Introduced at NAMM last January, the FatMetal Pro brings an assortment of new functions to the previous FatMetal pedal, while the PressuRizer compressor is designed to deliver the smooth sustain that guitarists seek, without taking the punch and volume out of the sound. These pedals were tested with a Telecaster, a Strat, and a Les Paul, along with a reissue Fender Deluxe Reverb and a Victoria Ivy League 1x12 combo.
Building on the already über-equipped Fat-Metal, the new Pro version ($319 street) carries three effects loops, a dual-boost function, and a handy 3-band EQ that greatly facilitates tone shaping, and still gives the original Fat-Metal tone curve when the knobs are set at noon. Featuring rugged steel construction, this super high-gain pedal has a Thrash switch to tweak the midrange for more of scooped sound, and a Smooth switch to temper the highs. Its Boost system adds dedicated Gain and Volume knobs, a Mid Boost switch, and an internal Fat switch. The Tight control is one-stop shopping for chunking low end, and the respective ranges of the active EQ make it easy to get exactly the midrange and top-end response you need. Couple it all with the gain stage’s potential for massive sustain—with excellent touch-responsiveness I might add—and the Fat Metal Pro is well equipped for any flavor of rock or metal. It runs on 9v-18v power (two 9v batteries can be installed in the slide-out drawer if you’re not using external power), and can also function as a preamp for driving a power amp or running into your amp’s effects return. With internally adjustable gating, lighted knobs (when using an adapter), and all the connectivity options afforded by the Universal, Boost, and SideTrak loops, it’s clear that Amptweaker left no stone unturned in the quest to deliver the ultimate performance in a metal-oriented distortion pedal. —Art Thompson
KUDOS A distortion powerhouse. Excellent EQ. Multiple loops provide myriad options for outboard effects.
There are two kinds of guitarists in the world: those who are afraid that compressor pedals will squash their level in a band mix, and liars. Well, James Brown has a cool new pedal that aims to convert some of the former crowd with its thoughtful and guitar-friendly features.
The PressuRizer ($209 street) greets you with a sweet gold finish and some steampunk-inspired graphics, with a pedal chassis that retains Amptweaker’s slick roll cage but with a significantly smaller footprint than many of the company’s pedals. I tested the PressuRizer with my trusty Strat into a Victoria 1x12 combo. I dialed the amp clean and set the four knobs (Volume, Tone, Sustain, and Wet/Dry Blend) at high noon and clicked it on. I kind of didn’t dig it. It’s not that it sounded bad, it’s just that I felt like I got less—my main fear with compressors—less headroom, less attack, and less ability to cut. But then I turned up the Volume and the Sustain and things started to get interesting. I suddenly had more. I engaged the Bloom switch, which governs the compression that is applied to your signal after your initial pick attack. This is a subtle but very musical addition. On a slapped harmonic, setting this to Slow (so the compression waits a bit before coming in) absolutely brought my attack back to the party. No squashing, but sweet sustain. There is also a Boost function that can be accessed by pressing and holding the PressuRizer’s ingenious multi-function switch. Doing so locks the compressor on, and then you can access a boosted compressed signal by tapping it again. This is how I would use the pedal: Leave it on all the time and switch between loud and compressed and louder and compressed.
The PressuRizer is quiet and easy to figure out. It’s not hyped or exaggerated like a lot of its competition. Don’t trip if you have to crank some of the controls most or all of the way up. There are great sounds in there, and it might just make a compressor believer out of you. —Matt Blackett
KUDOS A compressor that enhances sustain without squashing volume or pick attack. Handy boost function for the compressor.