With its menacing lyrics, riff-heavy songs and Marilyn Manson-tinged vocals, Midnight Reign’s debut album, Never Look Back, is as provocative as it is entertaining. The lyrics attack established religion, à la Slayer, but don’t push the envelope to the point of being corny.

Classical strings add depth to tunes like “666 (is my Area Code).” The album’s highlight is perhaps, “XXX (Playground),” with its groovy bass line, catchy riffs and great guitar solos. It unleashes a sonic attack on listeners’ ears. Aside from the heavy material, the band also showcases its slower songs like “The Mourning After” and “The Last Song,” which add great balance to the album overall.

Grade: B+ Never Look Back is currently available.