There might not be a voice more hauntingly beautiful than Sleigh Bell’s front woman Alexis Krauss, which is evident in their most recent release, Reign of Terror.
The dance-rock band, whose first full-length album Treats captured the minds and ears of listeners in 2010, released Reign of Terror this February. The album continues to showcase the band’s melancholy synths and danceable riffs, giving them another solid addition to their growing discography.
While Treats was an effective foray into the genre, Reign of Terror seems more personal and ultimately delivers a similar, but expanded, listening experience. Although Treats may have helped the band’s popularity, Reign of Terror feels more like the album they always wanted you to hear.
Gone are the hard rock songs like “Infinity Guitars,” “A/B Machines” and “Kids” from Treats. Instead, they are replaced with more melodic and haunting songs, offering listeners a calmer, more cerebral take on the band.
Reign of Terror certainly launches the band in a different direction. Songs such as “Road to Hell” and “Never Say Die” seem like Krauss is pushing the listener into a cynical and Orwellian world, complete with soft-spoken lyrics and guitar work, rising above insanity only when necessary.
Other songs such as “Comeback Kid” and “Crush” offer more of a throwback to their first album. There are more electronic beats and fast-paced lyrics that fans of Sleigh Bells have grown accustomed to, while still sticking to the overall sound of the new album.
While Reign of Terror might not be as outright danceable as Treats, it shows how Sleigh Bells has progressed as a band. Your speakers won’t blow as reverberations from the loud stomping sounds threaten to blow them out like Treats; Reign of Terror instead offers songs that have heart and soul.
Particularly the album’s last song “D.O.A.” cements the theme. With a heavy-steady drum beat backing Krauss’ high pitched and soothing voice she hand holds the listener as she moves them through the song. While short, “D.O.A.” serves as a subdued — but effective — ending to the album, with powerful lyrics and a sound which seems to capture the entire album in one song.
Overall, Reign of Terror won’t throw you into a dance frenzy of drug-fueled insanity that Treats did, but the toned-down and macabre sound will offer fans a varied listening experience that will add depth to Sleigh Bell’s future live performances.