Readers of this blog will know that I’m a big fan of high gain / metal distortion, and have a fair few pedals in that category - in fact I have 4 permanent slots in my pedal-chain which are dedicated to high gain (#24-#27). The two medium-sized slots (#25,#26) have pretty much been permanently occupied by the Empress Heavy and MI Effects Megalith Delta for the longest time now (even though I have great rotation alternatives here too) - while there is quite a lot of rotation on my 2 other compact-size slots.
One of the slots ’#24’ has been mainly occupied by the REVV G3, while it gets suitable rotation with the Abasi Pathos, AMT R2 PreAmp, Anarchy Audio Deadwoods, Keeley-Modded Boss Metal Zone, Decibelics Angry Swede Mini, DOD Boneshaker, Friedman BE-OD, Keeley Filaments, Lone Wolf Audio F.O.A.D., Weehbo Bastard, Wampler Dracarys and XIX Tech HMD-1. I have a few more Boss alternatives to add here into the rotation, but the REVV G3 tends to get most of the action on this slot currently.
On the upper slot '#27' (intended to be the most full-on of my Metal flavours) I used to have mostly the Diezel VH4-2 and the Wampler Triple Wreck active here, but since then the rotation has mostly been between the REVV G4 and the Aleks K Red Scorpion. I guess this is sort of my 'red' pedal slot now, and this is where I feel the Red Mist will lay down some fairly permanent roots.
If you're familiar with Mikey Demus's guitar+amp tone - which is such a big part of Skindred's sound - you will immediately recognise that signature crisp driving, very slightly fuzz-edged crunchy/punchy distortion. Obviously taking best advantage of his Signature Orange Rockerverb MKIII 100W Amp tone - the Red Mist produces a beautifully balanced and finely tempered distortion. There are too many distortions out there - amps and pedals which have slightly spikey, blistering or distended frequency profiles - sometimes intentionally, while what you get here is a much more solid gain structure - which means very careful calibration and balancing of the tone-stack and gain stages. This is what the Red Mist immediately and instantly brings to mind if you set it to Mikey's specs.
Mikey always sets his amp's 3-band EQ to all at 2 o'clock, gain on 3 o'c - and that is significantly what the pedal is tuned towards. This has been a 5-year project in the making, and the MKIV denotes that this is the 4th major iteration of this circuit. Also present in the sound lab/workshop at the time were several other modern high gain amps including the Diezel D-Moll 100W and the MESA/Boogie Mark V 90W. So while the pedal's core profile is developed to closely match the signature Skindred Rockerverb sound, it also takes influence from and stands up well against a number of other key modern metal style amps.
Mikey's preferred settings on the Red Mist pedal exactly match those of his signature amp - with the 3-band EQ all set to 2 o'clock, and gain at 3 o'c. For me I prefer to have the EQ's slightly more cranked at circa 2:30 o'clock, while the gain works well for me at 3 too, although I do also like all 3's on the EQ and gain at 4 o'c. And you can further 'juice' the pedal by boosting it with a ThorpyFX Peacekeeper which sounds as if this pair were made for each other - great sounds all-round in any case.
What is exceptional about this pedal is the usable range on the dials - obviously these have been calibrated very finely, The REVV ranges seem to have a little more extension in them - which means you can get some slightly uglier and more discordant sounds, while the Red Mist always sounds tight and in control. It has a real sort of 'Oomph' to it with such a solid heft and punch, while the REVV G3 tends to be rather more spikey in the mid-range. I've played the Red Mist for a few hours now and it's really shaping up to be my favourite high gain tone - everything about it is just so satisfying - and there's no doubt that it fully evokes Mikey's instantly recognisable core sound which is certainly a flavour many of us love.
As mentioned, this pedal has evolved over a period of several years and is the result of a very close collaboration with Adrian Thorpe of ThorpyFX. While Mikey is the driving force behind the pedal and his new company Redbeard Effects and very much the shot-caller here. Adrian is the principal partner and engineer, and is also responsible for the design of the cool new custom enclosure. These pedals are built by hand in Thorpy's Farthinghoe, Northamptonshire workshop and have that same degree of quality and attention to detail as his world-renowned award-winning ThorpyFX pedals.
I'm obviously a huge Thorpy fan too and admire the dedication, attention to detail and overall quality of Thorpy's involvement here which has much to do with the success of this pedal. For a first release - the packaging, included extras etc. are just exemplary. This deserves to be heralded in exactly the same manner as REVV's pedals when they first entered the scene. It's all too easy to become partisan about these things, but each of my own Metal pedals has very different characteristics and each has their own flavour - and in the same way the Red Mist is distinct from all the others mentioned here.
The OpAmp based circuit is entirely original here and all-analog in construction as well as entirely original in that regard - it does not build on top of any other known circuit. Obviously it has been tuned to match Mikey's preferences which are understandably informed by his main massive touring sound for all these years - but all the underpinnings are pretty much unique here and this pedal stands independent of those that have come before it. I'm not saying it will necessarily be to everyone's taste and some will prefer the alternatives - but generally if you like the Skindred sound and tones of that ilk then you should find this pedal very satisfying indeed.
At its heart this is a 3-Gain-Stage OpAmp circuit with very visible dual red LED clipping diodes forming one of those 3 Stages. There is currently an internal trimpot used in the pedal's original setup for appropriately attenuating the gain between the last stage and output - this is really only intended for final QA by Thorpy and will be replaced with a fixed resistor in subsequent batches.
I can't say that I'm the biggest Skindred fan ever - but I have more than a passing knowledge of their output, and I really like a number of their songs and decided that I should include my own favourite five here for tone-reference purposes! These are after all the core tones that inspired and informed the development of this pedal to a large degree. These are ordered by Year of Release :
The first batch of 100 Red Mist MKIV's ships by the end of the month for £185 + Shipping