These Arms Are Snakes

Pub date December 9, 2008
SectionMusicSectionMusic Features

PREVIEW Rising from a new-millennium Seattle rock renaissance, These Arms Are Snakes offers a new take on an ever-growing post-hardcore scene. Often compared to bands like mewithoutYou and As Cities Burn, These Arms Are Snakes raises the bar yet again with this year’s brilliant Tall Swallower and Dove (Suicide Squeeze). While most prog/post-hardcore riffraff skew toward more experimental, ambient pastures, the Northwestern miscreants opt for a more direct approach with Tall Swallower and Dove: the outfit seems as happy to bludgeon the listener with sonic buzzsaw and raw power as it is to confound the listener with odd time signatures and intricate melodic structures. "Prince Squid" and "Red Line Season" display These Arms Are Snakes’ impressive ability to write melodic, tuneful pieces, laced with an edge becoming to a group that includes former members of nineironspitfire and hardcore legends Botch.

Tall Swallower and Dove‘s tracks have an energetic, organic feel that will lend itself well to the stage, though These Arms Are Snakes already has a reputation as a spellbinding live act: frontperson Steve Snere is known to thrash and convulse wildly, like an intoxicated rag doll. And then there’s the bona fide guitar virtuosity of Ryan Frederiksen, which remains as underrated as the band itself. In a post-hardcore scene sorely lacking the raw passion and ingenuity of acts like At the Drive-In and Refused, These Arms Are Snakes remain one of the few groups that is capable of sonic innovation while staying true to its roots in the hardcore scene

THESE ARMS ARE SNAKES With Trap Them and Narrows. Sun/14, 9 p.m., $10–$12. Bottom of the Hill, 1233 17th St., SF. (415) 626-4455,