The previous release from Arid, Offerings, was a punishing EP of “anti-fascist, anti-state, anti-human” crust, fueled by a righteous anger and sense of protest. It was a great release, that hinted at something very special to come. Now, following a shift in line-up and direction, the band return with Scars of War. Whilst you might expect such changes to potential undermine the momentum the band had previously displayed, Scars of War displays a band that are still possessed by the same sense of anti-fascist anger, determined to kick back against the growing tide of fascism, with these four songs (and Doom cover) being the soundtrack to protest marches and direct action.
The first thing that’s clear about Scars of War is just how direct it is. The songs may be roughly the same length as those on Offerings, but they feel much shorter, moving as they do with a sense of urgency and relentless energy. The ominous mid-tempo intros are shorter, giving way instead to moments that leap straight for the throat with fangs bared, blood glistening in the sunlight. It’s not pretty, but it sure as hell is massively effective.
That reference to fangs isn’t accidental; Scars of War is a rabid EP, that moves with the threat and power of an alpha predator. There’s more than a hint of razor-sharp blackened crust to Arid’s sound too, and that really comes to the fore on this release, with the shrieked vocals being especially effective when contrasting with the more typical deep bellows – the use of two contrasting vocal styles is hugely effective, and one of Offerings’ best points.
That the EP ends with a Doom cover – of the classic ‘Nazi Die’ – is fitting, both in terms of ideology, but also sound. Arid clearly owe a lot to Doom (as do pretty much every crust band to ever exist), but they manage to put their own mark on a highly distinctive song, which is no small achievement. They do so not by re-inventing the genre, but simply by playing well and with passion; the most important things any band needs to do to be successful. With Scars of War, Arid have created part of the soundtrack of our times, and if you’re needing something fueled with righteous rage to keep you inspired, then this could be what you’re looking for.
Scars of War is available digitally via Bandcamp.