Tramalizer – Fumes of Funeral Pyres Review

Names are hard, man. As a dungeon master1 I find myself faced with this quandary all the time, and that’s for made-up people and places, not for a band whose moniker I would someday hope to see plastered across T-shirts and battle jacket patches galore. With Tramalizer, though, I feel like they’re trying to pull a fast one on us, not only attempting to convince us that tramalization is a thing, but also that a person or object exists whose hobby or career is tramalizing. Indeed, the opening track is called “Tramalized,” supposedly the state you are left in after the tramalizer has performed a tramalization, possibly using a tramalizing implement.

After ascertaining that this is in fact a band and not a Pokémon, I waded into Fumes of Funeral Pyres and discovered a newborn conglomeration of staunch death metal enthusiasts with no small amount of collective experience, its members primarily from black metal bands Mallas, Förgjord and Mimorium, the latter we have met before. These fumes reek of early Entombed, with thrash-infused riffs and the HM-2 pedal to the metal. It sounds thick, filthy and delicious, helped in no small part by the exemplary production that doesn’t sacrifice fidelity for girth. The vocals are of the shouty variety, with a few select instances rolling over into the screamy, adding a veneer of hardcore to a style that is otherwise big dumb old school death metal through and through.

And it is certainly effective at fucking shit up, as evidenced by the aforementioned opener whose buzzsaw riff bulldozes into dust anyone stupid enough to question its vernacular. Tramalizer has two goals, being fast and being loud, with most of the hooks a vehicle to be fast and/or loud more effectively. As such, the tracks that stand out the most are the ones where this template is embellished in some way. “Curse of the Lake Drag” has a somewhat nondescript first half, but then downshifts into a synth-laden doom-death gear. The title track’s chorus stomps as hard as a herd of angered cavemen, and its neighbor “Looking for Reality” features a few effective gang-shout vocals and a lead guitar going absolutely hog wild.

If there’s a template, though, there’s going to be uniformity, and Fumes of Funeral Pyres doesn’t escape such notions, especially considering this is a style that’s been done a few thousand times before. The vocals are the biggest issue; they have but one pitch, one delivery, and one intensity for the vast majority of the album, a big meat-headed shout-roar that paints every track with the same brush. An attempt at a lower, growlier tone on “The Rostov Ripper” winds up feeling forced, too, suggesting this may be a technical skill issue. Instrumentally, the lack of significant variety is less pronounced thanks to some strong hooks, but with most of the experimentation occurring in the back half, the front does struggle a little giving each track its own identity. Thankfully, this is not a style that suffers terribly from a touch of over-similarity, and the colossal headbang factor more than makes up for it on the whole.

Fumes of Funeral Pyres is one of those albums that’s not trying to do anything wholly special or remarkable and succeeds on all accounts. Nostalgia is cheap, but there are still many ways to fuck up the execution, and Tramalizer avoids all the potholes with ease. Because of the lack of ambition, there is also not much reason to recommend it specifically over any other competent old school Swedish death metal, but if you want some meat ‘n taters to fuck your face up, you won’t be disappointed laying down on this pyre and inhaling the fumes. Get tramalized!

Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 9 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Soulseller Records
Websites: |
Releases Worldwide: February 17th, 2023

Show 1 footnote

  1. The table-top roleplaying kind, not the sadomasochistic kind.
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