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Q: Are we not metal? A: Yeah, sorta. Both bands on this bill are enormous-sounding, but they achieve their audio girth from dissimilar means, neither atypical metal. Most of Isis' albums are three-fourths instrumental and all-fourths conceptual. The band's previous CDs were sold in room-thrashing flavors like Oceanic and Celestial that expanded on the themes in epic proportions. Until its latest wall of sound, Isis' lead barker Aaron Turner intermittently broke up the ambiance with the usual hardcore gravel gut, but lately he's taken to actually singing. Isis' moody constructions should appeal to fans of Tool, whom Isis has toured with and whose bassist Justin Chancellor plays on the new album.
If you've gotta see a band for the name alone, These Arms Are Snakes will do, but this Seattle emo-hardcore foursome has an equally fun album title -- Oxeneers or The Lion Sleeps When Its Antelope Go Home -- that delves into the hardscrabble for your soul by corporate America. But worry not, their rage against the system of a down is instantly accessible; any band that warns, "May your lips never touch your time card again" obviously doesn't want you working too hard.