Price paid: $ 84
Sound — 3
Well, it's definitely metal. You need to use it on a CLEAN setting with your amp or it will just sound like mud. Once you do that, you can get a pretty good Metallica sound rather easily. I say pretty good because it definitely sounds a bit unnatural, but it's not bad. The problem though is the need to run the amp clean with it. With my 100 watt Marshall and the master volume on the amp at 10, I can't get enough volume to compete with my drummer unless I start to bring the gain up a bit. But if I take the gain past about 3, I start to get distortion from the amp and it's not a good mix with the pedal. So the pedal really only works if you're planning to play at home by yourself in your bedroom. Unfortunately, that means I'm boxing it up to return it right now and have to give it a low rating here.
Overall Impression — 5
I play a lot of different types of music. I definitely have a thing for 80s hair metal, but this is NOT the pedal for that. I do cover a few Metallica songs though and I wanted a way to quickly Switch between a full metal setting and a clean setting (e.g., for the changeover in Master of Puppets at the 3:32 point in the song). My amp is a single channel deal, so changing between metal and clean usually takes stomping on a few pedals and turning a few knobs. This potentially could have fixed that for me, but in the end it doesn't play nicely enough with the amp's natural distortion, so it forced me to keep the volume too low to play with a live drummer. As a result, it's heading home. I should note that I did like the noise gate function. I have an ISP Decimator G String and love it. But the ISP unit's main selling point - that it's pretty transparent in operation - makes it not quite "noise gate-y" enough for metal. So the gate on this pedal was a nice feature.
Reliability & Durability — 6
One of the knobs on mine came apart on the first day. There's an inner sleeve on the knob that separated from the outer sleeve. It only took a drop of super glue to get it back together, but that's not the best sign of durability. Other than that, I can't really say as I've only had it a couple days and am now sending it back.
Ease of Use — 9
There are a lot of knobs, but it's actually pretty easy to use and straightforward. There's a Switch for the mid scoop and one for the noise gate. The lower three knobs are an EQ (bass, mid, treble) and the top three are volume, gain, and the frequency center of the mid adjustment. Even on the lowest gain setting, it's still too heavy for some types of metal. Also, the mid scoop Switch might be a bit too extreme. I preferred just backing off with the mid control knob and leaving the mid scoop Switch off.