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July 2002
Released: 2002, Screaming Ferret Wreckords
Rating: 3.0/5
Reviewer: Night of the Realm

Brothers Al and Kevin Mead form the bass and guitar backbone of Tearabyte, who, along with drummer Jeff Owens, have offered up this slab of old school traditional thrash metal from Texas. The original incarnation of Tearabyte rose in Los Angeles, CA in 1998, formed by Al Mead with a different line-up on guitars and drums. They released their debut DOOM GENERATION before calling it quits. Shortly after, Al Mead relocated to Texas and reformed Tearabyte with the current line-up.

Thrash fans will enjoy Tearabyte because this band is all about riffs. Thick, heavy riffing. Listening to EMBRACE OBLIVION, it is obvious that the Mead bros. have not forgotten about the old school. Tearabyte play thrash metal that fuses some of the classic bay area thrash sound with the thicker sound of the almighty Overkill, albeit a bit slower than Overkill.

A sludgy, almost doomish riff opens the album on “Road Rage” before the song picks up tempo. The vocals here are rather typical clean shouted thrash vocals with somewhat of a rough cigarette-destroyed edge to the voice. Following “Road Rage” is the title track of the album, slowing the tempo down again without diminishing the heaviness of the album. “Strike The Enemy” is up next, a fast-paced song in the bay area thrash style, which really stands out to me as the best song on the album. In addition, songs like “One More Day,” and “Lash Of The Gash” fill the album with some very good tracks. What self-respecting thrash band would sing about anything other than aggression, misanthropy, and sexual anger? Tearabyte is no exception in this department, either. The only song on the album that I do not care for is “Screaming Pig Fucker From Hell,” which is sexually explicit and rather disgusting. As the album nears the end, the instrumental “Spear Of Destiny” showcases the bands skill as musicians and songwriters. Though the lyrics may be quite amateur, there is no doubt that Tearabyte play with the passion of three guys who just want to play no-frills old school metal. The album closes out with a cover of “Ring Of Fire,” originally performed by country musician Johnny Cash, and Tearabyte make fun work of the song.

The band’s biggest strength, I believe, comes from having two brothers form the musical and creative battery, which lends itself to a cohesive band unit. Tearabyte isn’t about being the most original, creative, or technical metal band; they are about playing metal in the classic 80s style. EMBRACE OBLIVION is about three guys who just want to crack a few beers, have a good time, and play some good, solid metal.

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