Album Review: “Reign of Terror”

Music Critic and Music Critic

Grade: B-

After experiencing practically overnight success in 2010, the Brooklyn-based duo, Sleigh Bells has returned for their sophomore effort, “Reign of Terror.”

“Reign of Terror” has a lot less of the fierce, in-your-face sound that was featured on their debut, but features more personal and darker songs. This gives vocalist Alexis Krauss a chance to display her singing abilities more, as opposed to her almost cheerleader-type chants that were prominent on “Treats.”

Guitarist and producer, Derek Miller’s guitar playing is also much improved on the band’s second effort. Miller uses muti-layered guitars on tracks like “End of the Line” and “Road to Hell.”

But with these improvements, there still seems to be something missing on Sleigh Bell’s sophomore effort.

The raw energy on “Treats” would be hard to match, but “Reign of Terror” doesn’t really come close outside of tracks like “Demons” and “Crush.” This leads to more fleshed-out songs, on which Krauss’ vocals give a very moody atmosphere.

The biggest disappointment with Sleigh Bells’ new musical direction is the lack of hip hop-inspired drum beats. Many of the tracks on “Reign of Terror” don’t hit nearly as hard as they did on their previous record.

Those who dwell on what “Reign of Terror” is missing will miss out on what it does have. Sleigh Bells has developed more as a band on their second effort, and definitely has improved and more focused songwriting.

While some of Sleigh Bells’ freshness has worn off, they are still one of the most unique sounding and exciting new bands in music today.