Reign Of Terror

Studio Album by released in 2012

Reign Of Terror review

Sleigh Bells stay strong on their way to success

A story of a waiter and elementary school teacher who decided to start a musical project seems nothing more than a plot for another romantic movie. However, this is actually how the Sleigh Bells duo was formed to feature singer Alexis Krauss and musician Derek Miller. Their debut work, Treats, was a big surprise to the audience that seems to be too sophisticated to be surprised. A continuation to the story came along pretty soon, yet with more realism to it. Derek Miller first lost his father in a traffic accident, and shortly after his mother passed away. And we have nothing but to wonder where he found strength to recover and come back to music that quickly. As a matter of fact, these tragic events expectedly took their toll on Sleigh Bells music. Their sophomore effort, called Reign Of Terror, proved even louder, more emotional and complex. It is no secret that second studio works are particularly hard to make for those who got to flash bright with the first record, but Sleigh Bells seem to have escaped that destiny.

Unexpected ingredients for making perfect pop hits

Even the title Reigh Of Terror might disorient a clueless listener. One like that looks more suitable for hard rock releases, but the trick is that on this CD we come to spot some of this genre’s features. Sure, Miller did not apply the whole drum kit, but instead he did put more heaviness on guitars. We are made aware of the fact right off with the opening track True Shred Guitar. Later on, on Crush, and Demons, Miller delivers a streak of classic hard rock riffs that are famous for rocking the sky above thousands of metal heads. What is most interesting is that Krauss, just like on the previous album, prefers to sing in her own separate surrounding, as if not adjusting to the music background. To check this out try Leader Of The Pack with a pop-format synthesized motif, dragging guitars and… Alexis’ angelic voice. Once you add to this one another two tracks, Born To Loose, and Comeback Kid, you will have a trio of highlights that have something in common. As heavy, chaotic and loud as they are, these songs are true pop hits that turn you on right from the start. And when you notice you are singing along to them, with a least idea of the actual lyrics, you get to understand there must be some kind of magic.

Sleigh Bells set the bar even higher

Reign Of Terror, although similar to the previous record Treats at first sight, does have a number of big differences which show how Sleigh Bells members have matured. Miller, who underwent the loss of both parents in a very short period of time, displays more consideration of lyrics which disclose a lot of references to the memory of the loved ones. For Krauss the time span between the two releases also included a very important event, her engagement, and now her vocals appear more diverse and emotionally richer. At the same time, the musicians seem to have a better command of the energy that is produced by their songs. On Reign Of Terror it is measured out in doses, whereas on Treats it used to burst out in all directions uncontrollably. Miller prefers a calm before a storm and resorts to cinematographic instruments as he stores away the tastiest stuff without rushing to give the listener the whole picture at once. And we feel how the mood of the album shifts from explosive and aggressive to more restrained. This is how the duo manages to conclude the record beautifully with two songs which are less noisy but as passionate, Never Say Die, and I Lost You. Full of thought out details, living and surprising, Reign Of Terror is an album that confirms the top class of Sleigh Bells who have set the bar even higher.