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Isis / These Arms Are Snakes

Isis / These Arms Are Snakes: live in New Yorklive in New York (2004)
Ipecac Recordings

Reviewer Rating: 4


Contributed by: Matt_WhelihanMatt Whelihan
(others by this writer | submit your own)

After a subway ride down from the Bronx to Manhattan and a short walk through Chinatown I found myself at the Bowery Ballroom. Inside was an interesting mix of the usual New York scenesters and some black clad metal heads. I missed the first opener Tim Hecker, but made it just as These Arms Are Sn.


After a subway ride down from the Bronx to Manhattan and a short walk through Chinatown I found myself at the Bowery Ballroom. Inside was an interesting mix of the usual New York scenesters and some black clad metal heads. I missed the first opener Tim Hecker, but made it just as These Arms Are Snakes were about to take the stage.

From the opening note the band performed with a frantic and chaotic intensity. The super clean production of their new album was all but gone and in its place was raw fury as These Arms Are Snakes ripped through songs like "The Shit Sisters," "Angela's Secret," "Tracing Your Pearly Whites," "Darlings of New Midnight," "Big News," and "Riding the Grape Dragon," among others. While all the band members were putting on a memorable performance, it was vocalist Steve Snere who stole the show. Snere moved back and forth between spastic flailing and sassy dance moves reminiscent of Cedric Bixler, as he climbed amps and careened around the stage with a drunken-like stagger, fully embracing the role of front man. The vocals, like the music, were also more raw as Snere screamed nearly every line. The passion exerted from the performance alone made it amazing, but the music was also tight and well executed making it a treat for the eyes and the ears. Even all the keyboard/organ sounds found on their recordings made it into the performance as bassist Brian Cook pulled double duty between bass and Korg. After what seemed like a relatively short set These Arms Are Snakes left the stage and Isis began to set up.

While Isis did have metal tones and headbanger moves, they also shared a lot in common with bands like Envy, A Day In Black and White, and God Speed You Black Emperor. Like those bands, Isis played epic songs with long atmospheric buildups before a massive crescendo. The emotive power of Isis's build ups was nothing short of incredible. While maybe not as spastic as These Arms Are Snakes, Isis was still intense as they made clear that they weren't fucking around, but had come to rock.

I have to admit, I went to the show just to see These Arms Are Snakes. I had never really listened to Isis because seeing them often connected with the word "metal" had deterred me, but I was glad I hung around for their set.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
DestroyPopRadio (December 14, 2004)

These Arms are Snakes are way too overhyped. Every magazine I open up have something about these guys and every time I check out their music, I always think the same thing: These Ears are Bored.

kenjamin (December 8, 2004)

I did indeed pick up the split at the show. The vinyl is sooo pretty and matches the packaging, which is key. I'm such a sucker for colored vinyl. anyways, yea i was totally blown away by WTPY and i really dig both of the songs on the split esp the funeral diner side.

Anonymous (December 7, 2004)

wall of sound dude here: yeah, i don't blame you for going to off minor & welcome to the plague year. tough call. Grab their split with Funeral Diner if you don't have it

kenjamin (December 7, 2004)

The dude into the "wall of sound" should check out The Body. holy shit, i thought my cell phone was vibrating in my pocket and i could feel my organs rupturing inside of me. anyways, i was at the off minor, ampere, welcome the plague year show at KF instead of this. Sooooo good. Not a single bad band.

Anonymous (December 7, 2004)

ISIS is not some spazzcore band. No, the singer doesn't deep throat the mic trying to be emotional. You're correct. The only thing ISIS does is produce one of the biggest walls of sonic sound this side of an airport, and THAT is far more moving emotionally than than some insincere stage presence.

ISIS absolutely murders these arms are snakes. any idiot watching the show could have told you that.

Not really...Isis may be more talented, but that music doesn't really offer itself to a lot of energy live.

Anonymous (December 7, 2004)

i saw this show in san francisco. isis was awe inspiring. they're only boring if you have a short attention. i bought the TAAS ep a long time ago because it was ex-botch and was really dissapointed. but my opinion changed after seeing them live, i thought they were fucking fantastic. also, oxbow opened up the SF date and fucking killed. overall it was by far one of the best shows i've been to in a long time.

SilentStorms (December 7, 2004)

Goddammit Bones, your not a bad person (I assume) but your comments always piss the hell outta me. Good job. Anyway, I saw this show in Toronto and it fucking blew me away. After getting the new TAAS album I hated it, but after seeing it performed live I realized it's pretty much the same as their older stuff, it's just mixed EXTREMELY poorly. I love Old Man Gloom so I wanted to see Isis, and they fucking blew my mind. Absolutely incredible. I tried to fall asleep, but I couldn't - cuz my head just wouldn't stop boppin', boo yeah.

bizzlebrizzle (December 7, 2004)

ISIS absolutely murders these arms are snakes. any idiot watching the show could have told you that.

Not really...Isis may be more talented, but that music doesn't really offer itself to a lot of energy live.

FortyMinutesWest (December 7, 2004)

Isis

Anonymous (December 7, 2004)

ISIS absolutely murders these arms are snakes. any idiot watching the show could have told you that.

bizzlebrizzle (December 7, 2004)

Isis is really fucking good...

I think I missed this when it was in Philly...I got the dates fucked up in my head.

stevejonestherealbones (December 7, 2004)

i'm surprised you didnt fall asleep during the isis set. although there music is pleasent, they are quite disapointing live. they are a band to play when you want to dose off, or if you want to have some background noise to read to. kinda like deftones.

- jones the bones

- stevejones8770@yahoo.com

theundergroundscene (December 7, 2004)

Isis deserves a goddamn novel.

johnnydanger (December 7, 2004)

terrible review. isis deserves a lot more than a line.

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