A cult classic and one of the most important distortion pedals in the history of metal, the Boss HM-2 Heavy Metal is to be reissued as part of the Japanese effects titan’s deluxe Waza Craft series.
The HM-2 has long been out of commission but it has never been out of style. Take a look at the picture above – that configuration, all knobs jacked to the max, might not have been in the original users manual but that is how the HM-2 helped create the sound of Swedish death metal on seminal albums such as Entombed’s Left Hand Path.
There is scarcely a more important pedal in underground metal. Bands such as Nails and Rotten Sound have taken that Stockholm savagery and applied it in different contexts, proving that a production line distortion, used in the most unorthodox fashion, can yield spectacular results.
Its rerelease was confirmed by Boss president Yoshi Ikegami on a Talk With Boss Facebook livestream. He was shooting down rumours that the company’s recently teased and soon to be unveiled Waza Craft release was an HM-2.
Alas, not. But the HM-2 is slated for release next year, with an HM-2W Facebook group set up to for players to offer their suggestions. So far, some 1,300 users have joined.
As to the teased pedal? Well, given that the Waza Craft series sees Boss redesign the circuit of the pedals, typically adding a secondary function, but otherwise hews close to the originals cosmetically (the only difference being the classic silver screw, Waza Craft logo on the footswitch), we’d guess it might be a fuzz in the vein of the FZ-2 Hyper Fuzz.
With another Talk With Boss event scheduled for 2 December, we might not have to wait long for a reveal. But then Boss has said that this will unlike anything we have seen before, so who can tell?
As to the HM-2, it’s a strange fish. You don’t get that much play out of the Distortion control. All the magic is in that Color Mix EQ controls, which offer 20dB of boost and cut.
Although David Gilmour had one in his pedalboard for a while in the mid-80s, the HM-2 never went mainstream. Perhaps if he had covered Entombed’s Revel In Flesh in later years, he would truly have consecrated his HM-2 experience. An opportunity missed.
When the HM-2 was retired in 1991, its mantle was assumed by the MT-2 Metal Zone. That, too, had a similar configuration, with two EQ controls to set the character of its gain. It went on to become a best-seller, used by the likes of Biffy Clyro’s Simon Neil.
A Waza Craft MT-2W version was released, with a second more djent-friendly chug mode, but when it comes to the fuzzed-out, necro chainsaw tone, nothing compares to the HM-2. Pedal manufacturers have been chasing that level of morbid filth ever since. Earlier today, KMA Machines revealed a limited edition tribute, the WURHM HM-2.
What would you like to see in this HM-2W Heavy Metal? Well, don’t tell us, head on over to the HM-2 Facebook group and tell the Boss.