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Heavy Metal distortion

Heavy Metal distortion stompbox, made in Russia. I've got it new somewhere in 1991 (1992 maybe). Back then it was a present from my mom for my birthday and I'm sure it was the cheapest pedal in the shop.

The historical background:
In the beginning of the 90's in Russia there were small companies called "cooperatives" that were some sort of "ltd"'s. Right after the USSR collapsed and all the Soviet industry was half-dead the government allowed small buisnesses and everybody rushed into that. None of these buisnesses had any sort of base, everything started from zero and produced lowest quality goods, but the market was empty and hungry so it worked a couple of years (untill the mid- 90's). This pedal was probably made by some "cooperative".

The pedal came in a plain white paper box without any logo/identification. It came with a small manual, also without any brand name. The manual said something general like "this pedal recreates a classic sound of distortion and features heavy compression blah blah blah". I remember the part about compression because I haven't heard that word before.

The sound of it was the worst distortion I've heard EVER, something like a very bad silicone fuzzface, with (indeed) a very heavy compression - no dynamics at all. Just plain farting.

Details:
I'm not sure if that's clear from the pictures, but the pedal looks weird: despite the obvious "factory" design some parts are handmade. I think I should call it "boutique". The enclosure is cast plastic, the graphics look professional, knobs and jacks are pretty ordinary plastic parts. The PCB inside the box is also made at the factory, not at home. The circuit looks complicated, just like all Soviet effects.
I'm sure they had no stompbox switches at that time so the footswitch is something improvised: there's a hole in the enclosure with a rather small knob under that hole. The hole is covered with a piece of rubber. When you step on that rubber plate you also press on the knob under it. It's not 100% working, the contact area is small and sometimes you need to step on it a couple of times untill you hit the button.
The battery cavity is even funkier: the door of the cavity is cut out of a sheet of some metal and held in place by two screws. Inside there's a small flat piece of PCB with a layer of copper that is divided in two areas. You need to put the battery inside the cavity and put the plate so that it touches the battery's contacts. The plate shows file marks and looks like some school project. There's no 9V adapter socket.

The thing is worthless as a music-shaping device but pretty funny as a collector's item. There were hunderds of "cooperatives" between 1990-1995, and they all disappeared. Maybe 1% transformed into something more serious. I have a pack of guitar picks from that era, they're made of the softest plastic in the world and you can finish one pick per song. There were also guitar-making cooperatives and so on. Unfortunately, after a couple of cooperatives started importing stuff from China, Korea and Indonesia, all the Russian guitar-, effect- and pick- making wonders went home. Stuff like LEL is pretty good compared to the "cooperative" production - LEL existed since the 80's and they've had serious base, so they survived and still make those crappy little boxes.


Credits:
Bart from filters.muziq.be,
Cheesyguitars.com


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