The Prize Fighter Inferno
My Brother's Blood Machine


3.5
great

Review

by Jeremy Price USER (33 Reviews)
November 5th, 2006 | 46 replies | 10,374 views


Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Claudio Sanchez's debut solo outing provides a nice, varied listen, thought it lacks in many of the areas that made Coheed And Cambria one of modern rock's most influential bands.

2 of 3 thought this review was well written

Claudio Sanchez has always been something of a mystery. The enigmatic mind behind Coheed And Cambria, Claudio’s distinctive vocal style and brilliant story writing has made him an icon among young rockers. Which makes the direction of his side project, The Prize Fighter Inferno, even more surprising. Half-electronic, half-folk, Claudio shatters barriers with this unique and diverse release. Unfortunately, despite the album’s clear brilliance, My Brother’s Blood Machine suffers from several keys flaws that keep it from being truly amazing.

First off, let me say to all casual listeners: this is a weird album. The mood progresses so indescribably that some times you might actually end up scratching your head about what is really happening. Of course, most fans of Coheed and Cambria will know that, similar to Claudio’s normal album’s, this is a concept album, and revolves around the town of Margretville, a place filled with so many disturbing sub-plots it could be the setting for a soap opera. Claudio so lightly describes tales of rape, murder, insanity, kidnapping, hangings, and torture, it almost makes a chill go down your spine (Who Watches The Watchmen?, a song supposedly about the torture and murder of a young girl and her brother in a machine designed to rip bodies to shreads, features catchy dance beats, electric keyboards, and hand claps).

One of the most interesting parts of Coheed and Cambria was Claudio’s distinctively high voice. His incredible range always helped improve the material they had to work with. Unfortunately, on My Brother’s Blood Machine, his singing is far more hit and miss. He is either the highlight of the song (A Death In The Family, Who Watches The Watchmen?) or just blatantly average (The Margretville Dance and Our Darling Daughter You Are, Little Cecilia Marie). He is still a strong singer, he just needs to learn to use his new singing style more effectively.

The actual musicianship of the album is of course the true highlight of My Brother’s Blood Machine. The album is divided into three main song types: acoustic folk songs, dancy electronic songs, and slower ballads. In terms of musicianship, each is choked full of memorable sections, and technically proficient riffs, hooks, beats, etc. Rarely does a song not provide solid music, and the brilliant songs more than make up for the weaker songs failures.

In terms of the electronic section of the album, most do fairly well. Who Watches The Watchmen? is probably the highlight of the electronic songs. Starting off with a classy piano intro, and ambient noise, the song progresses into catchy beats, highlighted by acoustic riffs, piano chords, and fun hand claps. This song also features one of Claudio’s strongest vocal performances on the whole album. His singing may seem strange to Coheed fans who are familiar with his voice, but the song will grow on you more and more with each listen. A Death In The Family is also a solid track, again featuring a great vocal performance from Claudio. The song is much more obviously electronic than Who Watches The Watchmen, which isn't a bad thing in any way. It's not a standout, but it's still effective

The Margretville Dance features some of the catchiest beats on the whole album. Unfortunately, this is one of Claudio’s weakest vocal performances. He opts for layered vocals, and sadly, neither layer is particularly well-done; nor do they fit the melody very well. It's a decent song that could have been so much more. The final electronic song, opening track The Going Price For Home, also features a not-so-strong vocal performance. Even worse, the song is also one of the weakest musically. While it begins to pick up near the end, it’s simply too little, too late. Certainly not the right way to open this album.

In regards to the folk songs on the album, they generally fair better than the electronic songs. The Fight Of Moses Early And Sir Arthur McCloud is one of the musical highlights of the album. The brilliant interplaying acoustic riffs are accompanied by a lovely string section and a classy solo-ish section near the end of the song. While the vocals could be slightly better, the lyrics are certainly well written, with the beautiful chorus of “Oh Mother Please, they have no need… for your boy” conjuring up some emotion that the album desperately needs more of. Run, Gunner Recall, Run! The Town Wants You Dead! is without a doubt the catchiest and most fun acoustic song on the album. With choppy acoustic chords accompanying the hand claps (why so much hand clapping on the album?), and featuring some of Claudio’s darkest and lowest vocals ever, the song is a complete toe tapper, and the closing harmonica solo just adds another layer to the song. The only mildly bad thing about the track is the flatulence-like effects over the acoustic solo mid-way through the song. Besides that, the song is definitely a highlight.

Unfortunately, Our Dearest Daughter You Are, Little Cecilia Marie is almost definitely the albums weakest song. The music is bad, and the vocals are worse. Half the time, it sounds like the vocals were recorded for an entirely different song. Not only that but the song lacks any emotion, and often is uncomfortable to listen to. This track just drags down the album, and because it appears so early, it can often spoil the experience for the rest of the CD. Plain and simple, a terrible track, made even worse because it is placed right between two of the better songs on the album.

The album’s three ballads appear back to back near the end of the CD. Wayne Andrews, The Old Bee Keeper is a quite solid track, and despite being only three minutes long, it leaves a strong impression on you. The musicianship is excellent, the vocals are good, and the song just plain works well. The Missing McCloud Brothers is far slower than any of the other songs. It's also clearly the Cd's best ballad. It’s incredibly relaxing, and provides a spacey, almost ethereal feel that will soothe any listener. While the music is far simpler than on most of the songs, the song doesn’t require brilliant musicianship. Instead, it relies on beautiful vocals, strummed chords, and echoes to make another album standout. Unfortunately, Easter is not nearly as strong as its predecessors. The whispered vocal simply don’t work for the song, and unfortunately, they kill what might otherwise have been a good song. Also, the annoying loud plucking during the chorus constantly interrupts the mood of the song. Another disappointing track.

Of course, there are two tracks that don’t really fit into either of the three categories. Fortunately, both are amazing tracks. Accidents is the longest track on the album, and starts off with some industrial style noises, before entering a interesting, (somewhat) tropical sounding verse section. The clean guitarwork also helps out the mood of the song. Another relaxing track, and another album highlight. Finally, 78 is possibly the most unique song on the album. Like Accidents, it begins with industrial noises, and then gains electronic beats and guitar lines. This is the only song on the album to feature distorted guitar lines, and they work wonderfully with the song. After two minutes, the song gains a lovely dark “chorus”, which further enhances the song. Then, before you think Claudio can’t possibly make the song any better, we are treated to a guitar solo. And an awesome one at that. It’s so unexpected, but also so welcome. Possibly the best track on the entire album.

Despite the brilliance of so many of the album’s songs, My Brother’s Blood Machine suffers from a major flaw: lack of emotion. While the ballads seem to try to bring tears, they only either relax you, or annoy you. The whispered vocals also fail in conjuring emotion, and rarely does the CD feel as deep or profound as anything Coheed and Cambria have released. The album is certainly solid, but it doesn’t leave enough of a mark on you. Coming from one modern rock’s most ambitious frontmen, it’s a disappointment that is difficult to forgive.

Overall, My Brother’s Blood Machine is a very good album, though it is far from flawless. While clearly not quite as brilliant as Coheed and Cambria, the album does succeed in shattering barriers, and providing a varied, fun, relaxing, and enjoyable listen. I wouldn’t recommend this album to everyone, but if you enjoy hearing something unique and different, then you should definitely pick this up and give it a whirl.

Recommended Tracks:
78
Run, Gunner Recall, Run! The Town Wants You Dead!
Who Watches The Watchmen?
Accidents
The Missing McCloud Brothers

Overall Album Rating: 3.5/5



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
November 5th 2006



16083 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This review meanders and repeats itself way too much. It could be half as long and be even more effective =/.
I like what I've heard from this, it sounds like SSTB than Good Apollo or IKSSE:3, which I enjoy.

tenacious T
November 5th 2006



101 Comments


I read about half of this but then stopped from boredom. Not a horrible review, just too long.

It's only a matter of time before I pick this up. If it really is more like SSTB than Coheed's other stuff, I shall be very pleased.

Acre
November 5th 2006



847 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

I understand where both of you are coming from. Granted, it probably wasn't the best idea to write this review while I had a headache. I'm gonna edit it right now; see if I can't trim off some of the fat.

EDIT: Ok, it's a tad shorter now, and I've tried to make it less repetitive, and more structured. Hopefully it's a tad better. This Message Edited On 11.05.06

CognitiveVertigo
November 5th 2006



32 Comments


i really really want to hear this album...

Acre
November 5th 2006



847 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Ya, it's a fairly good album, but if you're expecting nothing but brilliance, you might be slightly dissapointed.

Oh, and as for the album sounding like SSTB, I don't see too much of a connection, except based on lower production value. If you're talking about vocal-wise, then I can see the connection. His vocal style is quite reminescant of SSTB in many areas. Otherwise, this album is basically its own beast.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
November 5th 2006



16083 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The songwriting on a few of the songs I heard resembled stuff like Godsend Conspirator and Time Consumer. I only heard 3 songs, so I probably have no clue what I'm talking about in the grand scheme of things.

Acre
November 5th 2006



847 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Ya, while I can sorta see the connection to those two songs, not much else on this album is similar. If you're expecting Coheed Pt. 2, be prepared. This is a cross-breed of electronic music, folk rock, acoustic ballads, and alternative rock.

If you want to hear some of their more electronic songs, check out their Myspace. You can hear Who Watches The Watchmen? and The Margretville Dance, which might give you a better idea of what the other side of the CD sounds like.

Still, If you want to hear something totally different, then it's a great listen.

Intransit
November 6th 2006



2797 Comments


From the bits and pieces of stuff Ive heard from here, I dont know how you could only give Amputechture a 2.5

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
November 6th 2006



17920 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This album is pretty good.

Acre
November 6th 2006



847 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

From the bits and pieces of stuff Ive heard from here, I dont know how you could only give Amputechture a 2.5


Haha, nice one. Honestly, I just plain and simple don't enjoy Amputechture. It's one of the few CDs I find near impossible to listen to all the way through. Heck, I can't even listen to whole songs half the way through. While I appreciate TMV's talent, I just don't believe they are using it right.

But that was getting off topic. Strange how I still have to guard my opinions on the Mars Volta even months after posting them.

Tacos
November 6th 2006



125 Comments


yeah, this review is solid man. while there are songs on this cd that i love, that are so freakin' catchy they cant help but cheer me up even when im in a crap mood, some of them feel like "... when is this gonna pick up?" people should not walk into this album expecting another Welcome Home or Willing Well IV: The Final Cut, this is pretty damn expiremental. but it's still a worthy buy or download for anyone who loves coheed and cambria and wants to learn more about the story of Jesse and the events of the story of coheed and cambria.

Acre
November 6th 2006



847 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

My sentiments exactly...

Also, who filed this CD under Rock?

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
November 6th 2006



16083 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Run, Gunner Recall, Run! The Town Wants You Dead! is such an awesome song. This is a great album overall.

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
November 6th 2006



17920 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah that's the best song on here.

Acre
November 6th 2006



847 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Yes, it's certainly one of the best, although I still think 78 destroys everything else. Though Gunner Recall is certainly a very fun track.

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
November 6th 2006



17920 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Plus the title is kickass.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
November 6th 2006



16083 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

78 kind of sounds like a track off of FutureSex/LoveSounds by J-Lake to me for some odd reason. I dunno maybe I'm completely off base.
I dont really find anything to be poor on this album either. I expect it will be growing on me quite a bit.

Jack Wilson
November 7th 2006



313 Comments


i wanna check this out.

Tacos
November 7th 2006



125 Comments


"Run, Gunner Recall, Run! The Town Wants You Dead! is such an awesome song. This is a great album overall."

i hear that, there are such amazing songs on this cd. Claudio is the f**kin' BOMB. i cant wait to hear new coheed =D

slappyHours
November 7th 2006



41 Comments


Question:
Does this album have anything to do with Jesse at all? I was just wondering based on the bands name and the albums title.

I definately need to listen to this, however it dissapoints me that it's still so much different than Coheeds music, but that shouldn't stop me from enjoying the album any less. Good review, a little long though.



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