Loincloth - Iron Balls Of Steel

January 19, 2012 by Aaron Burgess

Loincloth - Iron Balls Of Steel


Purchase it at:
Amazon

Check Out:
"Underwear Bomb"

Released:
January 17, 2012 - Southern Lord

AP Rating:

It's taken 12 years, one instantly out-of-print 2003 demo, and the departure of a founding member (guitarist Pen Rollings), but Virginia/North Carolina instru-metal trio Loincloth can finally cement their legacy with a full-length debut. Album—and song ("Sactopus," anyone?) titles notwithstanding—Iron Balls Of Steel is as serious as a metal recording gets; and, at least until those new Meshuggah and Dillinger Escape Plan discs get mastered, it's also the greatest math-metal album of this still-young year.

Sure, Rollings' absence stings for those of us who still worship the dude's early-'90s work in Breadwinner (please, Google them), but his presence and style are all over these 16 songs. Guitarist Tannon Penland's discordant riffs bend, halt, dive-bomb and leap across speaker channels (the off-time death march "Angel Bait"), while bassist Cary Rowells and drummer Steve Shelton (also the rhythm section of tech-metal favorites Confessor) create impossible pockets and construct entire roadmaps out of sharp left turns. Good luck headbanging to "Slow 6 Apocalypse," for instance—you'll have loosened a few vertebrae by the time Shelton chokes his final cymbal hit to close the song.

With 11 of Iron Balls' (saying that never gets old) songs falling under the three-minute mark, there's no room for filigree or bloat, so outside of a few experiments in fade-ins and false endings ("Trepanning," "Shark Dancer," "Clostfroth"), everything revolves around rhythm, riffs and pure raging. No solos. No 10-minute epics. And, thankfully, no vocals. It's not so much that Loincloth are reinventing the steel—well-attuned ears will hear a lineage that includes Voivod, Don Caballero, Blind Idiot God, Mastodon and others—but cripes, are they finding amazing new ways to heat and bend that sucker.

Tags

southern lord records loincloth confessor breadwinner

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