Seattle, Washington’s dark poets These Arms Are Snakes are a quartet with a penchant for cryptic meanings and words, so of course their band’s name means something to them. To the outside world, These Arms Are Snakes conjures images of the mythological figure Medusa, whose hair was made of snakes. Though this may not have been the band’s inspiration for their name, the band’s proclivity to write about the ugliness of humanity has a correlation to Medusa’s innate ugliness.
Listen to the song Horse Girl, off the album Easter, by clicking the play button in the Galaxy Media Player above and to the right.
TAAS’ sophomore release Easter, following their debut disc Oxeneers, makes connotations to the religious holiday with dark undertones. The song Horse Girl depicts a dismal story as lead singer Steve Snere, formerly of Kill Sadie, chants: “If I bite my cheeks long enough, I figure I could eat right through the skin/ So breathe slow and gnaw on/ And while you suck on your pills for your composure/ It’s like a light when out in your head/ just burned out in your vertebrae/ I’m like an epidermal harvesting/ So breathe slow then stop/ I’ll take you in again/ Your breathing pattern is key to this therapy/ Then find your favorite vein and watch for the pulse/ Yes, there it is now/ Begin.”
The chorus on Horse Girl is resonant with breaks between the instrument clips. What seems like arbitrary sequencing to the listener is actually precisely thought out patterns for the band as they tell Rock Sound magazine, “The songwriting process is definitely a time consuming process. We want to have meaning and reasons for all the parts, making sure all the parts work together and not just arbitrarily throwing them in.”
Their hardcore-inspired verses are prevalent but These Arms Are Snakes also implement elements of classic rock psychedelics like in Perpetual Bris and Lady North, reflective of Black Sabbath and Jefferson Airplane. Many of their parts, I consider, are mainstream in heavy metal with crunching guitar intervals by Ryan Frederikson, formerly of Nineironspitfire, recalling the late Denis D’Amour of Canada’s prog-rock metalists Voivod. The jaded edges on the screeching guitar lobes for Mescaline Eyes are familiar in Daughters and Cave In.
These Arms Are Snakes second installment shows influences from various forms of rock music’s manifestations. Most of the parts are mainstream metal to me, but the energy backing up the music is the biggest motivating factor for this album.