I’ve clocked a few strange comments on the various pedal discussion groups where certain individuals are claiming that the new HM-2W sounds a little sterile and lifeless compared to the original - which I absolutely dispute! Boss have improved the pedal’s Noise Floor by -6 decibels - which means very slightly less hiss and fizz. Some obviously feel that the original’s lesser signal-to-noise ratio somehow contributes massively towards the texture and liveliness of the Heavy Metal - where actually that Twin Peak Distortion sounds every bit as visceral as the original - just with more volume now and a wee bit less white noise. It sounds still magnificent to me - and the every knob dimed setting is still the way to go with the Standard classic mode.
There are a few weird demos out there where players deliberately tone down the excesses of the pedal’s frequency profile - and try to render it as a more conventional overdrive - which is just a little silly really as far as I’m concerned. There are some players - including David Gilmour - who have used this pedal type with mellower settings - while the most mileage is definitely to be had at the pedal’s glorious extremes. There’s something just really satisfying about letting loose with the pedal in its legendary Swedish Death Metal settings. There are plenty of other overdrives and fuzzes that can do the mellower thing - this is a pedal made for excess!
The Custom Mode then beefs things up even further - where my preferred settings still have the Level and Distortion maxed, while the Lows are knocked back to 3 o’c, and the Highs at 2 o’c. That renders a proper throbbing ’Doom Thunder’ style pounding bass-heavy tone. In the Custom Mode there is even more range on those key controls - so it’s easy to temper the Peaks and Lows - to get maximum percussive articulation without flubbing the bass.
The HM-2 has always been a full-on rock out with your *bleep* out type of effect - literally balls to the walls - and that is obviously how it’s best enjoyed. If you can’t stand the maximum heat - then this is not really the pedal for you!
I’m fascinated to see how many players pick it up just because of its legendary status, but then realise that it’s not exactly their kind of thing. I’ve personally long been a fan of the genre - and have numerous different examples of this type.
I feel that the new Waza Craft version totally fulfils its promise. I initially advocated for an MT-2 style Parametric Mids Tone Stack - but actually really appreciate how Boss have maintained the pedal’s legacy. I feel this is as good as we could have expected and it still delivers for me on every level.
As is often my way - I typically tend to prefer the Waza Craft Custom Modes - and that is the case again here - while I still derive mastive amounts of enjoyment from the core and original Death Metal settings.
This is one pedal that if you’re into the genre you cannot really fail to be impressed. Another exemplary revival by Boss - credit all-round!
How about you dear readers - do we have some ’proper Metal Heads’ amongst you - and how are you enjoying the new HM-2W?