When I first heard about this pedal, I was told that it was used all over the recent OM and Shrinebuilder albums, and it was claimed to be the heaviest sounding fuzz pedal ever. I was interested to say the least.

A grey metal enclosure with a hint of silver sparkle doesn't immediately bring to mind the crushing fuzz that was purportedly contained within, but the footswitch and knob labeled "More Heavy" gives a clue. It's an original, hand-wired design, but the sound is reminiscent of a Big Muff on steroids - round and smoothly saturated, but massively so. When you crank everything up, you get a synthy square-wave and the lowest gain gives you a slightly more detailed, thick fuzz, with the middle ground yielding a sludgy, aggressive tone sure to please any heavy guitarist. It also works really well on bass!

The six knobs and two footswitches provide us with Input, Output, and More Heavy gain; Slope, Notch and Notch Shift; a true bypass footswitch; and another footswitch to enable More Heavy. More Heavy mode adds a little more bass and a variable amount of boost (from not much, to a hell of a lot). Slope is a tone control, working much like the Tonelux Tilt control. The Notch Shift knob is a 3-position rotary switch that works in conjunction with the Notch control, cutting the selected frequency as you turn the knob counterclockwise. This helps dial out some honkiness or harshness.

Alan Pavlica of Mountainking Electronics explained that it was inspired by the blown out distorted sound of Mainliner's Mellow Out LP, and it is every inch as crazy as that album. With that said, I threw it into a session with Joby Ford producing an album for UK indie band The Enemy, and it's all over the album. Since then, I've been using it as a "thickener" track to fill out sections of pretty much every song I've recorded! The review pedal stays with me.

($295 direct; www.mountainkingelectronics.net) -AL 

Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.

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