Sleigh Bells, Reign of Terror
Reign of Terror opens the very way that I like all my music to begin: with the roar of the crowd. Yes, the first song is seemingly pumping up the crowd, then turning into a short song about a guitar riff (“Super Shred Guitar”) that is quite pleasing to guitar enthusiasts such as me. For most of my life, I’ve been considerably taller than everyone else (I hit 6’4″ at age 17 and never looked back), but the song “Super Shred Guitar” taught me what it feels like to have someone slightly taller than you come up to you and randomly punch you in the throat. Yes, that was the exact feeling that the song left me with, albeit in a very good way.
After that first initial rush, the songs begin to become something that is all together yet the same for me. There isn’t really a good way to describe the sound that Sleigh Bells make. You could call them “distorted rock” or some sort of complex rock, but it’s really something that can’t be best summed up in a mere genre label.
Confession: I wish I was a better cook. I’m lucky I can boil water, but realistically, making delicious food is always something that I wished I could do (and believe I could with the right amount of time) but simply do not have the time to pursue. Maybe in my much older years I will do so, as a way of relaxing, but who knows. I only mention this because I feel at times that music isn’t that far off from cooking, in terms of putting all the ingredients into a pot and either having something uniquely delicious come out or something awful and vomit-inducing.
With Sleigh Bells, their music seems to be the result of putting in too many ingredients, yet it somehow works. When I listen to their songs, what I’m actually hearing is several songs sort of playing on top of one another. On one side of the coin, you get these soft female vocals that are very light and pretty. These work well enough on their own and would probably make a decent record just based on that. But then you add these crazy, psychedelic distorted-guitar chords to the mix, plus random drum machine beats. (Side note: Okay, I don’t know if they have an actual drummer or not, but the speed of the drums sounds like a drum machine, so if it’s a human, my hat is off to him. [Inside Side Note: I'm wearing hats now.])
In addition to that, you also have these female vocals coming in that seem to be screaming. It’s nothing like a screamo band, like From Autumn to Ashes or whoever, because it’s not screaming like that kind of screaming; it just seems to work when it all flows together. I think of the lighter harmonies being the beauty amidst the chaos, and it just all works somehow, despite not actually sounding like what you would consider to be a hardcore band.
I honestly cannot remember the first time that I ate sushi, but I absolutely love it now. The way the flavors mix to form this one sensation in your mouth just seems so perfect. I rarely pay attention to what is in sushi, though, because I don’t like seafood and even the idea of eating imitation crab kind of grosses me out; that’s why I play ignorant to what exactly I’m eating. If you asked me to put cream cheese in sushi, I’d probably say that sounds nasty, but yet somehow the Philadelphia roll works.
See, it doesn’t matter to me as much as what’s inside making all of this happen, it’s just that the (in my opinion) unlikely elements combine to form such a good flavor I never thought possible before. That’s what the music of Sleigh Bells is like to me — like eating sushi for the first time. You may not exactly all of what’s going on, and you may not even want to know, but damn, if it isn’t pleasing to the ears. And now I also want some sushi.