THESE ARMS ARE SNAKES [I]This Is Meant to Hurt You[/I] Review

The sticker on the front of this CD’s jewel case is going to sell lots of copies of it, I guarantee. It reads "Featuring former members of Botch, Kill Sadie, and Nineironspitfire," and the name of that first band will get people buying in droves. And then, most likely, many of those who buy it will return it because it sounds almost nothing like that first band, but instead has far more in common with the latter two. The people who return this record are fools. These Arms Are Snakes have presented one of the most invigorating EPs to bless my eardrums in years. It’s at once interesting, innovative, and extremely enjoyable. The record is full of supremely great moments, starting with the opening track, "Riding the Grape Dragon." It’s middle-eastern tinged between-verse guitar lines, along with the haunting intro riff which appears later in the song, fit along perfectly with the frantic vocal styles; the song eventually breaks down into two seperate guitar lines bouncing off each other, then erupts in the last minute. "Run it Through the Dog" hits you from the front with a full band assault and a heavily processed vocal attack that cuts down to a throat-shredding screaming section for the choruses, which eventually cuts down to whispering that parallels that of a madman. Another paranoid, reverb-drenched noise collage exists in "Diggers of Ditches Everywhere," but it’s more restrained, a little calmer, as opposed to the building and releasing induced tension from the two previous tracks. "The Blue Rose" kicks in with a high-end groove on the bass and keyboards that rides the song through to the end, along with more middle-eastern guitars and the first trace of mostly discernable vocals popping up in the verses. The band saves the best for last, though, closing with "Drinking From the Necks of The Ones You Love," which is epic in ways that very few standard "epic" songs are; yes, there’s a build, but it’s in such an atypical way that it becomes even more effective upon climax, with unintelligible vocals being screamed at what seems to be the physical limit of the vocal cords. Even better is the knowledge that a full-length from these guys will be dropped within the year, even if the recordings of the band come nowhere near the greatness of their live show. These Arms Are Snakes are truly a breath of fresh air, in that they’re a band that can write, perform, and produce all at an equally great level. And with a pedigree like theirs, that shouldn’t be surprising.

8/10

THESE ARMS ARE SNAKES [I]This Is Meant to Hurt You[/I] Review

Seattle, once known as the grunge capitol of the world, is once again surging forth as the city where originality is born, having in recent years giving birth to such eclectic and varied acts as The Blood Brothers, Minus The Bear, Harkonen and Pretty Girls Make Graves. Amidst this cyclone of talent and creativity has risen These Arms Are Snakes, an artsy post-punk whirlwind that incorporate traces of hardcore and prog rock that recalls the energy of late 80′s D.C. Punk. Built by former members of Kill Sadie, Nine Iron Spitfire and local mathcore icons Botch, the band have quickly caused a commotion in the independent scene and look to continue doing so with their impressive debut EP, "This Is Meant To Hurt You".

These Arms Are Snakes have embraced the atonal noise rock textures that once aided The Jesus Lizard in becoming one of the underground’s hottest commodities, a fact that surely seems fitting considering the band’s admittance of such inspirations; Yet rather than imitate the legendary cult rockers, these men learn and expand upon such stylistic choices. Vocalist Steve Snere has a heavily distorted vocal range, often raving with unintelligible rasps of intensity reminiscent of David Yow’s, yet there are also subtleties that hark to the epic tones of Robert Plant or gritty sneer of The Dwarves. The group are often caught in groove-laden jams, indulging in dizzying moments of space rock that are the equivalent to Cave In’s more adventurous sensibilities, propelled forward by mid-tempo shifts and Brian Cook’s mesmerizing low-end thrust. Caustic yet rhythmically seductive, this is an album that quickly overwhelms those listening, whether it be courtesy of their eccentric spaz direction or earthy Fugazi-like undertones. Thanks to these influences and more, the band find themselves a cut above such groups as …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead and Sparta, capturing the very essence of today’s complex art rock movement while saturating their sound with a myriad of signature trademarks.

It comes as little surprise how mature and confident the group is in their sound when considering their individual accomplishments, yet it is still refreshing to come across an ensemble so sure in their technique. This makes for an invigorating album that capitalizes on its strengths, daring to challenge the listener with no fear of rejection or error. At once soothing and captivating but always with an air of punk urgency, "This Is Meant To Hurt You" is a triumphant debut from a band capable of transcending mere genre classification. This makes These Arms Are Snakes a richly textured avant-garde hardcore quintet with the potential to lead the reborn Seattle scene into the future.

(4 / 5)

THESE ARMS ARE SNAKES

Seattle noisecore quartet These Arms Are Snakes has
gone from 0 to 60 like a racecar. A little more than 18
months after formation, the band is in the midst of its
second national tour and, as guitarist Ryan Frederiksen
concedes, it has been a bit of a whirlwind.

“It’s all happened ridiculously fast, that’s for sure,”
agrees the guitarist. “I’m totally surprised [how quickly
everything happened].”

With a roster that includes former members of Botch, Kill
Sadie and Nineironspitfire in its ranks, it is not that
surprising. Formed around the nucleus of Frederiksen,
bassist Brian Cook and drummer Joe Preston, the trio
originally got together with little aspirations outside of
jamming.

They soon found themselves with a handful of songs but
no singer, so vocalist Steve Snere was brought aboard.
Snere, who had moved to Seattle along with Kill Sadie
when the band transplanted from Minneapolis,“was a
perfect fit for us,” says Frederiksen. “I had spoken to him
about doing something previous to this so when this
project took shape he joined. Things have snowballed
since.”

The band recorded a four song demo which quickly made
its way through the American underground, sparking
interest around the country.

“[The label] Jade Tree knew some of us from our previous
bands and really liked the tape, but when we sent it to
them originally we never gave them a contact for us. So —
it’s kind of funny — they had to search us out through the
people they knew in Seattle to let us know they’d like to do
something with us.”

Shortly afterwards the label owner flew to Seattle to see
one of their early shows and in August, the Delaware
label released TAAS’s first release, a five song EP entitled
This Is Meant To Hurt You. Four-fifths of the tracks were
from the original demo cassette, although the band re-recorded the songs earlier this year in a proper studio
with producer Matt Bayles (Isis, Blood Brothers).

Much like their current touring partners Minus The Bear,
These Arms Are Snakes has progressed outside of the
hardcore circles that birthed them. Their sound is more
progressive and non-linear, with slithering guitar riffs
that remind one of the Jesus Lizard’s Duane Denison or
early Drive Like Jehu and sampled keys (à la Isis or
Neurosis) which broaden the sonic palette. Couple all of
that with the vocals of Snere, who uses a broad spectrum
of effects to alter his range, and this is definitely
post-hardcore.

“There wasn’t any preconceived idea about what we were
going to sound like,” explains the guitarist when asked
what led to the band’s interesting musical direction.
“Really, it just came about. We decided that if we liked it,
we were going to do it.”

Although originally a five-piece, the band lost keyboardist
Jesse Robertson shortly after their tour with the Blood
Brothers earlier this summer. “Jesse was not really a
keyboard player, he was a guitarist originally but we
didn’t have space for another one in the band so he joined
as a keyboardist and also did a light show behind us
while we played.”

The keyboards are now handled live by bassist Brian
Cook, who plays both at the same time during different
intervals of the live set. Sort of like Geddy Lee then,
switching back and forth? “Not exactly,” laughs
Frederiksen, “but he’ll be psyched to hear that
comparison for sure.”

THESE ARMS ARE SNAKES
with Minus The Bear & The Velvet Teen
Thursday, October 30 • 8pm • $10
Underground (41 Catharine N., Hamilton)
905.741.7625

These Arms Are Snakes Say Less Is More

Generally speaking, as young bands progress they tend to make it a goal to try and do things on a bigger scale than they did previously. The innovative lads in These Arms Are Snakes are choosing to go a different route by scaling things back on their current tour.

Deciding that they may have gone a little overboard on their last tour, the Seattle group thought that they would go with a less-is-more approach this time around. The recent departure of keyboardist Jesse Robertson will decrease the number of musicians on stage and will reinforce their new philosophy. Guitarist Ryan Frederiksen feels that this new methodology of sorts will allow the group more freedom when performing and will help keep the momentum of the shows moving.

"We’re stripping down on this tour," Frederiksen. "We think we were a little too ambitious on the last tour trying to have two keyboards and our own lights. So since we lost Jesse [Robertson], we decided to just strip down and make it more fun for us. Having all of those things with us made for extremely long set-up and break-down times and Brian [Cook] and Jesse were rarely able to rock out much since they were sharing the same side of the stage."

Currently on tour with Minus The Bear, the band is playing three concerts in Ontario this week in support of their debut EP, This Is Meant To Hurt You. Released this past summer by Jade Tree, the album documents These Arms Are Snakes’ sonic creations at an early part in their career. Formed just over a year ago, Frederiksen says that the group, which features former members of Botch and Kill Sadie, relied on their past experiences to help determine what was working when trying to evaluate their still changing sound.

Although the EP was made fairly quickly, Frederiksen explains that it was not an easy album to make. Listening to the intense mix of genres presented, it becomes evident how much time was poured into the making of each musical collage.

"The EP was definitely not an easy thing to do," Frederiksen says. "Our writing process is actually kind of difficult and long. We tend to pick ourselves apart a lot and go based mostly on feel. We usually spend around a month or more on each song we do. It can be a pain but in the end it’s usually worth it. It doesn’t always work though. We’ve probably dropped about as many songs as we’ve kept. We seem to be perfectionists as far as the end result is concerned."

At the completion of their current tour, the band will be heading out with Hot Water Music. Afterwards they are planning to begin work on a full-length record with hopes of having something finished next summer.

Those looking to see what possible directions These Arms Are Snakes may be moving in should check out one of their upcoming shows. Frederiksen says the group makes it a priority to play each song differently every night, which should provide fans some insight into where they may be heading.

"As far as our live show goes, people can expect something different each time," he says. "We don’t really seem to enjoy trying to play the same way twice, ever. It makes it more fun and interesting for us to play songs a little different each time. It breaks up the monotony of playing the same songs every night."

These Arms Are Snakes Canadian Tour Dates:

October 28 Ottawa, ON @ Bumpers (w/Minus The Bear)
October 29 Toronto, ON @ The Rivoli (w/Minus The Bear)
October 30 Hamilton, ON @ Undergound (w/Minus The Bear)

THESE ARMS ARE SNAKES [I]This Is Meant to Hurt You[/I] Review

"This Is Meant To Hurt You" is the debut EP by the new hardcore rock gods, These Arms Are Snakes. Feauring ex members of such bands as Botch ( bassist Brian Cook), Deadlcok ( drummer Joe Preston ), Kill Sadie ( singer Steve Snere ) and Nine Iron Spitfire ( guitarist Ryan Frederiksen ), These Arms Are Snakes are a rock combo that mixes in an incredilbe and original way any influences you could want: from post-hardcore to rock’n'roll, from 80′s DC hardcore to punk, this band is smart, clever, original and really caught my attention since the first time I heard such tracks as "Riding the Grape Dragon" or "Run It Through the Dog". These Arms Are Snake cannot be pigeon-holed in one only genre, as they have everything that goes from the Blood Brothers to Minus The Bear, from Milemarker to Jucifer, from Cave In to Drive Like Jehu: rock harmonies, hardcore riffs, screams, slow moments and a great, hard-to-find-today rock’n'roll attitude. Produced by Matt Bayles ( of Blood Brothers, Isis, Botch fame )The EP on Jade Tree only shows the band with five songs, a great way to discover these new architects of rock, but not enough yet to let the world know how much this band is going to influence the music world of today. I know that I am already waiting for their debut LP, so, in the meantime "This Is Meant To Hurt You" will please my ears while I am couting the days

THESE ARMS ARE SNAKES [I]This Is Meant to Hurt You[/I] Review

What on earth is this? These Arms Are Snakes’ debut mini-album, This Is Meant To Hurt You, is one impressive debut record. Of course, these guys have been around for years, in bands such as Botch and Kill Sadie, but let’s not look at the past. We’ve got a future to talk about, and the present evidence of their future is clear. These Arms Are Snakes are going to make some really damn good records–I can feel it. After about one minute, you’ll feel it, too. Maybe you won’t run from fear, but I bet you will, because This Is Meant To Hurt You is a haunting, disturbing record that doesn’t really like you.

How do we know? Well, let’s look at this record. Apparently, somewhere along the way, these guys learned a valuable lesson: you can be more intimidating when you don’t say anything, and you don’t have to yell to get your point across. Sure, they do get a bit emotional (I believe the word here is ‘passionate’) about things here and there, but they never get…well, you know…they never get all At The Drive-In about things. Yeah, I can see that band being mentioned in reviews of this record…but that’s just wrong. These guys are too good for comparisons to them. Not that ATDI were bad, mind you…it’s just that ATDI were one band and These Arms Are Snakes is another band and they’ve got their own sound and if you think they sound like the Drive-In then you’re just lazy, or you’ve never actually heard much music. Which is it, slappy?

And what a sound it is! It’s never gonna be easily pigeonholed, so let’s just discuss what we can discern, and we’ll allow you to make up your mind about what it sounds like after you go out and buy it, okay? This Is Meant To Hurt You has some pretty harsh whelping but it’s not about how fast they can sing, or how much they can jam into one song. In fact, they spend more time on the actual music–this weird, tripped-out experimental meets metal meets hardcore meets whatever it is they want to call it because nobody sounds like this, really messed up yet somehow soothing MUSIC–than they do on the words. It’s a big package packed in a little parcel, this record. Throw in some really messed up synth lines on "The Blue Rose" and "Drinking From the Necks Of the Ones You Love" and you HAVE WON ME OVER.

There’s no good word, no journalistic pigeonhole for These Arms Are Snakes. They’ve got the capacity to shatter your illusions and to hammer home the point that WE ARE NOT LIKE THE OTHER CRAP IN YOUR RECORD COLLECTION. Like a snake, These Arms Are Snakes will bite you in the ass with zero apologies, and it will leave you in a poisioned daze, waiting and wondering how and when their next strike of noisy venom will enter your bloodstream–and you can’t/won’t/don’t complain, because, well, you want it. If you’re lucky, it won’t kill you. Much.

And when it strikes you in the heart, you cannot complain.

After all, you knew it was a snake when you took it home.

What did you expect? Love?

THESE ARMS ARE SNAKES [I]This Is Meant to Hurt You[/I] Review

If you were expecting something loving and emo by the name of this record and the simple fact it’s a part of the infamous Jade Tree catalogue – think again! The vengeful and serpant like quality that their name alludes to, is perhaps a little closer to the truth and yet that’s still a million miles away from getting to the core of TAAS.

Their EP open and goes straight for the jugular with the dark, ethereal stylings of ‘Riding The Grape Dragon’. At one point it threatens like it will break into something thrashy and frenetic like At The Drive-In’s ‘One Armed Scissor’ but always one step ahead, it keeps you guessing with it’s sinister sounding, contorted guitars which loop from one ear to the other like they’ve got your brain in the midst of their garrotte wire strings and you’re on edge, just waiting for them to tighten…

…and then it snaps. In comes the thrash, the noise and the distortion; by track 2 it all ensues into premeditated mayhem. You can almost feel the chaos of the pit, the scrabbling bodies, the heat, the sweat and bruises and as quickly as it started it’d gone again, replaced with extensive melody and an eerie sense of calm.

Made up from ex-members of Botch and Kill Sadie, I think you’ve probably got a pretty good idea that TAAS are a little different from your average whatever-core band. To say their EP is expressive is to dampen it’s mood, to define it with any simple words is impossible – just listen and learn.

THESE ARMS ARE SNAKES [I]This Is Meant to Hurt You[/I] Review

Seattle, once known as the grunge capitol of the world, is once again surging forth as the city where originality is born, having in recent years giving birth to such eclectic and varied acts as The Blood Brothers, Minus The Bear, Harkonen and Pretty Girls Make Graves. Amidst this cyclone of talent and creativity has risen These Arms Are Snakes, an artsy post-punk whirlwind that incorporate traces of hardcore and prog rock that recalls the energy of late 80′s D.C. Punk. Built by former members of Kill Sadie, Nine Iron Spitfire and local mathcore icons Botch, the band have quickly caused a commotion in the independent scene and look to continue doing so with their impressive debut EP, "This Is Meant To Hurt You".

These Arms Are Snakes have embraced the atonal noise rock textures that once aided The Jesus Lizard in becoming one of the underground’s hottest commodities, a fact that surely seems fitting considering the band’s admittance of such inspirations; Yet rather than imitate the legendary cult rockers, these men learn and expand upon such stylistic choices. Vocalist Steve Snere has a heavily distorted vocal range, often raving with unintelligible rasps of intensity reminiscent of David Yow’s, yet there are also subtleties that hark to the epic tones of Robert Plant or gritty sneer of The Dwarves. The group are often caught in groove-laden jams, indulging in dizzying moments of space rock that are the equivalent to Cave In’s more adventurous sensibilities, propelled forward by mid-tempo shifts and Brian Cook’s mesmerizing low-end thrust. Caustic yet rhythmically seductive, this is an album that quickly overwhelms those listening, whether it be courtesy of their eccentric spaz direction or earthy Fugazi-like undertones. Thanks to these influences and more, the band find themselves a cut above such groups as …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead and Sparta, capturing the very essence of today’s complex art rock movement while saturating their sound with a myriad of signature trademarks.

It comes as little surprise how mature and confident the group is in their sound when considering their individual accomplishments, yet it is still refreshing to come across an ensemble so sure in their technique. This makes for an invigorating album that capitalizes on its strengths, daring to challenge the listener with no fear of rejection or error. At once soothing and captivating but always with an air of punk urgency, "This Is Meant To Hurt You" is a triumphant debut from a band capable of transcending mere genre classification. This makes These Arms Are Snakes a richly textured avant-garde hardcore quintet with the potential to lead the reborn Seattle scene into the future.

(4 / 5)

THESE ARMS ARE SNAKES [I]This Is Meant to Hurt You[/I] Review

"This Is Meant To Hurt You" is the debut EP by the new hardcore rock gods, These Arms Are Snakes. Feauring ex members of such bands as Botch ( bassist Brian Cook), Deadlcok ( drummer Joe Preston ), Kill Sadie ( singer Steve Snere ) and Nine Iron Spitfire ( guitarist Ryan Frederiksen ), These Arms Are Snakes are a rock combo that mixes in an incredible and original way any influences you could want: from post-hardcore to rock’n'roll, from 80′s DC hardcore to punk, This band is smart, clever, original and really caught my attention since the first time I heard such tracks as "Riding the Grape Dragon" or "Run It Through the Dog". These Arms Are Snake cannot be pigeon-holed in one only genre, as they have everything that goes from the Blood Brothers to Minus The Bear, from Milemarker to Jucifer, from Cave In to Drive Like Jehu: rock harmonies, hardcore riffs, screams, slow moments and a great, hard-to-find-today rock’n'roll attitude. Produced by Matt Bayles ( of Blood Brothers, Isis, Botch fame )The EP on Jade Tree only shows the band with five songs, a great way to discover these new architects of rock, but not enough yet to let the world know how much this band is going to influence the music world of today. I know that I am already waiting for their debut LP, so, in the meantime "This Is Meant To Hurt You" will please my ears while I am couting the days.

This Is Meant To Hurt You
Jade Tree

These Arms Are Snakes Interview

Formed from the ashes of Tacoma’s Botch and Minneapolis’ Kill Sadie, Seattle’s These Arms Are Snakes have come a hell of a long way in a very short amount of time, with veterans Jade Tree Records stepping up to the plate to release the band’s debut EP, This Is Meant to Hurt You.

Andy Foote interviewed vocalist, Little Steve, and drummer, Joe, at Portland, Oregon’s Meow Meow on August 26, 2003.

The first time I heard the title of the record, This Is Meant to Hurt You, I thought it had kind of an ominous tone to it. Why is it that you thought that it would be an appropriate title for the record?

Steve: I think it came about, in a weird way, a while ago. I think it ties into the lyrics a little bit, and the idea of the record, the layout of the record, and there’s a little spiel in there. It just kind of tied in with… it’s a downer basically, I guess, about life. Sometimes I tend to gravitate more to that part of life than the good shit. It’s just the way I am, I guess.

Joe: More melancholy?

Steve: Yeah. Kind of.

How did the art tie into that?

Steve: The art came about, actually, from our friend who came on tour with us, Robin. She does redhedpictures.com. She’s a photographer. Me and her did it together a while ago, just kind of as a project. We thought it’d be really good to use for the layout.

Joe: All of the pictures are all cropped out, so it’s like you can see stuff going on, and then it’s like there’s this whole other world outside of the actual layout. It’s all supposed to make you think:  the music, the lyrics, the layout, it’s all one big package. Without one it’s not complete. It makes you think, it makes you wonder. "What the fuck is going on here? What’s this?"

Steve: It all kind of ties in together.

Maybe I could be kind of off on this, but, a lot of the lyrics have kind of a spiritual tone — not in the sense of spiritual being a synonym for religious, but in the sense of finding ways to maximize personal satisfaction in life, and a sense of interconnectedness.

Steve: With the lyrics, I was at kind of a weird point in my life when I wrote a lot of that shit, so I can see what you’re saying because a lot of the lyrics are kind of darker, and maybe a little bit melancholy or whatever, but there’s also the aspect of not wanting that, and trying to figure out how to get out of that, so I can see what you’re saying with that. They’re spiritual in the way of trying to deal with everyday shit, trying to believe what you want to believe and trying to make that happen.

Is there a conscious idea of what you want to convey with the band?

Steve: It wasn’t a conscious thing, it was always like about what was going on at the time. I try not to have like a conceptual thing.

Something I thought was interesting was the use of lights. Is there anything in doing the lights that helps to enhance something that you are trying to convey to your audience?

Steve: I’ve always been into it. In my last band we did it; it was nothing quite as extravagant, but we had lights. It’s more for setting a mood. Having stage lights, for me… it makes me a bit uncomfortable to not have lights, so it’s like standing more in the spotlight, whereas, if you set a mood with them…

Joe: Like when you’re with your lady, and you put on the Marvin Gaye, and you turn down the lights. (laughs)

Steve: Basically, it’s the same situation: whatever you’re trying to get out of it, like a reaction out of people. And we do that because have full control over how we want you to see us at that time. We have full control over it. It’s a conceptual thing. That’s just how it came about. We wanted to make sure that we could set our own mood.

I think the idea is that they’re going to constantly be changing. We changed them up two months ago to the way they are now. Before they were a different way. I think we’re going to keep changing them. Maybe we might not have them.

Kind of whatever you feel like doing at the time.

Steve: Yeah. We don’t want anything to be expected. We don’t want it to be like, "They’re the band with the lights," like it’s something we need.

Why did the band decide to leave the lyrics out of the insert? Did it help to focus more on the art? What are the advantages and disadvantages of this decision?

Joe: It was the sort of thing where like, the pictures are so fucking awesome that having all of the lyrics in there would just totally take away from it. It’s like we said before, we want everything to tie into each other. The lyrics are on the website, so they’re available for people who want them.

Steve: As far as me actually writing them, it was kind of cool that we didn’t have to do that. At the same time, I guess people want to read them, but I think a lot of what the record was is a bit of mystery that we wanted to have with it. The thing I wrote in it is all lyrics from the songs put together, but I kind of dig that it’s not in there because I think it added a cool bit of mystery to it.

These Arms Are Snakes has a bunch of different elements in what you do musically, how you present yourselves, and ultimately, what someone who hears you and sees you play will end up getting. What does each member bring to the table, and how is each person represented in what you do?

(Ryan, These Arms Are Snakes’ guitar player, enters the room)

Joe: I write everything, and I taught Ryan how to play guitar… oh, hey, what’s up, dude? (laughs)

Steve: I think we all come from different areas, but we all have a good idea of what we want to be doing. Each person brings their aspects for sure. It’s definitely like a loud, hard, rock band. It’s not quite "hardcore" but there’s elements of that, and I think that comes with the past and previous bands we were in. I think we all come from different areas, but we’ve managed to come together and work.

You guys just wrapped up a month or so of touring. How do you think it helped the band as individuals and as a band?

Steve: That’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot. (laughs)

Joe: "Why the fuck did I do that?" (laughs)

Steve: Being a new band… we’re all friends, we’ve all known each other for a while, but not in that kind of setting. If we had done like a two-week tour, we still wouldn’t have gotten out what we did in a two-month tour.

Joe: It’s like living with each other.

Steve: Yeah. We fried ourselves, and now we know how bad it can get. We know what it can be like, being with each other. It wasn’t that bad, we got along, and now we know what to do and what not to do. I think it helped tremendously. There are a lot of fucking tours where you come back like, "Oh my fucking god." (laughs) Like you go out on a five-week tour like that. I think it helped tremendously.

And you guys haven’t been together that long, have you?

Joe: Only about a year.

Steve: Things happened really quick.

Do you think it’s helped, especially with being a newer band?

Steve: Yeah, I think so.

Joe: Now we’re really resourceful. With the whole tour and the recording, it was all (snaps his fingers quickly and repeatedly). We all had to work, we all had to get our shit together to try and figure out how we’re going to do it.

Steve: It was like a crash course, for sure. At the end of that tour, it was like, school was out of session, and I think we all learned something. Now we can take what we’ve learned from that and apply it to how we’re going to work together from now on. But, we’re still alive.

Joe: All the shit’s broke, but we’re still here. (laughs)

Steve: My shit’s totally broke man, but I’m still alive. (laughs)

Contact These Arms Are Snakes:
Web: http://www.thesearmsaresnakes.com/.

Important These Arms Are Snakes related links!
Jade Tree Records: http://www.jadetree.com/.

THESE ARMS ARE SNAKES [I]This Is Meant to Hurt You[/I] Review

These Arms Are Snakes are a brand new band out of Seattle formed from the ashes of hardcore/metal greats Botch and Kill Sadie. This is Meant to Hurt You, an EP, is their first release. It sure seems like Jade Tree picked up these guys for nothing other than the fact that they are “ex-members of…” First off, let’s get past their absolutely atrocious name and focus on the substance: the music itself.

This is Meant to Hurt You contains some pretty interesting songs; they’ve got a kind of indie rock thing going on with a splash of progressive rock thrown in there. The songs sound very raw and it works for this band. You can just imagine some tight-jeaned dudes on stage with probably shaggy, greasy hair, going completely nuts. Fortunately their music isn’t as predictable as their physical appearance.

The vocals alternate between singing and some kind of yelled screams. It’s hard to say exactly what they are saying in these songs but it’s a near guarantee that these are some really obtuse lyrics, probably in the vein of At the Drive-In and the Blood Brothers. There are good amounts of keyboard in the mix and this really adds to the whole musical palette. The drumming is never straight forward, which always makes for an entertaining listen. At first some of the songs seem to drag on, but after a fourth or fifth listen, it really starts to click. Remember kids, sometimes the most rewarding albums are those which take a fair amount of effort to comprehend.

This is not heavy music by any means so if you‘re an old Botch fan, then this might not necessarily turn you on, but it is intense through and through. There are hints of …And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead, which seem to be a pretty accurate comparison to These Arms Are Snakes. If you like your hardcore a little bit more artsy and complicated then I’d recommend picking this release up. If you like your hardcore straightforward then give this a chance and broaden your horizons a bit, it’ll be worth it.

THESE ARMS ARE SNAKES [I]This Is Meant to Hurt You[/I] Review

"This Is Meant To Hurt You" is the debut EP by the new hardcore rock gods, These Arms Are Snakes. Feauring ex members of such bands as Botch ( bassist Brian Cook), Deadlcok ( drummer Joe Preston ), Kill Sadie ( singer Steve Snere ) and Nine Iron Spitfire ( guitarist Ryan Frederiksen ), These Arms Are Snakes are a rock combo that mixes in an incredilbe and original way any influences you could want: from post-hardcore to rock’n'roll, from 80′s DC hardcore to punk, this band is smart, clever, original and really caught my attention since the first time I heard such tracks as "Riding the Grape Dragon" or "Run It Through the Dog". These Arms Are Snake cannot be pigeon-holed in one only genre, as they have everything that goes from the Blood Brothers to Minus The Bear, from Milemarker to Jucifer, from Cave In to Drive Like Jehu: rock harmonies, hardcore riffs, screams, slow moments and a great, hard-to-find-today rock’n'roll attitude. Produced by Matt Bayles ( of Blood Brothers, Isis, Botch fame )The EP on Jade Tree only shows the band with five songs, a great way to discover these new architects of rock, but not enough yet to let the world know how much this band is going to influence the music world of today. I know that I am already waiting for their debut LP, so, in the meantime "This Is Meant To Hurt You" will please my ears while I am couting the days.

THESE ARMS ARE SNAKES [I]This Is Meant to Hurt You[/I] Review

This is meant to hurt you is exactly the right answer to all that full scale abortion crap that goes by the name of Mars Volta and gets raving reviews by nearly every dumb/deaf idiot on this planet. THESE ARMS ARE SNAKES show those clowns in a more than impressing manner what it means to quit some highly praised bands to take creativity to a whole new level without torturing the listener with endless hippiesque and at times stadium-rock-like musicianship. Unlike the aforementioned disappointment of the year Steve Snere (Ex-Kill Sadie), Brian Cook (Ex-Botch), Joe Preston (Ex-Deadlock), Ryan Fredricksen (Ex-Nine Iron Spitfire) & Jesse Robertson manage to build a completely destructive sound of wall by incorporating massive noise rock elements, decent psychedelic moments and hypnotic 70s energy rock fragments into their song structure. Leading to a result which is not artsy but HARD-sy, not avant-garde but avant-HARD, precise, uncontrollable, revolting, painful, full of life… To put it plain and simple: in all its energetic brutality this EP is nothing but pure beauty. Interestingly enough the reasons for succeeding in their mission to create this massive monster of a record are not the not so revolutionary key ingredients itself but how they were combined. Never dominated by any particular style the different elements manage to flow together on a subconscious level to form those highly magnetized songs which lead to an immediate state of alert for all the human senses… still feeling electrified by these 5 tracks of mayhem-like noise Armageddon I can only hope for a full length album to follow soon as well as a European tour of course…

THESE ARMS ARE SNAKES [I]This Is Meant to Hurt You[/I] Review

These Arms Are Snakes are:
Steve Snere – Vocals
Brian Cook – Bass/Keyboards
Jesse Robertson – Keyboards
Joe Preston – Drums
Ryan Frederiksen – Guitars

If you already haven’t heard about These Arms Are Snakes you’re either listening to too much rap, or you live on a distant planet. With musical styles similar to those of Cursive and The Mars Volta and ex-members of such bands as Killing Sadie and even Botch you will find a band that encompasses all things imaginable, that band deem themselves as "These Arms Are Snakes". With the Seattle scene that is today driven with talent there is no wonder that you wouldn’t find these bunch of rockers, featuring ex-members of some of yesteryears best hardcore bands such as Botch, Killing Sadie, and Deadlock. Although this is the bands first release they already have a mature and complete sound to them, unlike what you see in most bands first releases. The band have a very distinct style, unmatchable by any band, with the ability to switch musical styles in almost any part of a song and make it sound good, there is no doubt that you won’t be seeing TAAS soon. From the start of the CD to the last twenty-three minutes and fifteen seconds, the band have you in in both aw and utter surprise the whole time, with surprising vocals, guitars, bass and drums. You will often find yourself so into the music that it is hard to detour yourself from it, in other words it is very mesmerizing at times. There isn’t really a standout track on this album because all are equally amazing in one way or another and have very little low points to them, not even worth mentioning. If you were to categorize TAAS you would either find them in Math Rock, Post-Hardcore, or anywhere in between.

If you are a avid fan of anything from The Mars Volta to The Blood Brothers you are sure to enjoy this album, although consisting of just five tracks listening to it over and over will make you think that there is no end, because that exactly what you will want to do once you get yourself a copy of the astounding EP.

I found this EP to be far more than I thought it would be, both energetic and spontaneous. There wasn’t a moment that I doubted that the band could pull out one more amazing characteristic from any style of music, because this band have it all.

Rating: 8/10

Tracklist:
01. Riding the Grape Dragon
02. Run It Through the Dog
03. Diggers of Ditches Everywhere
04. The Blue Rose
05. Drinking from the Necks of the Ones You Love

THESE ARMS ARE SNAKES [I]This Is Meant to Hurt You[/I] Review

Do a couple of things for me. Firstly, forget that These Arms Are Snakes count ex-members of seminal hardcore groups Botch and Kill Sadie amongst their ranks. Secondly, forget that Matt Bayles, the producer behind ‘This Is Meant To Hurt You’, has not only worked on Botch’s epic ‘We Are The Romans’ and The Blood Brothers’ groundbreaking ‘March On Electric Children’, but also Isis’ 2002 masterpiece ‘Oceanic’. Actually, forget everything you think you know about rock music and just know this – ‘This Is Meant To Hurt You’ is THE rock debut of 2003. Swirling guitar compositions and complex (but no less pounding) drum sections combine with a fluidity likely to leave you in goose bumps of excitement for months. From opener ‘Riding the Grape Dragon’ through to the crunching climax of ‘Drinking from the Necks of the Ones you Love’, it’s as clear as day that all direct comparisons are worthless – there’s only one band that sounds anything like These Arms Are Snakes, and you’re listening to them.

Album Of The Month

Side Note / Review
These Arms Are Snakes have a captivating sound that blends together all of the technical aspects of math rock, along with post-hardcore elements. The combination creates something really nice and unique, a taste of something different from the flood of carbon copies and unoriginal bands as-of-late. The band tends to break down into instrumental melodies in their tracks, which just sound amazing; "Run It Through The Dog" shows this the most.

Their new EP "This Is Meant To Hurt You" may only contain five songs, but it’s a CD I haven’t been able to stop listening to. The talent in this group is not hard to see, their music sounds so mature and well put together. Every piece of this band stands out, the guitar effects, vocals and drums all sound simply great, and the blending of them is pulled off with perfection. "This Is Meant To Hurt You" drops this month through Jade Tree Records and I highly suggest you pick it up, These Arms Are Snakes will appeal to fans of many different genres.

THESE ARMS ARE SNAKES [I]This Is Meant to Hurt You[/I] Review

Talk about a band that roars through several rock genres at breakneck speed: Over the course of five songs (and in under 20 minutes) Seattle’s These Arms Are Snakes careen through math and post-hardcore, make brief but energizing pit stops at Boys Life-esque emo and Cure-esque electro-goth, and culminate in an astounding finish that makes you want to live it all over again (especially "Run It Through the Dog"). Given that the band features former members of Botch and Kill Sadie, the vocals are decidedly less harrowing than might be expected, yet maintain elements of textural surprise. Singer Steve Snere’s varied and physically theatrical live style comes through on record loud and clear. Produced by Matt Bayles, This Is Meant to Hurt You is also meant to revive you.

These Arms Are Snakes perform at Graceland on Mon Aug 25 with Hot Water Music, Cobra High, and Dead in Hollywood, 7 pm, $10.

It’s Whacking Day

WHAT?

The Blood Brothers, These Arms Are Snakes, The Vexers, Dance Disaster Movement

WHERE?

First Unitarian Church 2125 Chestnut St. Philadelphia

WHEN?

Sunday, July 20, 2:30 pm

HOW MUCH? $8

FORMORE INFO:

215.563.3980 or r5productions.com

Don’t harm the snakes. Leave the snakes alone. Except for when These Arms Are Snakes play the F.U.C., then feel free to whack away.

If our arms were snakes we could have all kinds of fun with them. Sure, we could do all the usual scaring the shit out of old people and unsuspecting sleepers, but we think we’d have a bit more fun playing sexy pranks. More on that later.

To go along with Monica’s interview with The Blood Brothers, who will be sharing the stage with These Arms Are Snakes (ex-Botch, Kill Sadie, Nineironspitfire) on July 20, Ryan Frederiksen (guitars) was kick-ass enough to talk to a nuh on the phone, almost get in an accident and reveal his most personal feelings on things like 80s TV and rap music (he loves it!).

Take a peak and don’t forget to place your pre-order for TAAS’upcoming EP, This is Meant to Hurt You, on Jade Tree Records:

PULSE WEEKLY: Where did you come up with the name These Arms Are Snakes?

RYAN FREDERIKSEN: There are a couple reasons why [we chose it]. It’s kinda just me thinking of the most ridiculous name for the band that I could. It’s more of a comical thing for us. It seems like people really take themselves seriously when they choose a name, whereas we definitely don’t – we take what we do seriously, but not ourselves, by any means. These Arms Are Snakes, it’s funny to us, but it’s quirky enough to get people’s attention.

PW: Did you have any other names you were throwing around?

RF: No, as soon as we came up with that one it just stuck. To this day we’re all kind of embarrassed to say it when people ask what our band name is. It serves its purpose; it’s all good.

PW: Was deciding which songs to put on the EP difficult?

RF: We pretty much knew going into it which songs we were going to put on there. We recorded four of the songs before as sort of a demo. We never released it or anything like that, it was more for our own enjoyment and to send out to labels and whatnot. So the record is those four songs and more that we added later.

PW: What made you choose Jade Tree?

RF: For us, it was definitely an easy decision [to choose Jade Tree]. We’ve all really respected Jade Tree for as long as they’ve been a label and we love all the bands that are on it. It was an easy pick: When they got a hold of us we were really excited and all the labels we were talking to before just went to the background; Jade Tree was our number one pick.

PW: What was your favorite 80s TV show?

RF: Airwolf.

PW: Airwolf was great. That was up there with Knight Rider.

RF: Hell yeah.

PW: Is there a particular area of the country that you like playing while on tour?

RF: Well, this is going to be our first tour as this band, but we’ve toured in other bands. I’ve played Cleveland twice and each time was completely different so it’s kind of hard to say, but the cities I’ve always really enjoyed are Chicago, New York, Boston – Boston seems like the Seattle of the East Coast. On the West Coast San Diego is awesome. In between … geez, Louisville?

PW: Really? That’s the first time I’ve ever heard anyone say Louisville.

RF: Yeah, actually, that’s kind of a joke. Jesse Robertson [keyboards] and I both lived in Louisville at one point in time. So for us it’s kind of a joke; neither of us like Louisville .

PW: Do you like hip-hop at all?

RF: Oh, I love hip-hop. I’m not too into the new Talib Kweli – that’s not such a good record for me personally. But I like Black Star, Mos Def, a lot of the Def Jux crew, RJD2, Aesop Rock. There’s a lot of great hip-hop out there, I love it.

PW: How about commercial rap?

RF: You mean like Jay-Z and stuff like that? I love Jay-Z, man. I love me my Jay-Z, totally. I used to hate Eminem but he’s started to grow on me a little bit. That guy has skills, man, he’s a good lyricist. He knows what he’s doin’ so I gotta respect him for that.

PW: He’s quite possibly insane.

RF: Exactly, so it’s good all around.

PW: Do you know any good jokes?

RF: You know, I don’t.

PW: Damn, ‘cause I’m fresh out.

New Day Rising-Locals These Arms Are Snakes and Harkonen lead a progressive shift in the Seattle hardcore scene.

Punk has long been regressing into a morbid, mall-safe Frankenstein, hard rock is getting retro CPR via the likes of Burning Brides and Queens of the Stone Age, but hardcore?notoriously the most inflexible of aggressive genres?is, surprisingly, where the evolution’s really at. Two Pacific Northwest upstarts champion a refreshingly individualistic approach to hardcore . . . if the name even applies anymore: the darkly theatrical androids of These Arms Are Snakes and the down-to-business lumberjacks in Harkonen. Members from both bands goof around in the folk-metal hybrid Roy, but will turn the most heads?literally and figuratively?in their main outfits.

THESE ARMS ARE SNAKES

In the ridiculously massive pantheon of reptilian band names, These Arms Are Snakes are tied for last place with zero records sold. That will very likely change, once they formally release The Blue Rose EP, but in the meantime, bassist Brian Cook is rightfully championing quality over quantity.

“I’d say we’re better than Hot Snakes,” he deadpans, “but not as good as Slash’s Snakepit.”

Guitarist Ryan Frederiksen is charged with (a) responsibility for the moniker (“I was watching the Discovery Channel . . . ,” begins a suitably vague anecdote), (b) someday out-riffing the Lord of the Top Hats, and (c) replacing the gear that most colors the Snakes’ sound, the Korg Kaos Pad, which distorts vocalist Steve Snere’s howl into something resembling Skeletor installing suppositories.

“[The first] one broke,” sighs Snere. “It wasn’t durable at all, literally all made of plastic. Then Korg came out with version II, all metal, with a lot more effects and whatnot . . . and it got stolen. So far, that’s $600, all gone.”

All this before their sixth show, bear in mind, not to mention a small army of converts touting These Arms Are Snakes as a formidable paradigm shift in hardcore due to their unpredictable, progressive anti-melodies. It’s like they threw Bowie and Page in a burlap sack and dumped them off in the . . . And Justice for All disinformation camp.

“I think hardcore doesn’t mean the same thing it did five or six years ago,” Cook suggests. “When the Blood Brothers first came out, I was like, ‘Oh, they’re totally a hardcore band,’ but I don’t know if I’d call them that anymore. That understates all the things they’re doing.”

“We’re hardcore avant-garde,” drummer Joe Preston chimes in, closing the case by quoting his lead singer. “We’re avant-hard.”

Nothing is more avant than a blinding light show, that is, besides a bad light show. Witnesses at the Snakes’ recent Graceland gig (after which the Kaos Pad was swiped) found the house lights completely turned down and a progression of bizarre strobes barely illuminating the pole-dancing, ax-grinding onstage chaos.

“My brother did lights [for that show] with about 20 minutes of prep time,” Frederiksen recalls. “He did a bang-up job. We decided to maintain a low-key light show for that one.”

“Low-key meaning not being able to see anything,” Cook quips.

“It’s part entertainment value,” Frederiksen elaborates, “part accenting specific parts, mood?stuff like that.”

“I’m all about the light show,” Cook admits. “When I go out to see [loud] bands live, that’s what I like to see. I don’t need to go see a band I like just play the songs off the record and not embellish them.”

“Yeah,” Preston shrugs. “You might as well be at home doing your laundry.”

HARKONEN

Harkonen, meanwhile, are not avant-garde, savant-garde, avant-hard, or even avant-bard?they’re just a thunderbolt-tossing three-piece from Tacoma. Nevertheless, they’re a viable tangent of the-future-is-now hardcore, if only because people have mistaken them for avant-hard. “A few summers ago, we finally got to the East Coast,” begins bassist-frontman Ben Verellen, “but our drummer broke his wrist a couple weeks before we were supposed to leave [and couldn't play for a sustained length of time]. We recorded him playing his drum parts and played it through a CD into a bunch of PA speakers. That was our drummer for the whole tour because, goddammit, we were gonna do it that time.

“We ended up playing a lot of straight-up hardcore shows, where people . . . either really didn’t get it or thought we were doing something weird.”

Couple that kind of queerly blessed misfortune with a revolving-door guitarist affliction that makes the Chili Peppers look stable, and Verellen must be relieved that the band’s debut, Shake Harder Boy (Hydrahead), is a done deal, representative of Harkonen’s most punishing, potent incarnation: himself, drummer Matt Howard, and guitarist Casey Hardy. “Baristas Get Stalked” and “We’ve Come for Your Daughters” (title inspired by Beetlejuice!) are taut exercises in creative repetition, confidently straddling the line between power rock and metal famously scorched by Motörhead. Verellen laughs appreciatively at the comparison.

“Sure, I mean they’ve got distorted bass lines; we’ve got distorted bass lines,” he concedes. “There’s kind of a ‘simple rock’ idea behind the whole band lately.”

One idea that’s persisted since Harkonen’s junior-high inception is a pervasive, self-deprecating sense of humor. They’ve taken the novelty T-shirt concept to glorious postmodern extremes, wearing short sleeves adorned with their blown-up visages (now immortalized in Shake Harder’s liner notes) for multiple gigs.

“The thing is, we’re not pissed-off, crazy death-metal dudes,” Verellen shrugs. “We usually do something like that for a couple of shows and, you know, the funniness wears off pretty quick.”

What pisses Verellen off is not necessarily what upsets his brother Dave, the former Botch frontman/current EMT, although both brothers are affable, approachable men.

“He’s got a silly disposition, for being the singer of Botch, but he’s a lot more serious than I am,” Verellen confides. “He’s a total cop. I think Dave has more of a trying-to-tackle-issues approach. He has a greater worldview. I don’t really have the perspective for that.”

A 22-year-old, ex-straight-edge kid finally moving from Tacoma to U-Dub to complete a degree in electrical engineering, Verellen turns his pirate voice into overdrive when his band is underestimated.

“A lot of it has to do with being bitter at . . . I hate to say this, but the all-ages scene not really getting the band,” he admits. “There’s no guy up front pointing at people and screaming. It’s not At the Drive-In. They’re kind of confused.”

THESE ARMS ARE SNAKES

Sat Mar 1

[SOLE: 175 S. Monroe, 509.216.2873]

We just adore bands-spanking-new. Doesn?t everyone? But we especially adore new bands with clever names that just completely kick our ass. These Arms Are Snakes are the epitome of that rage, and that?s just from a listen to a puny demo/EP thing called The Blue Rose! Not surprisingly, this furious five-piece art core contraption has managed to snuggle up with Seattle scenesters and Uber media entities with their sweaty heart-on-sleeve live shows, strong band lineage and somewhat impeccable timing. After all, the other Seattle bands born from parts of Kill Sadie and Botch (Pretty Girls Make Graves, Minus the Bear, Dead Low Tide, et al) aren?t doing all that bad right now, are they? Now would be a good time to check out These Arms Are Snakes if you want to tell all your friends that you saw them before they signed with some ultra sick, legendary indie label or something. Trust us, there isn?t much time left. Locals Self-Inheritance, no strangers to spastic core themselves, and Death Kills Time open the bill. Show starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $4.

Imaginary Boy Posse: These Arms are Snakes

I’m not sure what’s bothering These Arms are Snakes, but whatever it is, we’re all the better for it. These seem like angry young men who have a lot to get off their collective chest. We’re not talking about watered down teen-angsty rock either. These guys cook up a musical stew that would make The Melvins and Neurosis proud.
A sense of dark and foreboding doom n’ gloom hovers over their tracks. The lead singer has a tremendous rock voice and isn’t afraid to wash it in numerous effects. He freely raises his voice octaves above his own or reduces it to guttural lows. In addition to his vocal talents he also has an unmistakable charisma. Like the band’s namesake, he slithers around the mike stand and flails about the stage like a madman in an effort to convert the audience to their cause. The other members hold their own as well.
This is one of the more inspired outfits to come out of Seattle in awhile. They have the potential and the necessary ingredients to gain a large cult following. Consider yourself warned.

KING COBRAS Smart Hardcore from These Arms Are Snakes

These Arms Are Snakes

w/Cobra High, Charming Snakes

Sat Jan 18, Chop Suey, 9 pm, $6.

No one can argue with the fact that Seattle’s music scene is currently experiencing a pile-driven network of talent and creativity that hasn’t been so physically evident since the Hype! days. In this city that broke Mudhoney and Nirvana, rock–loud, heavy, and hard–will always reign supreme. But a definite trend toward more complicated kinds of rock–largely influenced by the canorous underbelly of defunct hardcore band Botch, as well as Pitchfork and Drive Like Jehu–is moving to the forefront, and suddenly, smart rock is actually fun. Rooted firmly in hardcore and math, and grafted to mid-’90s emo like Boys Life and Braid, smart rock has transcended its music geek limitations to become an accessible, viable faction of our prevailing music community, and These Arms Are Snakes is quickly claiming a stake.

Fronted by former Kill Sadie singer Steve Snere, These Arms Are Snakes is cobbled from a hodgepodge of members of defunct hardcore bands such as Deadlock (drummer Joe Preston), Nine Iron Spitfire (guitarist Ryan Frederiksen), and yes, Botch (bassist Brian Cook). Snere lucked out by replacing Kill Sadie’s singer, landing him in Seattle in the first place. “Kill Sadie moved from Minneapolis to Seattle four years ago,” he says. “Thank God they got sick of Minneapolis and moved here, because I finally got out of Iowa.”

In the face of such a musical reawakening, Snere feels privileged to join Seattle’s blossoming arena. “I think it’s really exciting right now, because for a minute [the music scene] kinda died when Botch and Murder City Devils broke up. Now there’s a bunch of great new bands like Minus the Bear and Cobra High rising up. At first it was a little intimidating to be stepping into that ring, but now I don’t even think about it.”

Once the band’s demo was leaked, These Arms Are Snakes became a hotly anticipated live debut. Tonight marks their third show, and they’re in fine company, opening a bill that demonstrates just how inspired rock has become. Again.