When Reign of Terror was released to somewhat negative reviews, I didn’t know what to expect. I had been quite looking forward to its release, mainly because I hated their first album. That may not make much sense, but you must understand the type of person I am. I don’t hope for bands to fail; I try to go into albums with an open mind and, anyway, who hopes that an album sucks? After all, if an album sucks, it’s the listener that suffers, not the band.
Sleigh Bells released Treats in 2010 to almost universal acclaim. It was hard to even find a negative review of it, and that made no sense to me. Sure, it was original, but that was all it had going for it. The layers of noise mixed with pop star vocals didn’t just turn me off; it sounded bad. And, during the first two tracks on Reign of Terror, I thought I was gonna hate this one too.
The unmemorable opening tracks, “True Shred Guitar” and “Born to Lose,” are followed by “Crush.” “Crush” is a bit tuneless, but it’s also a better noise track than anything on Treats. “End of the Line” then follows, the album’s first song-like song, and a very good one at that. After it fades out, “Leader of the Pack” (not a cover of the Shangri-Las song, although that would be kinda cool) begins with an opening so good that I actually stopped the album and re-listened to a few tracks from Treats, just to make sure I hadn’t changed my opinion.
My favorite track is “Road to Hell” which, despite the title, is the album’s most peaceful moment, containing minimal noise and a pretty melody. Maybe that’s why I prefer Reign of Terror to Treats; they’re not trying to get your attention this time around, and they’re also not trying to create a masterpiece. They seem to just want to make a good record and, despite what a lot of people are saying, I’d say they certainly succeeded.