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February 28, 2004

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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.


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