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Picture a sasquatch strolling up to you on a busy street, and you’ll get a sense of the surprise inherent in this, an honest-to-god Loincloth LP. For nearly a decade, the band — a burly, ultra-technical instrumental-metal outfit with members split between Raleigh, N.C. and Richmond, Va. — lurked in the shadows like some cryptozoological beast glimpsed only in a handful of tantalizing photographs. Prior to Iron Balls of Steel, Loincloth’s complete discography totaled four songs, lasting a few seconds shy of 12 minutes.
By recording a full-length, offering listeners a clear 360-degree view of their previously shadowy creation, Loincloth have put their valuable, longstanding mystique on the line. Iron Balls could’ve easily revealed that the project worked best as a one-off lark, thriving on the strict limitations of the EP format. But it turns out that this monster looks many times more intriguing up close; without taking any easy shortcuts, Penland, Rowells, and Shelton reveal here that their beast harbors genuine beauty. The disc ought to have the proud, few Loincloth faithful weeping with joy, but more importantly, it leaves room for a broader audience to hear what the fuss was all about. — Pitchfork
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