Album: My Brother’s Blood Machine by The Prize Fighter Inferno
Released: October 31st, 2006
The Prize Fighter Inferno is the acoustic/electronica solo project of Claudio Sanchez, lead singer and rhythm guitarist of Coheed & Cambria. Recorded entirely by Sanchez over a period of seven years, the project’s first and only full-length release, My Brother’s Blood Machine, was unleashed on Halloween of 2006. It has since been followed up by an EP featuring Sanchez’s wife as a vocalist released in 2012 and received its first vinyl pressing in 2017 in the wake of the Good Apollo, I’m Burning Star IV, Volume I: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness Neverender tour. The project currently remains on hiatus.
The Story and the Songs:
A heavily electronic track, “The Going Price for Home” sets the tone for the album by creating a bouncy rhythm with Sanchez’s harmonized and layered vocals soaring atop. Much of the album makes use of similar rhythms and sound effects, making the track a sort of introduction to the tone of the album. Jumping to the opposite end of the production spectrum, “The Fight of Moses Early & Sir Arthur McCloud” is based on acoustic guitar lines that sway to and fro with accompanying strings that fade in as the song progresses along its short run-time. “Our Darling Daughter You Are, Little Cecilia Marie” refers to one of the main characters who is molested by her father and seeks to run away with her little brothers to keep them from harm, featuring more acoustic guitar and vocal harmonies. The difficult subject matter is discussed in lyrics atop moving guitar riffs and Sanchez whispering to increase a sense of unease. “A Death in the Family” brings the electronic beeps and boops back into play with childlike singing and rhyme to juxtapose the grim title.
“The Margaretville Dance” is a springy, dance song featuring more synthesizer loops and layers of vocals that will have its chorus stuck in your head for hours afterward. “Accidents” uses an industrial soundscape to evoke the machinery of the Blood Machine that gives its name to the albums title. A fairly straightforward and repetitive track, it is easy to hear the pounding pistons and swirling gears of the machine as they are overlaid with clean guitar tones and a soulful solo near the end. “Run, Gunner Recall, Run! The Town Wants You Dead!” jolts the listener with its acoustic urgency, creating the sonic equivalent of being chased by angry villagers with pitchforks. The track features a sassy guitar solo and soulful harmonica part overlaying a dab of electronic squelching. “Who Watches the Watchmen?” is written atop a keyboard part with more synths layered atop and a midi-drumkit. This song fulfills the tone of the album’s acoustic/electronic pairing in its combination of the two elements.
A somber ballad, “Wayne Andrews, The Old Bee Keeper” brings the acoustic instrumentation back to the forefront and features slide guitar for a more rustic feel as the character laments his impending doom. “The Missing McCloud Boys” is an entreaty from the eponymous boys’ mother to find her children sung through a haunting falsetto atop a clean-toned, finger-picked guitar. “Easter” is a softer counterpart to the previous track in its use of falsetto vocals and subject matter pertaining to children. “78”, the final track on the album, references the 78 planets in the Coheed & Cambria saga and combines all of the elements from the album into one final song.
A strange album both musically and lyrically, My Brother’s Blood Machine covers some very disturbing material in its story despite the aural appeal of the tunes themselves. The story is a bit difficult to piece together: a pair of inbred brothers try to take the soul out of a person and devise a machine to do that by completely eviscerating a human being; they first do this to their mother and move into the village where chaos ensues. As stated above, this is a side-project for Sanchez and allows him an outlet for songs that wouldn’t necessarily fit into the Coheed & Cambria discography. Easily one of the most underappreciated albums of its time, My Brother’s Blood Machine makes for a unique listening experience (assuming one enjoys listening to Sanchez sing).
Please enjoy some song recommendations, a song from the album, and check out the band’s social media accounts below!
Song recommendations: “The Going Price for Home” , “Run, Gunnar Recall, Run! The Town Wants You Dead!” , “Who Watches the Watchmen?” ,“78”