Album: Haunt This Town (2008)

Artist: Arm the Angels

Label: self-released

Where available/price: CDBaby.com for $12. iTunes, Rhapsody, Amazon, MP3.com, and Napster for 99 cents per song.

Songs: 1) Last Goodbye 2) Haunt This Town 3) Enemy 4) Prelude to Saints 5) Saints 6) One That Heals 7) Camouflage 8) Interlude 9) We Won’t Fall 10) Sidewinder 11) Pagan Hearts 12) Moment

Band: Arnie (vocals, guitar, keyboard), Erock (bass), A Lo (guitar, keyboards), Adam Rapps (drums)

Website: armtheangels.com

There’s no other band in San Diego with the expertise and honed skill of Arm the Angels. Every beat, riff, pace change, vocal harmony, and chord ring clear, timed perfectly and followed through with professional aplomb. Except for that, I’m not impressed by this album, their second release.

Arm the Angels cobbled together an act fit to open for midlevel, national-selling artists such as Against Me! or any number of Fat Wreck Chords bands. They offer a little AC/DC, some soaring nu-metal guitar work, and the advanced musicianship and complex arrangements of emo/pop-punk — track two, “Haunt This Town,” might have been lifted wholesale from Jimmy Eat World (namely, their hit song “Sweetness”).

Arm the Angels play it better than anyone, but unless they garner some originality, they should call their next album Sign Us! We Like Money and We’re Nonconfrontational to Tween-Age Girls; Moms Love Us! If they stop borrowing from everyone else and start writing to express themselves, coupled with their perfect playing, they could take over the world.

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