There are a lot of effects pedals out there that claim to be able take your modestly average tone and inject it with so much company branded goodness that you’ll swear your old Tele is a brand new guitar! Other’s will even go as far as to guarantee that it their product will give you your favorite player’s signature tone with simply a stomp of a switch. Well, what if you already like the natural tone of your own guitar – not to mention the sound of your favorite amp? Well, you are not alone. In the seemingly endless array of effects pedals that appear to be able to do almost anything, there are still plenty out there that follow that old ‘less is more’ mentality. While that may not sound like a good idea to some, there are players out there who have painstakingly found their own perfect tonal combination of guitar and amplifier and what better way to compliment that refined sound than a pedal that works with your tone and not just simply above it. If this sounds a bit like you and are looking for a bit more attack to that sound, you will find plenty to like in the Way Huge Angry Troll Linear Booster. For those of you unfamiliar with the Way Huge brand of guitar pedals, these uniquely designed pieces of equipment started off in 1992 as a boutique level items meaning that they were not produced at nearly the same scale as those by bigger brands such as Electro Harmonix or MXR. Furthermore, by 1999, the company had closed down production, making their pedals even rarer, which is how several began being regularly sold at hundreds above cost. Flash forward to the future and Way Huge pedals are back and now under Dunlop, giving players who did not have the opportunity to pick one up back in the ‘90s the chance to experience some of the most unique pedals around, and at a way better price than you would find at auction. The Angry Troll is essentially a booster pedal that works with your own amp and guitar to give you a maximum of +50 decibels of gain – which if you aren’t familiar with the numbers means a whole lot of gain! Working more like an extension of your amp than an all-out effects pedal, the Angry Troll is a perfect complement for those looking to beef up their already refined tone. So, for those of you interested in what the Angry Troll is all about, read on and check out a pedal as unique as its name suggests.
For those of you unfamiliar with booster pedals, they are used to pump up the effects and settings already present on amplifiers, most notably Volume and Gain. Not only that, they tend to create an overall tighter sound with a bit more treble thanks to their propensity to cut out the low end of the raw signal while boosting the high mid-ranged frequencies. First popularized during the mid ‘60s as a way to overdrive amplifiers – most notably British tube amplifiers such as the Marshall Bluesbreaker or the Vox AC30 – they became obsolete by the ‘80s thanks to the better gain control of amplifiers and the use of overdrive pedals (which create a similar, albeit distinguishable, effect when used). But now their back, thanks to their unique sound and tone clarity.
As far as controls go, you pretty much can’t go any simpler than this as far as booster pedals are concerned; you have two knobs for control, Volume and Anger – that’s it. But really, that’s all you’re going to need in order to get this Angry Troll screaming. The Volume knob will do exactly what it says, giving you more output for a louder sound – a lot louder, in fact, +50 decibels of added gain to be precise. For a brief explanation of how decibels work, when you go from 50db to 100db, it doesn’t mean that the sound is simply doubled. A normal conversation is about 50db while 100db will sound more like a full on rock concert (but probably not a metal concert, which at front row clocks in at about 115-130db). To be more precise, the sound doubles its apparent loudness every 10db, meaning 60db is twice as loud as 50db, making the +50db that the Angry Troll comes with capable of technically amplifying thirty-two times as loud! I told you it was loud. And while I never did crank my 100 watt amp and the Angry Troll at full blast (for fear of busting the thing), suffice it to say that there is enough boost in there to make even the most ardent metal head happy. But the pedal isn’t about simply upping the volume, not at all. This is where the next control comes in.
The other control on the Angry Troll is the appropriately named Anger knob which is pretty much Way Huge speak for Gain. It’s actually the most endearing part of the pedal, as each increasing segment on the control dial is represented by little fists each getting slightly larger until the control is maxed out. 5 Fists of Fury is what they’re calling it, and there is plenty of fury in them. Each of the 6 different Anger settings (including all the way off at 0) will yield a surprisingly unique sound – nothing drastically different but enough so that plenty of sounds can be created. Having it at either the first or second fist gives you a slight overdriven sound with a warm bite. Cranking it a bit further to the 3rd or 4th fist will give you that high gain British tube amp kind of attack. Hitting it all the way to 5 will definitely make your amp rumble. Also, setting it to zero will allow you to use the pedal as a clean boost in case all you simply need is a bit more output.
All in all, for a pedal that only has two controls, it’s amazing how many awesome tones are achievable through the Angry Troll, and that’s not even overselling it. This is definitely one that you have to hear for yourself. The simplicity if the design ensures that you always feel in control. The fact that this pedal works as an extension of your own amp makes this pedal feel more like an upgrade for your amp than a standalone pedal, but that's not necessarily a bad thing at all. Simply play around with the settings on your amp – clean or overdriven – and add the final touches through the Angry Troll and you’ll see why this pedal has been getting plenty of players excited. And best of all, your tone is still there in all its glory, so your Telecaster will still sound like a Telecaster and your Les Paul still sounds like a Les – which is why people buy expensive guitars – so why get a pedal that gets in the way of that signature tone? Pretty much, for about $120 and coupled with the great amount of capable tones, the Way Huge Angry Troll is most definitely worthy of any player’s consideration.