http://assets-s3.rollingstone.com/assets/images/album_review/592cd22cfc020e053c265ac37cd09b5b079f79b8.jpg Reign of Terror

Sleigh Bells

Reign of Terror

Mom & Pop
Rolling Stone: star rating
Community: star rating
5 4 0
February 21, 2012

Can an industrial-strength guitar-noise duo blow up into the most pelican-fly rock band around? Of course it can, if it's Sleigh Bells. Guitarist Derek Miller and vocalist Alexis Krauss are the kind of music geeks who had their formative-crush experiences soundtracked to My Bloody Valentine and Slayer records. Sleigh Bells scored with their 2010 debut, Treats, but Reign of Terror is even noisier, funnier and smuttier. They bring a proudly aggressive sass to all the heavily treated guitars – now that they've proven they can get away with such a massive sound, they're out to see what tricks they can do with it.

Reign of Terror flattens you with its cartoonishly over-modulated, into-the-red guitar sound. It even opens with a parody of a stadium rock show, with Miller shredding as Krauss commands, "Enemies, on your knees!" The songs are heavy-breathing sex chants with a heart of darkness. "Demons" is an hommage to the early-1970s attack of Black Sabbath, and "Leader of the Pack" is guitar gauze in the style of Nineties psychedelia like Pale Saints. And the brilliant "You Lost Me" is a goof on Eighties power-ballad dreck, tweaking Def Leppard's Hysteria and ZZ Top's Afterburner the way Bon Iver tweaked Peter Cetera and Bruce Hornsby. Sleigh Bells sound like noise romantics at heart – even when they salute "teenage metalheads," the kids are "holding hands through your favorite bands." And the playfully lecherous lyrics to "Crush" are no joke, even though "crush" also describes what Miller tries to do to your eardrums. Best of all is "Road to Hell," which has a cheery melody, even though Krauss is chanting, "Don’t run away from me, baby/Just go away from me, baby." Now that's a breakup song to cherish.

Listen to Sleigh Bells' "Comeback Kid":

Video: Sleigh Bells Reveal Details of 'Reign of Terror'

Album Review Main Next


Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...


Sort by:
    Read More
    Around the Web
    Powered By ZergNet
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.


    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Hungry Like the Wolf”

    Duran Duran | 1982

    This indulgent New Romantic group generated their first U.S. hit with the help of what was at the time new technology. "Simon [Le Bon] and I, I think, had been out the night before and had this terrible hangover," said keyboardist Nick Rhodes. "For some reason we were feeling guilty about it and decided to go and do some work." Rhodes started playing with his Jupiter-8 synth, and then "Simon had an idea for a lyric, and by lunchtime when everyone else turned up, we pretty much had the song." The Simmons drumbeat was equally important to the sound of "Hungry Like the Wolf," as Duran Duran drummer Roger Taylor stated it "kind of defined the drum sound for the Eighties."

    More Song Stories entries »