Reign of Terror is the noise pop duo, Sleigh Bells’ sophomore effort. Released on the 21st of February, 2012 by Mom+Pop, the album spans over 36:24 minutes and consists of eleven songs. This was my first foray into music by Sleigh Bells and the noise pop genre in general.

I’m not sure if I’m a fan of noise pop… given that I liked the less “noisy” tracks best and mainly loved Sleigh Bells’ unique sound. Believed to be more guitar-centric than their previous album, I love how the chants (like in “Crush”) and Miller’s heavy guitar work accompanies Krauss’ elegant and melodious vocals. I was amazed by how well they went together to add a feverish intensity to the heavy themes the album centers on.

Song

Rating

True Shred Guitar ★★★☆☆
Born to Lose ★★★☆☆
Crush ★★★☆☆
End of the Line ★★★★☆
Leader of the Pack ★★★★☆
Comeback Kid ★★★★☆
Demons ★★☆☆☆
Road to Hell ★★★☆☆
You Lost Me ★★★☆☆
Never Say Die ★★★☆☆
D. O. A ★★★★☆

 

True Shred Guitar

 Purely consists of a whole lot of chanting, stomping and guitar work! A definite energizer that is sure to get you psyched!

Born to Lose

 The guitar and drum lines make this song! Krauss’ vocals are thin and detached, coaxing out suicidal thoughts that plague the person in question and brand him/her weak. “Just get on with it/You were born to lose,” she whispers as the pounding guitar and drum beats rain down on the song and get under your skin.

Crush

 There’s nothing like good old fashioned cheerleader stomp-chants that make you nod along to the beat of the song! The lyrics of Crush are kind of bubblegum pop which is what makes the arrangement so much fun!

End of the Line

I adored this song the minute I listened to it. End of the Line is instrumentally not as loud as the other tracks. The lyrics cut you with the reflected anguish before they build up to the chorus that closes with a blunt and heartbreaking “So goodbye”.

Leader of the Pack

 Miller’s riffs and Kraus’ vocals are in perfect sync in this stellar song that paints a picture of dreariness and lost hope. A must-listen!

Comeback Kid

 Winning and losing seems to be a regular theme in Reign of Terror. “I know you tried so hard, but you can’t even win/ You gotta try a little harder, you’re the comeback kid.” Love that the lyrics hit you hard; sing-song-y and filled with conviction with rib-breaking accompaniments!

Demons

 Demons is sure to get you pumped up! Definitely brought out the ‘thrash’ in thrash pop but wasn’t really my scene. “Demons/come on/You’ve got a vision/You’re on a mission” Krauss rasps and while I’m pretty sure you’ll love this song if you like loud and in-the-moment numbers, for me, it was the kind of song in an album that I regularly skipped.

Road to Hell

Picturesque yet unsettling, the song lays the path for a potentially warped memory lane. The words ‘Road to Hell’ are repeated over and over. This song did reach me but didn’t particularly stand out.

You Lost Me

 Gone are the purrs and coaxing tones. Krauss sounds desolate as she drifts away into hopelessness. The lyrics pull you in. It’s the kind of song that slowly gets your attention- gets in your head- with the third and fourth listen.

Never Say Die

 Featuring a spellbinding background score! “Live on or be gone/ Or wake up or break up” Kraus sings, which holds the song steady amid the feverish pace it escalates into.

D. O. A

 A song I couldn’t ignore as it maintains the feverish pace set by Never Say Die while the vocals are smoother and steadier. “Do you know how it feels/ When the rain hits the roof/ But the roof of your mouth/ It’s not wet anymore” The perfect last song that closes with the line “Remember who you are” and that hits you… it really does.

Album ★★★★★★★★☆☆

Reign of Terror features stunning arrangements and vocals. It’s heavy, powerful and the builds up to the last track, D.O.A that is sure to get you to introspect. It had me staring at the cover art… at the worn Keds, of which one was splattered with blood.

The guitar licks and loops, metal riffs as well as the percussion lines coupled with group chants and calls were nothing short of empowering. “Just get on with it”, it seems to say silkily as themes such as tainted innocence, suicidal tendencies and breaking away are boldly approached.