Albums, Videos

Sleigh Bells | Reign Of Terror

2 Comments 21 | February | 2012

In 2010, Brooklyn-based duo Sleigh Bells unleashed their debut LP Treats.  While they missed a brilliant opportunity for cross-promotion with any number of ear plug manufacturers, the resulting fanfare was as loud as their music.  Fortunately for my ear drums, they waited 20 months before returning to market with their latest product.  Reign of Terror, the much-anticipated second LP (and third offering overall) was released today, just a week after Valentine’s Day.  It’s a perfect album for couples…..if you’re idea of a romantic date night is a trip to the firing range followed by a viewing of Heathers.

Opting to stick to the recipe that first won them widespread hype and then deserved critical acclaim, Alexis Krauss’ sugary lyrics flow over jagged guitar riffs like a river of molten chocolate lava; a veritable volcano of thrash pop.  Her sweet siren calls camouflage insidious choruses like that of “Road to Hell,” which offers not-so-subtle “route guidance” for an ex-boyfriend.

Throughout the album, her femme fatale delivery cuts through sonic warfare that sounds like live recordings taken from the beaches of Normandy on D-day.  The juxtaposition elicits an improbable dream sequence where a  catholic school girl sucking on a cherry Blow Pop strolls blithely through the streets of Damascus during a firefight.  Or a more devious version of the same character answering to police questioning, “How could I have possibly removed all the fire extinguishers, locked the doors to the gym, and then set the building on fire during the Homecoming pep rally?  Little ol’ me??”

Barely breaching a half-hour of run time, you might expect Reign of Terror to be short on reign and/or terror, but you would be mistaken on both counts.  The relentless machine gun percussionTM and deafening guitars permeate the entirety of those 36 minutes with few exceptions.  Any respite is marked by extreme brevity and then it’s back to a full-fledged auditory assault.  But don’t look to Krauss or her partner in crime, Derek Miller, for an apology.  Theirs is a “no-holds-barred, if you don’t like it, get the fuck out of the ring” style that will pin you down and drill holes in your skull.  And you will beg for more.

If the ringing in your ears has finally subsided from repeated exposure to Treats, you’re in luck because the remainder of February’s forecast calls for 100% chance of Reign.  But before you venture out into the elements, make sure your accessories include a pair of ear plugs, or else you might not survive the flood.



BAND INFO: Band Website | MySpace | Wikipedia

BUY THE ALBUM: iTunes | Amazon


As a part of my review for the Black Keys album El Camino I promised to rhyme with “pterodactyl,” so here goes:

Derek Miller’s guitar shreds like a screaming pterodactyl
Senses on overdrive ’til aural impulse becomes tactile.” – Robert Frost

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