Saturday, June 13, 2009

Metal Zone: Espresso, home

Pictured L-R: Espresso, Brat, Metal Zone
This all started when I was a budding 15 year old guitarist. Like everyone else who played guitar in high school, I really wanted to stand out from the pack, and the only way to stand out just like everyone else was with a Metal Zone pedal. They provided hilarious amounts of distortion and a three band EQ that included a sweepable midrange frequency: perfect for that signature 90s metal scooped overdrive sound. Read: anything on Metallica's black album. James Hetfield almost certainly never used one (he could afford all sorts of Marshalls and Mesas-Boogie that a teenager can't) but it achieved a similar effect. Your palm-muted power chords would be satisfyingly, and more affordably, chunkier and scoopier. To illustrate what I mean by "scoop", find a stereo with a graphic equalizer. Turn the leftmost and rightmost sliders up as high as they will go, the one in the middle all the way off, and the others somewhere in between. Does it give you vertigo? That's what happens when you cross the threshold and enter the Metal Zone™. But unfortunately they were still $220. I compromised, and bought a ProCo Brat (which is more Freak-by-silverchair standard) for the much more reasonable $99. I was pleasantly surprised with the results: if you dig around on the interweb you'll find the review I posted a few days later purchase (I haven't posted another review since - this partially proves my theory that all online music gear reviews are written by 15 year-olds). I was pretty happy with my choice of cheapness over scoopiness. Fast forward to last Wednesday night at Cherry when Yuri was telling me about how mixing was going on the new album:
"It's great. Between 6pm Thursday and 2pm Monday I slept for six hours. We put the snare drum through a Metal Zone. Who needs compression when you have extreme distortion?"
And then it hit me. Like a bongflash on the beach in the middle of the night:
"That's it. I'm buying a Metal Zone. I wanted one when I was a teenager, and I never had one."
At the Swop Shop this afternoon it was a choice between the much hallowed Metal Zone, the Heavy Metal HM-2 (the MZ's predecessor from the times before the mid-range scoop ruled the airwaves), the Xtortion (which is worth it just for the name), or the rare beast known as the Digital Metalizer (complete with chorus AND doubling delay: for when you want to sound like two out-of-tune guitarists from the 80s). But it had to be the Metal Zone. It seemed prophetic that they had one for $99. Should I have left the Brat on the shelf at Troy House of Music on Chapel St and waited twelve years for what I really wanted? I'll never know, because I soon noticed they had another one for SEVENTY-SIX DOLLARS.
This is great. I feel like Lester Burnham.

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