High-quality rock n’ roll and qualified mainstream metal have been largely missing from the general pop culture spectrum for a few years now, and people are starting to get restless. The zealous beats, the explosive riffs, and even the stadium-shaking vocals have been driven back to the underground from which they first came springing up well over half a century ago, but in the fight to keep rock music alive and well in 2022, the movement knows no greater friend than the Australian scene.
Acts like Brisbane’s own Young Lions are proving that the land down under isn’t just about AC/DC and Wolfmother anymore (which isn’t to say those two acts aren’t as classic as they come); Australia has a force to be reckoned with as far as its music scene goes. In this group’s new single “Kaleidoscope,” they champion the rock genre’s iconic signature sound rather perfectly. Mixing elements of classic metal, power metal, alternative metal, hard rock, alternative rock, and even a touch of pop, Young Lions prove they mean business with their formation and that of the scene they celebrate in this release, which was enough to get me excited about their upcoming output even beyond this single and what it has to offer this fall.
The first part of getting anywhere in a storied genre like rock is to set yourself apart from the competition, and by centering their attack on a mix quite literally spilling over with distorted melodic charm, this band shows us they’re offering what few others can in 2022 – beefy musical might. They aren’t contained within the parameters of a minimalist aesthetic, nor trying to align themselves with some post-hipster ‘retro’ concept either.
This is a crew that just wants to rock out, and they’re more than willing to exploit the benefits of a gluttonous groove or some over-the-top riff to get exactly what they set out for. “Kaleidoscope” features a truly deceptive title in the sense that this group clearly has the mainstream mundanities of status quo rock bands in their crosshairs, and from the looks of their tenacity in this performance, they aren’t taking their time in going after the villains in this tale. The music video speaks to their dedication just as much as the material itself does, which has not been true of many bands I’ve been watching lately at all.
You don’t need huge solos or bravado-driven harmonies when you’re making physicality the star of the show, and this is where Young Lions really strike me as players ahead of the curve. They’re incorporating notions of grandeur into their sound the way a far more punk-influenced act would while sticking with a post-2000s alternative rock-style melodicism that feels like it was polished up specifically with radio play in mind, and if that doesn’t impress you from a creative standpoint, I don’t know what would. You’d be hard-pressed to find another group quite like this one right now, not only because of the unique talent they’re presenting this track with, but because the competition isn’t willing nor able to simultaneously get as melodic and menacing as they are. All in all, this is definitely a band you need to be keeping your eyes on.