Sleigh Bells - Reign of Terror - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Sleigh Bells - Reign of Terror

by Miz DeShannon Rating:5 Release Date:2012-02-20

Are Sleigh Bells serious? After experiencing hair-rock phenomenons and spoof acts like Spinal Tap and The Darkness, the kind of thing that Sleigh Bells are doing is somewhat confusing. There are some pretty hardcore track names on this album - Well, the title itself, Reign of Terror, conjoures ideas of Slayer (namely Reign in Blood) and other metal acts who try and scare non-fans with their grizzly goings on. Are the Brooklyn duo expecting us to accept this as a mature sophomore album, or is this all tongue-in-cheek thinking? I've no idea.

Either way, the Observer's recent description of Reign of Terror as "baroque pop" doesn't shed any light whatsoever on the situation. Baroque pop - what on earth is that? Again, leaning towards spoof-dom-baroque-and-roll was a term coined by the dramatically over-dressed and theatrical Yngvie Malmsteem, after the likes of him and the equally flamboyant Steve Vai took classical musical structures and played them with electronic guitars, like utter maniacs. I guess there's an element of that in here, the odd guitar harmony creeps in a la Poison on tracks like 'Born to Lose' and 'Never Say Die' with some heavy double-peddling on the former too, but I don't know whether the Observer's writer had thought that deeply into the matter.

Amid breathy rants from Krauss and squeeky synth/guitar sounds from Miller, there are some catchy melodies, opening track 'Comeback Kid' is a good one, with heavy riffs on 'Crush' and cheerleader-style shouty lyrics. Miller frequently uses dirty grime beats and drum machine sounds you'd find on a Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack, its just not enough to play ball with the likes of Skream & Benga. Nearly every intro sounds like the beginning of an 80s rock anthem. If you took away the twee vocals on 'You Lost Me', it could easily be an Alice Cooper ballad. 'True Shred Guitar' being included seems a desperation tactic ("We're really a great live band, honest, look what we can do!") and just adds to the spoof-dom of the album; high-pitched screaming and swearing from Krauss like she's a real rock chick - yeah, man.

All in all Reign of Terror doesn't have a single terrifying thing about it, and I'm not too sure there's going to be much of a reign for Sleigh Bells either - this is all very 'of the moment' music. Really, it sounds like Tony Basil standing in with School of Seven Bells if they picked up some shredding tricks here and there, 80s drum machine noises thrown in for good measure.

It's hooky enough, and you do end up singing along, however tacky and irritating and spoof it might be. Sometimes Reign of Terror sounds like typical dance-metal crossover shizzle, with 'Demons' and 'Leader of the Pack' leading the way on that idea (no pun intended). Think Sonic Boom Six, a bit, who don't mime at their shows though. Sometimes it could just be a bunch of 12-year-old Skrillex fans making music on a PS1 with a talking toaster.

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