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Nar Mattaru - Ancient Atomic Warfare [I, Voidhanger - 2015]

Chilean death metal trio, Nar Mattaru, are back with their second full length, Ancient Atomic Warfare. Reviving slow, dirgy, old school death, this album churns with a melodic grimness often passed by these days in an effort to maximize speed. The six tracks of tremmed out guitar ritual will bring the listener to an ancient time to watch a battle for universal supremacy.

With a name like Nar Mattaru and subject matter based on Sumerian mythology, one would assume that this band is heavily influenced by Morbid Angel. They very well may be, but the music tells a different tale. With the focus placed more on melody than speed, the trio use thoughtful riffs to evoke ancient imagery. Looking at the album cover, one feels the otherworldliness in both the image and the music. Slow, heavy, and dirgy, the first half of Ancient Atomic Warfare serves as a prelude to the richer, more melodic second half. The grimness is achieved through thick layers of tremolo picked guitars, well recorded drums, a nice curtain of bass, and gruff, evil vocals. While generally low to mid-paced, there are blasts of speed that work very well at cutting up the long song lengths. This lends itself better to head-nodding than air guitaring, but in the end, as long as some body part is moving, the song is doing its job. With an eye more toward melody and thoughtful riffs, the second half shows Nar Mattaru's skill at crafting interesting and engaging metal. Much like the goat on the cover, the listener is allowed to tune in and tune out to the slow, evocative guitarwork. With a few bursts of speed, it's not totally sluggish, but it definitely takes its time getting where it's going.
 
Ancient Atomic Warfare is a solid slab of dark, engaging metal. It's nothing groundbreaking, but it's definitely worth a listen. Nar Mattaru does interesting things with familiar material, and, although it feels as though one has been here before, there's definitely a new coat of paint and different artwork on the walls. If you're looking for something fun and comfortable, I would say to give Ancient Atomic Warfare a spin.

Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5

Paul Casey
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