There's a darkness at the heart of the Young, lurking, gnawing at the surface. With third LP Chrome Cactus, the Austin quartet succumbs to it completely. Paired with 2012 Matador debut Dub Egg, the difference is akin to Neil Young's Harvest and Tonight's the Night, the latter a masterpiece of grief and desperation that recoils from the damage done on the former. Chrome Cactus similarly teeters on the brink, rife with existential dread and a newfound heaviness that rolls like Blue Cheer. The shift is apparent on opener "Metal Flake." "I'm feeling older now, I'm wasted 'cause it's routine," concedes guitarist/vocalist Hans Zimmerman, his voice a raspy whisper of confession. "Each day when I'm trying so hard to wash it off." There's no silver lining, either. "Chrome Jamb" cues night terrors, "Dressed in Black" marches stoically to a funeral, and sludge-metal crawl "Slow Death" lives up to its billing. Yet for all of the doom and despair, Chrome Cactus triumphs with energy and verve. Apocalypse now: Zimmerman and guitarist Kyle Edwards ripping start to finish.
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