"Iron Balls of Steel" is the debut full-length studio album by US technical/progressive metal act Loincloth. The album was released through Southern Lord Recordings in January 2012. Loincloth was formed as far back as 2000, and features among others members of Confessor and Breadwinner. The band released a couple of minor releases in 2003 before a longer hiatus, which was in large part due to the reformation of Confessor, which kept drummer Steve Shelton and bassist Cary Rowells busy for a number of years (and spawned the "Unraveled (2005)" album).
If you are familiar with the characteristic technical doom/thrash metal sound of Confessor, you´ll probably instantly recognise the drumming style of Steve Shelton. The man is simply a drummer extraordinaire, and his work is always a pleasure to listen to. The major difference here, among other things, is of course that the music on "Iron Balls of Steel" is fully instrumental. It´s a very rythmic technical/progressive type of metal, with only few melodic traits. As a result the tracks are a bit hard to tell apart and overall it seems that technical playing is emphasised over atmosphere and hooks. A kind of intellectual "musicians" music. There´s no doubt the music is technically very impressive and occasionally the band are able to conjure up a dark and haunting atmosphere too that provides the music with a needed extra dimension, but in the end I´m left sligthly dissatisfied with the lack of memorable moments.
If you enjoy instrumental technical/progressive metal with a mathcore edge "Iron Balls of Steel" should prove to be an interesting listen. If you crave any form of melody to soothe your ears, this is probably an album you can pass by. I´d say a 3 - 3.5 star (65%) rating is warranted.