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Saturday, June 1, 2019

Review: Mercuriall Audio Metal Area (with free Vst download and video sample)



Hello everyone and welcome to this week's article!
Today we are reviewing a FREE new Vst plugin from Mercuriall Audio: Metal Area!

Metal Area is a faithful recreation of the famous/infamous Boss Metal Zone.
The Metal Zone was a distortion pedal extremely popular in the '90s, when I was doing the high school and learning to play the guitar: all the kids that could afford it (except apparently myself) would buy this rather expensive pedal imagining to obtain the sound of a high gain metal amp, and they would get regularly disappointed, since the default settings would make it sound like a box of mosquitoes and it was quite difficult to dial in.

Since so many kids bought it (it sold one million copies!) and hated it for decades, today this pedal is notorious to sound bad, but as usual the truth is a bit more complex than that: the eq section was convoluted and counter intuitive, with the control of the highs and lows on the same pot (the external ring of the pot would control the lows and the internal part the highs) and also with a mids knob divided in two parts: the interal part that would control the mids and the exteral ring would control the exact position of the mids bell.

To this complex interface we need to add other 2 aspects: this pedal packed too much distortion, with the gain control above the half it would become almost unplayable, and the knobs were too logarithmic, meaning that the increase when moving them wasn't linear, it was like for example the high end would shift from too low to too high in the range of a millimeter.

Once we have clarified that the interface has been undoubtly a failure, let's check out what actually is unique about this pedal, once you get to understand how to use it: it features an active +/-15db eq section, and it's probably one of the only if not the only distortion pedal that lets you decide where to cut or boost the mids, anywhere from 200h to 5k hertz, and this feature gives the player actually a HUGE freedom of tone shaping;
if you have a clear idea of the tone you're after and how to achieve it, this is one of the most versatile distortion you can find, and it has been used by many famous bands such as Biffy Clyro, Disturbed, Korn, Converge, Nine Inch Nails, and (allegedly) Cannibal Corpse.

The Mercuriall Metal Area is a very faithful recreation of the original pedal but with all the controls laid out in separate knobs, and if also the original would have been like this, maybe it would have been understood much better.
By setting the distortion a bit lower and raising the level a bit, and by playing with the mids knobs it's possible to obtain quite credible tones, and it can be used as a preamp without any problem (in the video I have only used this plugin and the free NadIR cabinet simulator, nothing else), so I really encourage all of you to go to the Mercuriall Audio website and download this free plugin, it's a lot of fun to play and who knows, maybe also you will change your mind about this misunderstood stompbox!

Thumbs up!


Specs taken from the website:


- Level

- Dist 

- 4 band Eq Section 

- Input Gain 

- Mono/Stereo 

- Quality switch 

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