Death by Audio has introduced a wicked new pedal, the Evil Filter, which combines an enormously full fuzz and a resonant filter. Imagine a possessed wah-wah pedal crossed with a resonant filter which has mated with the fuzziest of fuzz pedals and you’ll have some idea of the way the Evil Filter sounds.
At first, I must admit, the fuzz left me a little confused. The Evil Fuzz offers a Fuzz Output control but nothing else. And, my goodness, is this pedal ever fuzzy. Heartier souls might delight in the Evil Fuzz’s full output, but this tender reporter needed to clean things up just a bit. After hesitating, I made the not-so-obvious move of turning down my guitar’s volume. Presto! I had tamed the fuzz . . . somewhat. The Evil Fuzz pumped out more than enough distortion for my needs at the low input level. Lower input volumes produced a darker fuzz, but with greater Fuzz Output I compensated for the volume drop.
The pedal’s two fuzz modes—square wave and sine wave—offered surprisingly different textures. Not only did the square wave mode typically produce a louder fuzz overall, it produced fuzz that seemed to take on a life of its own. By letting notes ring out, the fuzz modulated, grew more intense, then fizzed out as the signal died. This “bloom” is sometimes highly sought out, and I understand why. The Evil Fuzz is great at this bloom. The sine wave mode produces a thinner-sounding fuzz up front, but as the notes ring out, the low-end becomes more prominent. Generally, however, the sine mode seems to pump out more high end than the square wave mode.
The Filter side of the pedal offers a larger number of controls than does the fuzz side, featuring three filter modes: high-pass, low-pass, and a band-pass filter for wah-wah-like frequency attenuation. In addition, the pedal offers a Filter Resonance control for adjusting the “ring.” Counterintuitively, the High ring mode actually delivers a subdued ring effect, whereas the Norm Res mode produces a more defined, acute ring effect.
Given that the bulk of the tones which a guitar produces and which we hear tend to fall below 2000Hz, I found the Filter settings below this level to be the most interesting. Musicians using other instruments with a wider sonic palette might have more luck in the higher frequencies.
The Evil Filter really shines when an external expression pedal is connected. Long, slow sweeps allowed different aspects of the pedal’s tonal complexity to ring through. In the clean mode, I liked to sweep the pedal with a filter setting anywhere between 90 and 300Hz in the Band Pass and Low Pass modes. The pedal produced a familiar “wah-wah” sound, particularly when the Filter Resonance was set to 25 or higher. I noticed what seemed to be vocal formants—was the Evil Filter trying to tell me something? Was it saying a prayer to the Dark Lords of filtered fuzz? I must assume that it was.
But what does the combination sound like? I don’t know what to say. The pedal is a wildcard. At times, given the quirks of the system, the fuzz percolated up through the filter in piquant bursts. Sometimes, I felt that the filter only partially tracked my chords, lending the overall sound an off-kilter quality. I generated feedback, produced strange sub-warbles within the filter. Ring modulation-like effects, messy who-knows-what-it-sounds-like-but-I-like-it effects and others rang out.
The Evil Fuzz will appeal to extreme noisemakers, lovers of filtered fuzz, wah-wah enthusiasts, and other sonic deviants. The pedal will probably take some time to figure out, but I’m confident any user will have some wild times in store.
What We Like: Fun resonance filtration with ultra-thick fuzz; expression pedal control for maximum fun.
Concerns: The Filter Frequency knob was not so useful above 1200Hz or so, but I suspect my guitar’s output limited the knob’s functionality.