THE PRIZE FIGHTER INFERNO - My Brother's Blood Machine
The Prize Fighter Inferno was always a side project that Coheed & Cambria creator Claudio Sanchez was on the fence about releasing. A project that has been worked on and off over the course of seven years, Claudio has finally decided to release his debut solo album, titled My Brother’s Blood Machine, under the alias mentioned in the first sentence. While the quieter and electronic-influenced album is supposed to be a step away from Coheed, the album still plays a minor role in the overall story that he has been writing for the past couple of years. Here is a quick rundown: in the last Coheed album, the death of the character Inferno (often referred to as Jesse a.k.a. Coheed’s brother) occurred. Inferno is the narrator of the stories and has now been resurrected on present day Earth where must tell the story of My Brother’s Blood Machine, which is the prequel to the chronicles of Coheed & Cambria. Confused yet? So am I. Luckily, the overall theme of this album doesn’t take away from my enjoyment of the music. What we have here is an album struggling to find its identity. Bouncing between stripped down acoustic songs to upbeat electronica tunes, Sanchez brings a different side of his musical madness to the table.
As soon as you pop in the disc and hear the first few notes, you might think that you’ve accidentally put in The Postal Service’s album. But, Sanchez’s voice soon appears and we have the first track of the album, “The Going Price For Home,” which gives you a good idea at how different this is from Coheed. A drum machine, a poppy beat, and Sanchez’s high pitched tone make this one of the best songs on the album. The acoustic guitar rears its head though on the next two tracks, “The Fight Of Moses Early & Sir Arthur McCloud” and “Our Darling Daughter You Are, Little Cecillia Marie.” Both songs have a bit of Medieval sort of vibe to them. The electric tone comes back on “A Death In The Family,” another infectious track that fits Sanchez’s voice well. The album takes a weird turn on “The Margretville Dance.” A straight up dance-pop song, the chorus is reminiscent of Michael Jackson in his sane days. “Accidents” has an industrial sense to it, while “Run, Gunner Recall, Run! The Town Wants You Dead!” is peppy acoustic song that runs in the vein of a Coheed song. “The Missing McCloud Boys” is a somber acoustic song and Sanchez sounds like a young children’s choir. This happens to be my favorite acoustic song of the bunch as well. “Easter” is a gentle track that, at times, reminds me of “Wake Up.” Only after skipping through 66 annoying untitled silent tracks do we reach the album’s closer, cleverly titled “78” (since it is technically the 78th song on the album). The track is a frantic track featuring many twists and turns electronically and also carries the industrial vibe heard on previous tracks. Just like the opening track, My Brother’s Blood Machine closes on a dancey, electronic note, thus leaving you with the lasting impression of how varied Sanchez’s musicianship is.
The most glaring flaw in the album is the complete lack of flow. One would expect it due to the fact that it took around seven years to create, but it’s still one of the major weaknesses of the album. The album is also a teetor-totter of sorts. The album is at its high when the electronic and dancey songs are present. I can say that all those tracks are very enjoyable and give you a nice alternative from the usually Coheed song. The album, though, is at its lowest with the majority of its acoustic songs, which sound too much like Coheed songs and sound out of place on this record. The album regresses when one of these tracks comes on.
Overall, Claudio Sanchez’s first step as a solo artist is a success. It’s not without its flaws, but, in the end, My Brother’s Blood Machine is a very enjoyable album, more enjoyable than, say, the last Coheed & Cambria album. I hope this side project isn’t a one time thing, because I would love to see Claudio take it to the next level with his electronica tracks. If you are a fan of the Coheed & Cambria story, then you must pick this up, as it is a piece of the story. But even if you’re not a huge fan of Coheed or the story, then still give this album a chance, especially if you dig The Postal Service. So, while the overall Coheed & Cambria story can be overwhelming and longwinded, My Brother’s Blood Machine is a story worth paying attention to.
Great review, Drew! I definitely agree with almost everything you said, minus "in the end, My Brother’s Blood Machine is a very enjoyable album, more enjoyable than, say, the last Coheed & Cambria album." I personally loved that album.
But you're dead on with this review. The album is definitely hard to listen to completely through - it's kind of "all over the place". The dance tracks are great, and the acoustic tracks are OK. I'm glad I picked it up - because it's worth the money - but it's easy to tell that it was written and recorded over many years. Great read...keep up the good work!
accurate review drew. I totally agree with the score. I've been listening to some of these songs for years now because Claudio recorded them a while back and some havn't even changed the slightest bit (The Missing McCloud Boys). I hope he keeps on doing it though because it's pretty entertatining.
i love the the last coheed album, and i dont really think the two can be comparable to which is better. Its a totall different style of music. This is one of my favorite albums of the year its everything a good album needs