Label: Dystopian Cult Records
Crust four-piece Arid describe themselves on their Bandcamp page as “anti-fascist, anti-state, anti-human.” As such, Offerings could hardly have come at a better (or worse, depending how you look at it) time. This EP is a five-track slice of vicious crust, full of righteous, snarling anger with lyrics that are every bit as unapologetic as you’d hope. It’s music for taking action rather than sitting around complaining, and pulls from a lot of different styles to create something that is punishing, passionate, and will surely appeal to fans of the genre.
In a lot of ways, Offerings feels like an example of how old-school crust can mix with some of the more modern aspects of the genre. Tracks such as “Wasted Breath” and “Morbid Visions” are built upon a weight and grit that’s comparable to bands such as Skaven, whilst also possessing short bursts of fury that are as reminiscent of Phobia as they are more recent bands such as Young And In The Way. “No Flowers” even comes close to dirty death metal territory at some points, whilst other moments throughout the EP reminded me of Hellbastard’s Ripper Crust demo. It’s nice to have those different sounds all come together in one record, especially in a way that’s so organic and feels natural.
More than this though, Offerings feels genuinely angry. You’ll need to turn your speakers up to really appreciate just how pissed off Arid sound – the recording quality isn’t the best, but nor does it detract very much from the music – but there’s no doubting the sincerity of their anti-fascist, misanthropic message. Theirs is an emotion and sound I’m sure many people will be able to relate to at present, and if it serves as a catalyst for the listener taking action, then all the better.
As good as Offerings is, it’s hard not to feel like Arid’s best work is yet to come. Maybe that’s down to the production, or maybe because they’re pulling from a lot of different but clear influences, but it’s also hard to shake the feeling that Arid have been able to stamp their own personality upon the music. This shouldn’t be taken as a major criticism though, because this EP is a great piece of crust that is undoubtedly played with real passion and belief. It’s just that a bit more refinement, the band could create something really special. Still, as a soundtrack for the anti-fascist feelings many people are probably having right now, Offerings is a great choice.