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'If The Devil Cast His Net'
(PHR Records)
Release Date: Friday 29th April 2016

Liz Medhurst

liz medhurst

pearl handled revolver

Ah, Pearl Handled Revolver's third album is here at last – and it was worth the wait.

Following on from 2012's 'Colossus' and 2013's 'This Mountain Waits', 'If The Devil Cast His Net' gives us eight tracks from a band completely at home in their niche.

The sound has evolved, the band now a four piece since bass player Oli Carter left the line-up. There's also a string section for the first time, however the album is imbued with their signature psychedelic heaviness that I can't get enough of.

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This is an album that on first contact bypasses the brain and goes straight to the hips - lovely. It's not all paisley-swirled technicolour dancing though, there's way more to it than that. There are intricate lyrics to explore, and that heavy driven sound, nice and dirty just the way we like it, has layer upon layer of riff and melody, yet remains tight and mercifully short on meandering.

The first thing to strike is how Pearl Handled Revolver are masters of groove. With the organ and keyboards centre stage, Simon Rinaldo also covers bass duties through the keyboards, allowing for a much more dynamic range. This provides the central point for those sweet dirty grooves, swimming in Hammonds, Mellotrons and vintage loveliness.

Having the keys as main instrument takes nothing away from the guitars and allows them to shine, Andy Paris delivering astonishing blistering motifs, playing call and response with the keys on many occasions in a conversation which is as wild as it is harmonious.

And what of the drums? Chris Thatcher keeps the beat going solidly but with no shortage of complexity, eliciting occasional grins and "what the hell was that?!" comments – in a good way.

pearl handled revolver

Vocalist Lee Vernon doesn't hold back on the grit and in your face edge, but there are moments of contrast too; 'Walk These Streets' having a rich tenderness and the coda of the title track delivering delicious tones. Catch Lee out of the corner of your eye at just the right angle and you'd swear that you are looking at Alan Hull on stage, and he has proved that he also shares the talent for a profound lyrical turn.

There's an air of danger at times, especially as things nearly tip over the edge in 'Absinthe In Adelaide' – I had no idea that Tavistock Street in Bedford was such a subversive place. But as wild and abandoned as things get, the pulse of this album is always anchored solidly, quite breath-taking when you realise that these songs were tracked live.

It's really good to see the whole package has also kept up the high visual standards of the previous two, with the dramatic artwork by Chris Thatcher, and the CD itself is designed to look like a vinyl record with great attention to detail. It also contains an excerpt from The Truth Contest about the devil as the cosmic criminal, giving another fascinating aspect to the archetype.

'If The Devil Cast His Net' is an intense and pleasurable experience. Like all the best psychedelia it expands and enriches the mind. Carl Jung once said "You are a slave of what you need in your soul." I need albums like this in mine.

Help Me Down From The Trees
Don't Throw It Away
Someone Like You
If The Devil Cast His Net
Walk These Sreets
Absinthe In Adelaide
Into The Blue

The video for the title track has just been released and is currently premiering exclusively on Vive Le Rock:

pearl handled revolver





Wacken Winter Nights 2018 takes place between February 23rd and 25th 2018 and the great news is that you can now experience a full-on, top class German Metal Festival easily and affordably.

It only takes an hour to fly to Hamburg from London and we've had longer journeys than that within the capital and they were certainly more expensive than the £33 air ticket that just appeared in our 'flights to Wacken Winter Nights' search.


Wacken Winter Nights is organised by the same team who are responsible for the world's greatest Metal festival, Wacken-Open-Air and the 2018 bill includes Skyclad, Orphaned Land, Elvenking, Finntroll, Grave Digger, Aeverium, Comes Vagantes, Coppelius, Corvus Corax, Die Pressgëng, Elvellon, Heimataerde, Hell-O-Matic, Ignis Fatuu, Ingrimm, Irdorath, Johnny Deathshadow, Krayenzeit, Letzte Instanz, Mr Hurley und die Pulveraffen, Pampatut, Pat Razket, Schandmaul, Sündenrausch, The Aberlour's, The Moon And The Nightspirit, Torfrock, Visions Of Atlantis, Vroudenspil, Wind Rose and more.

Besides this rich billing of superb Metal bands, there is so much more to see in the festival area including the medieval market and also the walking acts and jugglers you will meet at the theme worlds, including Robert Blake, three-time World Cup winner of street magic.

Wacken Winter Nights is something not to be missed and you can check out the amazing ticket and accommodation prices right here.

We just priced up the whole four day trip with hotels, flights, shuttles and festival tickets for less than £300 and we don't think you will get a better value festival than that, anywhere.


MetalTalk recently sat down with Wacken founder and owner Thomas Jensen and that interview will be online next week and it's a fascinating insight into how Wacken originated from nothing to become the world's premiere Heavy Metal event.


Wacken 2018 takes place from 2nd to 4th August 20218 and as with Wacken Winter Nights, if you have never experienced all it has to offer, then you owe it to yourself to remedy that.

Already announced for Wacken 2018 are Judas Priest, Nightwish, Running Wild (exclusive), Arch Enemy, Dirkschneider, Doro (Special Anniversary Show), In Extremo, Sepultura, Amorphis, Amaranthe, Firewind, W.A.R., Belphegor, Mantar, Knorkator, Deserted Fear, Watain, Night Demon, Epica, Knorkator, Belphegor, Firewind, Deserted Fear and many more and we'll have more Wacken 2018 announcements during December.

As well as being the greatest Heavy Metal festival in the world, it is without a doubt the Mecca of Metal and the one thing that every single person who loves our music should have on their bucket list.

For 2018, MetalTalk have joined forces with Wacken-Open-Air to help you get to Wacken easily and inexpensively and you can peruse the ticket and travel options right here.

If you are interested in going to Wacken 2018 and have questions, please fill out the form below and we will contact you with answers to all your enquiries. You are under no obligation whatsoever by filling this form out. We won't add you to any mailing lists or send you loads of spam - all we will do is help you get to Wacken as easily and inexpensively as possible.



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