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August 26, 2003

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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.

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