Review Summary: Think of this EP as more of a single, with "Gears" its A-side and "Schultz" as the inferior B-side.
What a strange record this EP, composed by Coheed and Cambria frontman Claudio Sanchez, aka the Prize Fighter Inferno, turned out to be. Hell, what a strange record its predecessor, the full-length My Brother's Blood Machine
was. A concept album following two mutated children and their obsession with a contraption capable of harvesting human souls, after all, can hardly be considered run-of-the-mill. Yet even for fans acclimatized to Coheed and Cambria's standard twisted sci-fi/horror concepts, the oddball electro-acoustic pop rock of Blood Machine
seemed particularly out-of-left-field.
At the end of the day, however, Blood Machine
was still a respectable album. Sure, it sounded like Claudio Sanchez had hijacked Postal Service, or even, *shudder* Owl City, yet the tunes remained strong throughout, the singing was standard Sanchez falsetto wailing, and the record even contained two true standout tracks: The acoustic/synth hybrid "Who Watches the Watchmen?," and the industrial rocker "78."
And with the Prize Fighter Inferno's first EP, the two-track Beaver Records
, Sanchez attempts to rekindle the same fire that sparked Blood Machine's
two zeniths. Does he succeed? If the first track, "Gears", is any indication, absolutely. With its driving drum machines and ambient mechanical grinding in the background (hence the title), it even manages to improve upon "78's" industrial-rock design. The chorus soars, some simple piano melodies enter the mix, we get some poppy background vocals in the style of Coheed and Cambria's "Blood Red Summer," and all in all, "Gears" proves itself an excellent song.
And then "Erizo Schultz," the second of the EP's two songs, rolls around. A pleasant if repetitive melody ushers the listener in, and soon the vocals enter. Though not actually sung by Sanchez (rather, his wife Chondra fills in) the vocals still get the job done. Yet therein lies the problem with "Schultz"; Nothing, not the vocals, not the hooks, not the synths, nothing really stands outs. Though the four minutes pass inoffensively enough, the track simply lacks the sheer catchiness of the aforementioned "Who Watches the Watchmen?" and outright neglects the nifty, semi-experimental style of "Gears." "Schultz" fails to forge its own identity and as a result ultimately ends up blending in with some of Blood Machine's
lesser moments (*cough, "Easter" *cough).
But is the Beaver Records EP
still worthy of the name Prize Fighter Inferno? Certainly. "Gears" can hold its own alongside past Prize Fighter staples, and even manages to surpass some of Blood Machine's
best moments. "Erizo Schultz," on the other hand, lacks any real bite, hook, or anything to make the listener sit up and listen. Though not quite bad, it simply fails to leave any impression. The Beaver Records EP
really stands as more of a single, with "Gears" its stunning A-side and "Schultz" the comparatively inferior B-side.