The Kill Chain is a pedal designed to accomplish a specific set of goals. First, I wanted a fuzz full of aggression, and raunchy raucousness. Second, I wanted a simple feature set that was easy to understand and dial in—nothing to obsess over or fiddle with. Plug it in and rip. And third, I wanted a pedal that felt worth more than the price of admission, both in dollar value, and versatility of the feature set.
I decided to forego the traditional EQ tools. No tone knob, no active tone stacks, no adjustable high pass filters. I chose a fixed filter towards the end that gave me what I felt was perfect for how I play, while still feeling natural across multiple pickup, amp, and music styles. I implemented the Depth toggle to give me control at the front of how much bass entered the circuit. This toggle provides a wide range of heft, and helps you make easy adjustments between different guitars and pickups. The Level control also adjusts treble frequencies as you adjust the volume. I found when I was playing at lower fuzz volumes I liked more treble, but as I turned up the volume they could get out of control. As you increase the level control treble is attenuated, which keeps everything balanced. The final EQ tool to the party was the Bleed toggle. This toggle does a few things. First, it adjusts the cutoff frequency down for less prominent treble across the Level sweep. It reduces the overall compression for a more open and aggressive sound. Finally, it gives a massive volume boost.
The last thing was making sure that Kill Chain was rig apathetic. I wanted to account for every combination of pedal order, pickup style, and instrument. The input is buffered before passing through a passive transformer based pickup simulator, and then finally a carefully chosen filter before entering the fuzz circuit. This allows Kill Chain to be placed after buffers, after reverbs and modulation, and after active pickups or preamps built into your guitar or bass.
The combination of aggressive fuzz, simple EQ shaping, and purposeful design has resulted in a pedal that can work just as well at the beginning and end of your chain on your guitar and bass pedalboards. Kill Chain may be just one knob and two toggles, but can satisfy the pickiest knob-twiddlers, and feels right at home whether on a studio spaceship pedalboard or skate deck on the floor of a VFA hall.
Level: Controls overall output level while also attenuating treble frequencies as you increase volume. This keeps high end balanced across the spectrum.
Bleed: This toggle adjusts the attenuated frequencies of the output treble bleed, while also boosting volume. To the left, more compression, tighter, more high end. To the right, more open more mid-focused, much louder.
Depth: This toggle controls the overall heft of the fuzz by selecting how much low end is allowed to enter the circuit. The middle is the least amount of bass, resulting in a tight and aggressive fuzz-tortion. The left position adds more low end to sit it firmly in the fuzz category, this is what I consider the "standard" mode. To the right is huge eyeball rattling low end fuzz.
The rattling sound of jagged bonds and a spectral chain manifest before you - the space, once empty, is engulfed by coils winding, shaking, flailing so violently that existence as you understood it is overtaken in an instant and replaced.
A single moment of clarity pierces the madness of distortion; nothing has been removed, and everything has become another agonizing link.
There is nothing that cannot belong to it.
Furiously symbiotic, the Kill Chain is terrifying on its own.
… but wait until you are part of it.