Frost Giant Architect of Reality Review
Looking for doom in all the wrong places? This meticulous recreation of the preamp from a rare ’80s amp is explosively effective.
Destructive amounts of volume, gain, and low end. Wall-of-amps doom in a box.
Somewhat confusing control labels and layout. EQ boosts can be subtle. You’ll probably want a noise gate.
Frost Giant Architect of Reality
If doom metal and its variants are big blips on your radar, you’ve probably noticed there’s a dearth of all-in-one stompboxes capable of unleashing genre-worthy filth and mayhem. A Big Muff (or any number of other fuzzes) and a distortion or two will take you a long way, but for dedicated doomers the aural onslaught usually isn’t just about cascading gain—it’s watts and decibels wreaking havoc on speaker cones. Which is why powerful heads (often 120- or 200-watt bass or PA models) from the likes of Sunn, Ampeg, Peavey, Orange, Hiwatt, Sound City, and Marshall largely rule the realm.
Another highly acclaimed amp for the task is Laney’s Advanced Overdrive Response series from the early ’80s, particularly the 50- and 100-watt Pro-Tube Lead heads, which had a handwired architecture much like a Marshall JMP circuit, only with an extra gain stage and a slightly darker sound. Influential doom/stoner/sludge bands who embraced AORs include Sleep, High on Fire, the Sword, and Electric Wizard. Of course, Laney’s doom cred goes much further back than that: Their most famous endorsee, Tony Iommi, is the veritable well from whence doom’s many tributaries spring—particularly his early Sabbath work, which was powered by Laney LA100 BL heads.
Frost Giant Architect Of Reality Review by premierguitar
- 0:00-0:16: Neck pickup with Architect bypassed.
- 0:16-0:39: Architect activated (red side only) with presence and bass at 3 o’clock, mids at 9 o’clock, treble at noon, bass and treble boosts engaged, master volume at 9:30, and preamp gain at 7:30
- 0:39-1:16: AOR (green side) engaged with AOR volume at just over 9 o’clock and AOR gain at max.
- 1:16-1:38: Bridge pickup into red side with presence at minimum, bass at max (and boosted), mids at noon (unboosted), treble at minimum (unboosted), master volume at 9:30, and preamp gain at noon.
- 1:38-2:08: AOR engaged with AOR volume at 10 o’clock and AOR gain at max.
But for Eric Calvert, head of Texas-based Frost Giant Electronics, AORs are where it’s at. In fact, his goal since founding Frost Giant has been to recreate the preamp in his own beloved AOR head from 1985. Now, with the help of Nick Williams (of Dunwich Amplification fame), Calvert’s dream has finally been realized with the Architect of Reality—a powerful homage to both Laney and, presumably, Sabbath’s 1971 sonic milestone, Master of Reality.
The Persistence of Realities
The Architect puts essentially every control from the front panel of an 8-knob AOR atop a medium-sized stompbox that’s billed as a “2-channel” design. But it’s more accurate to describe it as a massively powerful, wide-ranging distortion (right-side footswitch) with a cascading-gain feature (“AOR channel” footswitch) that can be layered over the base tone.
To help achieve its bludgeoning ends, the JFET-driven Architect converts 9V of AC power to a whopping 36V (battery power is not an option). The EQ—bass, mids, and treble knobs, corresponding boost toggles, and a presence (“pre”) knob—runs along the top row, but I found it peculiar that the master volume and preamp gain for the base tone (the “red channel”) are sandwiched between AOR (“green channel”) volume and gain knobs. The layout would feel more logical and intuitive—and therefore faster and easier to use—if AOR volume and gain were side-by-side above the AOR footswitch.
It’s capable of myriad metal flavors, but its real calling card is sheer might.
Speaker Bloody Speaker
To put the Architect’s intriguing ambitions to the test, I used a Les Paul, an Eastwood Sidejack baritone, and a Schecter Ultra III through a few different setups: a Revv G20 powering a Bogner closed-back 2x12, a Jaguar HC50 1x12, a silver-panel Fender Vibrolux Reverb paired with a Fender Rumble 200 1x15 bass amp, and a Sound City SC30 also paired with the Rumble. From the outset, the Architect’s massive volume and gain capabilities were apparent. The red side’s hot-rodded-Marshall-like preamp yields everything from toothsome gain excellent for old-school metal to blistering thrash at max. Meanwhile, the red side’s master volume is astonishingly loud—when I wasn’t using a bass amp (which allowed me to turn the guitar amp’s bass down), I began fearing for my speakers’ wellbeing when volume merely approached the noon mark.
But wide-ranging gain wouldn’t mean much if the EQ weren’t wisely focused. No matter where I dialed the treble, mids, and presence, tones never crossed over into abominable thinness. The bass control feels tight and muscular throughout its range, though it doesn’t seem particularly corpulent when maxed in red mode alone. But kick on the green side and it sounds absolutely explosive at all but the most conservative AOR settings. As with red mode, the AOR volume will likely sound like it’s clobbering your amp halfway through its range, even if the base channel’s volume is set pretty low. One couldn’t be blamed for using the green side to simulate pushing or literally push speaker cabs to their limits without looking back, but AOR mode is also capable of practical precision and subtle restraint—say, thickening things a smidge or adding razor sharpness to the core sound.
If you’re after droning, foundation-rattling gain and are sick of using multiple stompboxes and/or backbreaking stacks, you’ll find a lot to love in Frost Giant’s Architect of Reality. It’s capable of myriad metal flavors, but its real calling card is sheer might that occupies the mythical space between distortion and fuzz, where feral howls smudge together and destruction and chaos feel like real propositions. For extreme sounds—especially if you’re not miking your amp—it’s probably advisable to pair the Architect with a robust, high-wattage/high-headroom amp, if not also one of the many light, dependable bass amps on the market. But that’s a much more doable proposition than scouring the internet for rare, heavy-ass old stacks that keep going up in price.
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Guitar Center Presents: Holiday Gift Guide
Kick off the holiday season by shopping for the guitar player in your life at Guitar Center! Now through December 24th 2022, save on exclusive instruments, accessories, apparel, and more with hundreds of items at their lowest prices of the year.
We’ve compiled this year’s best deals in the 2022 Holiday Gift Guide presented by Guitar Center.
Les Paul Desert Burst Satin
Fender Classic Series 5 Guitar Case Stand Tweed
Fender Holiday Guitar Cable Keychain
Fender Limited Edition Holiday Sweater
Harbinger MLS1000 Personal Line Array Speaker System
Sterling Audio P10 Dynamic Instrument Microphone
Sterling Audio Harmony H224 USB Audio Interface
Apogee BOOM 2x2 Audio Interface
DiMarzio, Inc. announces the Relentless P (DP299), the Relentless J Bridge (DP301), Relentless J Neck (DP300), and the Relentless J Pair (DP302) for 4 string basses.
DiMarzio, Inc. announces the release of the Relentless P (DP299), the Relentless J Bridge (DP301), Relentless J Neck (DP300), and the Relentless J Pair (DP302) for 4 string basses. The new Relentless P and Relentless J series pickups feature the Relentless cover designed in collaboration with Billy Sheehan.
As with the Relentless pickups, we removed all the hard edges from the standard P Bass and standard J Basspickups, and added an arch to the top of the pickups to bring the sensing coils and pole pieces closer to the strings. These improvements increase the dynamic range and make active circuitry unnecessary.
The Relentless P and Relentless J pickups incorporate Neodymium magnets and produce 70 percent more output than traditional passive pickups, and they’re dead quiet due to the incorporation of metal covers and foil-shielded cables. To dial in (or fine-tune) the individual string output, the Relentless P and Relentless J include eight adjustable pole pieces. These pickups also have a broad magnetic field so you can even bend notes without volume dropout.
DiMarzio’s extra shielding makes the Relentless P and Relentless J better for both recording and stage performances. We’ve mounted them onto robust .09375” thick circuit board base plates to eliminate the annoying protruding mounting screws — ultimately creating a more comfortable and consistent foundation to rest your fingers on.
The new Relentless P steps beyond the traditional P-Bass sound and can only be described as massive. It has more of everything: more volume, beefier lows, a growling midrange, and crispy highs with better individual string definition.
The Relentless J incorporates a new invention, (patent pending) parallelogram-shaped coils, offering an expanded mid-range punch, snappy highs, precise lows, and a new dimension to the sound of the Relentless series pickups.
Relentless P and Relentless J pickups will breathe new life into any bass, increase playability, and work well for any style of music from Motown to metal.
DiMarzio’s Relentless P, Relentless J Bridge, Relentless J Neck, and Relentless J pair are made in the U.S.A. and may now be ordered for immediate delivery.
Suggested List Price for the Relentless P is $169.00 (MAP $119.99).
Suggested List Price for the Relentless J Bridge and Relentless J neck is $155.00 (MAP $109.99).
Suggested List Price for the Relentless J Pair is $296.00 (MAP 209.99).
For more information, please visit our website at dimarzio.com.
Mystery Stocking is coming soon! Sign up for PG Perks below so you don't miss it.
Sign up for PG Perks on the form below to make sure you don't miss the launch announcement!
About Mystery Stocking
Each year, Premier Guitar likes to put out these mystery boxes as a part of bringing some fun to the holiday season. Remember, this is supposed to be a fun holiday treat! If the contents of this box will ruin your holiday, deplete the last of your bank account, or end your ability to see the good in humanity, it may not be for you.
- This year's Mystery Stocking will cost $44.95. ($39.95 + $5 Flat shipping)
- Each box will be guaranteed to contain $40 or more in value.
- US only. (Sorry World.)
- Make sure your shipping address is correct.
- Have your credit card ready to go before you refresh the page. Paypal is not available. Autofill may not fill in your information.
- There will be NO REFUNDS given.
- There has been a huge demand for these in the past. We really did sell out in less than 4 minutes last year. When they are gone, they are gone.
- One per household, one per person.
Q: What's in the Mystery Stocking?
A: It wouldn't be much of a surprise if we told you, now would it?
Q: Will I definitely get my money worth?
Q: Can I return it if I don't like it?
A: Nope. All sales final.
Q: What if I live outside the US?
A: Sorry, US only.
Q. How much is it?
A. $39.95 Plus $5 shipping
Q. When will it ship?
A. On or before December 10, 2022.
Q. What form of payment do you accept?
A. Credit cards only. Sorry, no Paypal for this.
Q. Can I ship to a different location than my billing address?
Q. I tried last year and didn't get one. Will I get one this year?
A. There is an overwhelming demand for Mystery Stocking. Be sure you have a fast internet connection and be ready when they go on sale. Last year we sold out in 3 min 33 seconds.
Q. I want to buy 5. How can I buy 5?
A. You can't. This year, we're limiting to one per household, so more people can get in on the fun!
Origin Effects Announces the M-EQ Driver
Featuring the Adaptive Circuitry recently introduced on their Halcyon Green Overdrive, Origin Effects have brought us a pedal with a character all of its own and a new flavor of drive.
Origin Effects introduce the new M-EQ DRIVER mid booster & drive pedal. Based on a vintage Pultec studio EQ, this unique pedal offers a range of mid-focused tones, from a subtle mid boost to thick, resonant overdrive. Featuring the Adaptive Circuitry recently introduced on their Halcyon Green Overdrive, Origin Effects have brought us a pedal with a character all of its own and a new flavor of drive.
A choice of three mid-range frequencies ensures that you can boost just the right part of your guitar signal and, when pushed harder, can elicit a range of saturation from a classic “mid-hump” overdrive to fierce “cocked wah” distortion. Thanks to the Adaptive Circuitry, the high-end roll-off of the Cut control is reduced as the pedal cleans up. This allows for a smooth transition from warm overdrive to bright clean tones in response to playing dynamics or guitar volume knob changes.
Introducing... M-EQ DRIVER || Mid Booster & Drive
Built-in the UK to the highest standards, the M-EQ DRIVER continues the Origin Effects tradition of vintage, studio-inspired tones in modern guitar pedals. The Origin Effects M-EQ DRIVER is available now from Origin Effects dealers worldwide.
RRP: 259 GBP (Inc VAT) / 319 USD (Ex TAX)
For more information, please visit origineffects.com.