I expected a violent pure death metal assault but the path which Nar Mattaru trod was a creepy, maggot-infested invitation to impressively gloomy depths. You see, Nar Mattaru are from Chile and I’ve found that Chilean blackened death metallers simply don’t have compromise in their vocabulary. “Funeral in Absu” plumbs deeply ominous territory, and the lingering strains of discontent and misery go on with “The End of the Beginning”. Nothing is remotely uplifting about this death metal extravaganza. Yet the drums add vibrancy, counterbalancing the grim guitar work, which occasionally take off anarchically and the purity and relentlessness of the growls. Five minutes or so into “The End of the Beginning”, the atmosphere steps down and doom-death is the order of the day or night, as you will. Momentum is gained from somewhere and this grim feast picks up and takes to a majestic end. Measured majesty is continued with the sinister and depth-plumbing “The Great Serpent of Knowledge”. The imperious guitar line preaches horror. Drums trigger.
This old school death metal assault continues to paint pictures of a bleak, war-ridden world which would be too harsh for any human to endure. I appreciated the artistry in the instrumentals but I found myself being ground down by the sounds of this tortuous place. Spoken words, as on “Declaration of Supremacy”, add intrigue. But save a break or two, much of “Ancient Atomic Warfare” is the same as it would be when the theme is death, warfare and supremacy. The title track batters on remorselessly, grinding us into the ground and featuring the statutory break and growled threats of destruction and darkness. The aura is punishing. The guitar sound is withering and merciless. Finally, we’re reminded that this is about ancient atomic warfare. “Tribulation of the Gods” momentarily enters marching territory and a war-like chant, which make a welcome change, and suddenly the riff swirls but it’s not long before we are subjected to an all-round old-fashioned assault and a remorseless procession to the end.
If you like your music deathly and uncompromising, this will do for you. Nar Mattaru set out to depict a grim world and achieve it in spades.
(7/10 Andrew Doherty)