RED REIGN – Don’t Look Back

RED REIGN - Don't Look Back cover art
  • 7.5/10
    RED REIGN - Don't Look Back - 7.5/10


Label: Deko Entertainment
Release date: October 27, 2023

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

Formed in Richmond, Virginia; Red Reign are a promising Hard Rock band that combines modern and old-school influences into their sound. They’ve previously shared the stage with acts such as Dokken, Extreme, Jackyl, Lita Ford, and Tesla. Already they have a self-titled EP from 2021, but now, their first full-length studio album, Don’t Look Back, will be added to their belt.

Say Hello to the Present and Future

Don’t Look Back has a modern sounding production, giving the songs a fresh feel to them. The title track, in particular, is a solid rocker with a powerful message, which is to let go of the past and focus on the now. It’s heavy, melodic, and upbeat. Plus, guitarist George Lynch guest stars on the track. “Here I Am” has a killer guitar riff and a great chorus.

“‘Here I Am’ is a powerful song, as it talks about mental health issues and a hopeful solution. This is a song about people who are down and out, suffer from depression, PTSD, suicidal thoughts, and mental health, in general. The message in this song is to let people know that they are not alone and that there is ALWAYS hope and a friend there to help,” the band said on their website.

“Darkness of Pain” is a moody, mid-tempo headbanger with pounding drums and a piercing guitar riff. “Yesterday” has a similar message to the title track; focus on the present, rather than look back on yesterday. The only difference is, the protagonist is moving on from a lover that did them wrong. “Changes” is the grooviest song on the album. The chorus is repetitive, but man, the thumping bass line makes up for the bad. The best song on Don’t Look Back, however, is the closing track, “Open Spaces.” It’s mellow, soothing, and has an exotic feel; think desert island vibes.

Final Assessment

Not going to lie, the lead vocals aren’t amazing, but singer/guitarist Carlton “Bubba” McMichael has the attitude and charm to make it work, for the most part. The songwriting is above average, since they cover topics like mental health and finding oneself. Overall, there’s enough to enjoy about Don’t Look Back. Once listeners get past the Boston album with the same title, they’ll dig the music of Red Reign easily.

Album Tracklist

  1. No Peace No Love
  2. Don’t Look Back
  3. Here I Am
  4. Follow Your Heart
  5. The Truth
  6. Bury Me Up To My Eyes
  7. Darkness of Pain
  8. Yesterday
  9. Changes
  10. Open Spaces

Band Lineup

Carlton “Bubba” McMichael – lead vocals and guitars
Stevie Shred – guitars
Larry Moore – bass guitar
Sammy Lee – drums


  • Lana Teramae

    Lana is a reviewer at Metal Express Radio from Honolulu, Hawaii. She's always had a passion for music, but she didn't get into Hard Rock and Heavy Metal music until she discovered Rick Allen's story in the summer of 2019. She was inspired by his determination to play drums for Def Leppard again after losing his left arm in a car accident. From there, her tastes expanded to other bands such as AC/DC, Bon Jovi, Metallica, Judas Priest, Saxon, Cinderella, and Overkill. Aside from listening to music, she loves watching YouTube and writing on her personal blog.

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