’ve also somehow only heard one of the singles off it so far, so it will be nice to get mostly a brand-new listen. Join me in checking it out!

The album’s lead single, ‘I’m Not Right’ starts the album off strong and with a very nu-metal sound. Fading in with some distorted, distant vocals and guitars, the vocals sounding like Johnathon Davis and the lyrics being suitably edgy. It soon explodes into a huge, heavy riff, a sign of great things to come, I’m sure. The guitars, coupled with the electronic sounds behind them, reminds me a lot of Static X’s old material. The similarities continue with Static X as Josh Fore’s vocals give off a lot of Wayne vibes. It all builds up nicely into a heavy, but also very catchy chorus – the vocals being just about clean enough for the crowd to sing along to live. The second verse has an incredible couple of lines where the vocals go full-on screaming and it sounds HEAVY, but unfortunately it doesn’t last all that long. I still cannot get over just how good the chorus is as the whole song sounds like the perfect blend of Static’s heaviness and Korn’s catchiness. We get a build-up after the chorus into a massive breakdown thanks to the harsh vocals working so well over the top. It then builds up into a huge final chorus and it’s taken me this long to realise the vocals here also sound a little like Chester Bennington’s. A massive, heavy outro takes us out in style and I could spend all day talking about this track. It easily makes the playlist!

Next up is another single, ‘Negative Noise’ which I’ve heard before. We get some brief feedback before the song builds up into a great riff. Look, I’m not going to lie, I definitely see the similarities between the verse’s riff and melody and Slipknot’s ‘Heretic Anthem’ like everyone online is pointing out but it still sounds killer so I’ll happily lay off them for it after pointing it out. It stays just as heavy and blisteringly quick throughout the verse. It almost feels like a thrash song. The vocals clear up a little in the chorus but the tempo remains about the same throughout. As a result, while it is still a good chorus, it isn’t quite as catchy as the previous song. We get a similar bridge out of the second chorus before we even get a great little guitar solo which is something all too rare in nu-metal. However, as good as Diamond does here, it’s just a tad too short for my liking. It again hits us with another final chorus and a quicker outro to finish things off. I am on the fence as to whether to put it into the playlist or not. It’s a damn good song but the similarity to Slipknot does make me feel like I’ve heard it all before. Check out the Overtone Spotify playlist to see if I changed my mind by the end of this review.

The album’s title track is next. It opens pretty heavy again but it’s slower than the previous song, retaining a lot more of the early nu-metal sound. I initially got heavily reminded of ‘Trash’ by Korn when first listening, but after listening to it I now have no idea why – they’re pretty different sonically. Despite that, for some reason I still can’t shake the comparison. The harsh vocals in the pre-section are pretty great and the chorus gives off more early Linkin Park vibes again. However, as much as I like the chorus, for some reason the final lines don’t sit right with me. They feel a little too basic and juvenile. I mean, that is pretty much the point of nu-metal at this point: angsty, borderline cringy lyrics, but this felt just a tad over the edge. Still, it builds up to a massive, heavy breakdown which is one of the highlights of the album for me so far. It’s another great song, but I can see why this wasn’t selected to be a single.

Another single on the album is ‘You Never Listen’. It opens on a stripped-back version of the chorus which is again hugely catchy and gives off lots of LP vibes. It then explodes into a pretty heavy but still slower riff, making it clear why this was single-worthy. Even the verses are pretty simple and slower and  the vocal melodies give off slight Shinedown vibes. There isn’t much to talk about with this song. It’s the most radio-friendly song on the album so far and I am all for it. It’s the closest thing to a nu-metal ballad I think we’re going to get, even with the Static X-style heavier section in the middle, and I’m going to have that chorus stuck in my head for the rest of the day now! Playlisted!

‘Sick of You’ opens on another heavy industrial metal riff – one that carries on in one form or another through the verses too. The chorus is pretty great and the lyrics are some of the best I have heard from this album so far; they’re catchy and easy to sing along to. There isn’t much more I can say about this song; it’s pretty basic again, but we get another fantastic solo from Diamond Rowe which is even better than the previous one. She wouldn’t at all sound out of place on a thrash album. Another good song overall, but the solo was definitely the highlight for me.

‘Take A Look Inside’ blew all of my expectations out of the water. It is easily the heaviest song on the album by a large margin and it’s insane. From the fast riff and sick double bass pedal work of the intro to the slow, sludgy, crushing breakdown after the second chorus, this was definitely on the heavy top end of the genre. The track still manages to squeeze in a slower, clean-vocalled, very catchy chorus in there too. This may be my favourite song on the album, maybe even my favourite song by the band as a whole, and it has definitely made the Overtone playlist! Check this out if you are in any way into heavy music.

‘Stitch Me Up’ again channels their heavy Korn influences but it doesn’t stand out all that much on this album. It’s good but it feels like the most “fillery” song on the album so far. The style is similar to other tracks on the album, but it doesn’t quite reach that level. It is, unfortunately, the same sort of criticism I can give to the album’s final single, ‘Addicted’, and the following song of the album, ‘Pushed Down’. They’re all good songs but they’re nothing different to other tracks on the album at this point. Nu/industrial metal is so hard to vary drastically between tracks – so much so that I’ll be the first to admit I’ll skip the occasional track on a generic nu-metal album. It can fall into the trap of producing the same sound which, for some, won’t be an issue, but it makes the album more difficult to review. 

The final song on the album, ‘Trust Me’, mixes things up a little. It’s the slowest and calmest song on the album. The verses are mainly just drums and vocals with quieter guitar notes ringing out in the back. The only time it gets even remotely heavy is in the chorus and even then it’s just big, distorted chords to give the song some depth. I have to admit though, I loved this. It’s an interesting choice for a closer I’ll admit, but it’s something completely different to the album both in sound and feel. It’s slow, moody and subdued, and never quite hits that huge gear I kept expecting it to – it never dropped. Another highlight of the album, even if it doesn’t quite make the playlist cut.

Overall: I loved this. Being a big fan of nu-metal (heck, I grew up and got into music in the back half of it) this is the type of music I’ve been waiting to make a comeback for a good decade now and I’m so glad these guys are at the forefront. They have gone from strength to strength as a band and I can honestly say that I believe this is better than their first album – which is saying a lot. With all the press coverage they are currently receiving, it wouldn’t be suprised if they were the next breakout megastars.

Score: 8/10

Did you like our review? Check out more of them here.

Leave a Reply