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Loincloth: Iron Balls of Steel

Loincloth. Now that's a metal name if ever there was one. Iron Balls of Steel? Need any more be said? But you can stop rolling your eyes because if you're expecting another lubed-up Manowar-style metal band dangling their saggy tackle before your eyes, you will be gladly disappointed. Loincloth is a riff-ripping band formed following the demise of death/doom act Confessor. Guitarists Tannon Penland (Koszonom) and Pen Rollings (Breadwinner, Honor Role, Butterglove) recruited drummer Steve Shelton and bassist Cary Rowells to form a band "that focused only on the things that made the members' favorite form of music inspiring and powerful, steering clear of cliché formulas, and choosing instead to carve its name out sheer force of will." With Rollings no longer part of the band, the trio's debut, Iron Balls of Steel (released in January 2012 through Southern Lord), is an all-instrumental album that is a chunky and chugging collection of bruising riffs, angular structures, and sheer weight.

Loincloth is a bunch of riff-happy bastards with no time for lead breaks, acoustic parts, pretentious intros, or meticulous sentimental melodies. Instead, their favour lies more with improvisation and a refusal to repeat any riff or rhythm without tweaking it, and – most impressively – improving it. That's not to say that the tracks are a jam where the trio are figuring out what to play. Loincloth are musically very sophisticated, very tight, and very adept at mangling the low-end into jarring riffs that are both fractured and fragments of something bigger than the sum of its parts. Tighter than Alex and his droogies' collective codpieces and just as recklessly unforgiving as their collective acts of ultra-violence, the sixteen tracks are bludgeoning. Between one- and five-minutes in duration, the tracks are heavy throughout, twisting the time signatures and tweaking the riffs on a whim, all the time refusing to be pinned down. Shelton's drum-work is astounding, never failing to play what the tracks command and not once repeating the same beat, rhythm, or fill, instead letting the lines flow from his sticks to flood over the entire kit. Penland's guitar-work and Rowells' bass-lines intertwine amid jagged, biting, sinister and angry riffs that continually grow and develop and strip music down to its very fundament. No bullshit, no frills, no superfluity, this is more powerful, hard-hitting, and progressive than bands that depend upon restrictive structures, repeated riffs, and a frontman to provide a seductively blinding spectacle to cover up formulaic writing. For Loincloth, the only formula is that there can be no formulas. They don't need 'em. The riff is all. Music is all. Iron Balls of Steel? Yep! And they're fucking massive!

Track Listing:

  1. Underwear Bomb
  2. Slow 6 Apocalypse
  3. Trepanning
  4. Hoof-hearted
  5. Sactopus
  6. Angel Bait
  7. Long Shadows
  8. The Poundry
  9. Shark Dancer
  10. Elkindrone
  11. The Moistener
  12. Theme
  13. Beyond Wolf
  14. Stealing Pictures
  15. Voden
  16. Clostfroth

Added: December 22nd 2011
Reviewer: Jason Guest
Related Link: Loincloth on Facebook
Hits: 2241
Language: english

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